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Students: Science

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps the Government has taken to increase the numbers of students studying science based degrees. (164037)

[holding answer 15 November 2007]: The Government’s policy is to increase the number of people leaving schools and colleges with the appropriate qualifications to enable them to take a science-based degree. This includes Government support for activities that help enthuse young people about science and scientific careers. For example the Department funds the Science and Engineering Ambassadors scheme, run by STEMNET, through which individuals work with teachers in schools and colleges.

There are some encouraging signs that the Government’s overall policy is starting to work. According to the most recent UCAS figures for 2007 entry published on 17 October 2007, there have been increases in acceptances for first degrees at UK universities as follows: physics (+10.3 per cent.), chemistry (+8.8 per cent.), biology (+3.3 per cent.), maths (+9.2 per cent.); combined maths/ computer science (+16.5 per cent.); combined medical/biological/agricultural sciences (+10.0 per cent.); chemical engineering (+12.3 per cent.), civil engineering (+9.9 per cent.) and mechanical engineering (+4.3 per cent.). These figures include EU and international students.