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While Dr. Perkins will talk to you in detail
about emerging engineering manpower demands, I would
like to call attention. briefly to a particular aspect of
engineerino manpower demand that, in my view, we cannot
quantity and quality, and to supplement the free market
role when it is in the national interest.
Dr. H. Guyford
Stever, Chairman of the Academy's Assembly of
Engineerina, in testimony before your committee earlier
this year, pointed out this need when he stated that,
"mhe match between some of the educational product, that
is, the graduates of the universities, and the needs of
now the largest employer of all of these
engineers and scientists
is not good."
This is an
area in which the government, as representative of the puhlic interest, must be watchful. For example, we now observe that the supply of engineers is beginning to
catch up with demand, and some studies show that by the
end of the decade, supply and demand should be in
balance, except perhaps in a few specialties.
this does not address the question of near and
intermediate term needs, of caps, nor of quality.
sain earlier, state of the art equipment to train these
engineers is lacking.
Further, the burgeoning numbers
of engineering - students on our campuses have overcrowded
the classroom at a time of a shortage of qualified
It is questionable if graduating engineers
are receiving ouality education in the faster growing disciplines such as computer engineerino, robotics, electronics, genetic ena ineering, and the several fields
of energy engineerino.
Whether our universities can
keep apace of the accelerating advances of modern
technology in these new fields is another vexing
without strong external support from
government and industry, innovative campus research and
instruction will fall seriously behind, further widening
the gap in quality between academic training and
- 5 .
In my view, the government is laaging
in its support as witnessed by the severe selective
reductions in certain areas of the budget, especially
funds for instrumentation and scientific education.
This is to he regretted for it could impede the
Administration's goal of building the nation's
These are short-term and, I think, manageable
prohlems, but there are other longer-term conditions
that could limit our ability to stay in the forefront as
the world's technological leader.
These, Mr. Chairman,
are the ones which you and your Committee may find
appropriate to address in your further deliberations.
Last spring my predecessor, Dr. Philip Handler,
called vour attention to a report of the National
Research Council entitled "The State of School Science." It is a review supported by the National Science
Foundation of the teaching of mathematics, science and
social studies in American schools.
The survey data,
first-hand observations, and other evidence from this
and additional studies commissioned by the National
Science Foundation, describe a troubled American school
Student performance shows a striking decline.
Teacher qualifications and effectiveness in the
classroom have dropped.
The use of laboratory
instruction and the inquiry approach seem to be diminishina. A heavy emphasis, system-wide, on
multiple-choice testing has elevated simpler and less meaningful instructional objectives and reduced the importance attached to the learning of concepts and
Even more alarming is the educational
environment of our schools.
The nature of this
condition is so discouraging that, for your benefit, I
should like to ouote directlv several paragraphs of the
report, "The State of School Science," to underscore
"Science and the development of
basic arithmetic, and social science inouiry were seen as having a rather limited value for the student body at larae, and that providing a strong pre-college education program in science for those students who will become the nation's future scientists was not a high priority in most school systems.
The NSF case studies observers also found much apathy among students. some schools, a lack of academic motivation was revealed by low attendance rates and the refusal of many students to attend school on a regular basis. Other students displayed their apathy towards school throuah passive non-involvement in classroom activities. After budget problems, the problem most frequently cited by public school teachers was student apathy, lack of motivation, and absenteeism.
The NSF case studies described many of the schools as not being intellectually stimulating places in which to work. Few principals have a good academic background in science or mathematics; this makes it difficult for them to help teachers to develop effective science and mathematics instructional programs.