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Monday, 8 January, 2001, 00:02 GMT
Academy idea to raise science profile
scientist in lab
Scientists 'could contribute to school lessons'
The introduction of a science academy could help raise pupils' attainment and interest in the subject, a leading scientist claims.

Such a body would allow professional scientists to contribute directly to school lessons and curricula, according to Professor Patrick Dowling, the newly-elected president of the Association for Science Education.

Professor Patrick Dowling
Professor Dowling: "Important to keep up"
The academy would actively increase the link between school teachers and higher education, preparing and training the future generation of scientists.

Prof Dowling is challenging schools to create better links between technology lessons and science.

Science students would benefit greatly from a better understanding of technology, he believes.

Speaking at the association's 100th international conference at Surrey University, Prof Dowling said it was important to keep up in a world of rapid and far-reaching change.

"Science has become an integral part of our economy and society - that creates challenges for government, schools and universities," he said.

child's drawing of a scientist
Researchers at Leicester University found many children held stereotyped views of scientists
The world had become a place where competitive advantage came from the application of science, skills and new ideas.

"The successful economies of the future will excel at generating and disseminating knowledge and exploiting it commercially."

In December, experts at the University of Leicester found that many children had a stereotyped image of scientists which was often putting them off the subject.

Children's perception that scientists were "middle-aged white males with eccentric hair who never had fun" had to be challenged, the researchers said, because the UK was losing too many potential scientists as a result.

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