Images de page

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

[blocks in formation]

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.

As I

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 .

industrial needs.

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

industrial strength.

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

these circumstances.

"Science and the development of
critical thinking skills in social
studies and mathematics have assumed a
low priority in the thinking of school
administrators. An increased emphasis on
the 'basic' learning skills, such as
readina, arithmetic, and spellina, is
preempting time previously available for
the study of science, social studies, and
mathematical concepts, especially in
elementary schools. The NSF case studies
observers found that in most schools
natural sciences, mathematics other than


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.


« PrécédentContinuer »