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Tuesday, 19 June, 2001, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
Wanted: more young inventors
BBC TV programme Playschool, 1995
Johnny Ball on the BBC TV programme Playschool
Television presenter Johnny Ball has called for schools to encourage more children to become inventors.

The BBC TV Playschool presenter turned educationalist is spearheading a new campaign to get children interested in science and technology.

He says a shortage of scientists and technologists is threatening Britain's heritage as a nation of innovators.

"We are actually short of scientists, we are short of technologists and we are short of engineers," said Mr Ball.

Johnny Ball's inventing tips
Find a problem
Think inventively to find an answer
Record the process
Make a mock up of your idea
Build your invention and see if it works
Learn more about trademarks and patents
Have fun!
"These are the disciplines that really push the world forward so to invest in them is to invest in our future.

"If kids want to use their ingenuity and want to have a career where they use their minds, then science and technology is the area they need to be in."

He said standards had been raised in education but it had become too structured.

"We should be offering children the chance to go out on a limb," he said, "giving teachers the time and space to help them to do this and to encourage children to find their own way".

Mr Ball will announce the winners of the hp Inventor of the Year competition at the BBC Tomorrow's World Live event in Earl's Court, London, at the end of this month.

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