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Thursday, 13 June, 2002, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
Action to boost science in schools
boys in science lesson
There are not enough science teachers
Industry is teaming up with the UK Government and a university in a scheme aimed at improving school science lessons.

The four-year programme, which will be known as Inspire, is funded by the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

The company is donating 1m so university researchers at Imperial College London can work in schools which specialise in science.

The researchers, who will have completed their doctorates, will spend about half of their time in specialist schools within the M25.

The rest of the time they will study for a post-graduate teaching qualification.

Partnership

There is a shortage of science teachers and laboratory technicians, and the government offers extra cash to people who want to train to be science teachers.

Speaking in Downing Street at the launch of the programme, Tony Blair said he welcomed the partnership between industry, government and higher education.

"The government is committed to excellence in science education and I am delighted that GlaxoSmithKline, one of our major science based companies, and Imperial College are supporting this important initiative," he said.

"This partnership programme will benefit not only the pupils in the new specialist science schools but also the pupils in their partner schools.

"The children of today will be our teachers, our scientists and our doctors tomorrow - by investing in the education of our children now, we are investing in the future of our economy and society."

Business sense

Jennie Younger, from GlaxoSmithKline, said: "GSK employs around 25,000 people in the UK and spends 2.6bn each year on research and development world-wide.

"Encouraging young people to choose a career in science is fundamental to the continued success of our business."

The rector of Imperial College London, Sir Richard Sykes, said the scheme offered a unique opportunity to create partnerships between industry, higher education and schools.

"I believe that the Imperial post-docs will act as excellent role models and stimulate broader enthusiasm for science," he said.

"Britain has a successful high technology industry, which depends on the flow of well-qualified scientists and engineers.

"Inspire has been developed to increase the number of young people specialising in post-16 science courses, enabling them to pursue degrees in chemistry, physics and engineering and ultimately a career in science."

See also:

13 Jun 02 | UK Education
03 Jan 02 | UK Education
19 Apr 00 | UK Education
08 Jan 01 | UK Education
14 Feb 00 | UK Education
07 Sep 01 | UK Education
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