Math and science skills valued as students enter the workforce

First year science students Melika Azemoudeh (left), and Nesane Nakanthiran (right) are in a chemistry lab working on an experiment.
First year science students Melika Azemoudeh (left), and Nesane Nakanthiran (right) are in a chemistry lab working on an experiment. Photo by Jenny Peng

An apparent influx of older students are returning to Langara and schools abroad, looking to bolster the math and science skills they once took for granted.

Many students not prepared for best jobs

Earlier this month, Let’s Talk Science – a Canadian charity – released a report indicating that more than half of high school students are dropping out of science and math courses too early. According to the study, without senior-level science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) credentials, students are ill equipped for 70 per cent of the country’s top-paying jobs.

These statistics would help explain the sudden urge from some to go back to the classroom and temporarily out of the workforce.

“We see so many times how students come back. . .they finish high school [saying] ‘I’m never going to do math’ and then they live 10 years out there and then they’re back with us,” says Nora Franzova, assistant chairwoman of the mathematics and statistics department. “It’s kind of sad to say but life will teach you.”

According to the report, when students are late to discover that their careers require STEM knowledge, job opportunities, and potentially higher earnings, are lost.

“Everybody has the story of somebody who barely finished high school and [went on to become] the richest person,” says Franzova. “So everybody feels like it’s going to happen to them.”

SMART seminar

A SMART (science/math academic reboot tips) seminar was held yesterday, aimed at students interested in learning or re-evaluating their study habits and time-management skills.

Instead of attracting students whose grades could’ve benefited from the seminar, biology division math and sciences chairwoman Gerda Krause observes a different trend.

“Ironically, the students that are most likely to attend these sessions are the ones that are already very good, because they want to be better,” says Krause.

Newly-elected LSU councillor Benjamin Edelstein offered some advice of his own to students who may be experiencing stress.

“It’s sectioning out the work piece by piece so it’s doable, but more than that, appreciating the free time that you actually have.” Edelstein said.

Reported by Jenny Peng

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