[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 August 2006, 00:54 GMT 01:54 UK
Tories aim to boost science study
Chemistry lesson
Fewer pupils are studying for chemistry and physics GCSEs
Plans to increase the number of university science students are being considered by the Conservative Party.

The party's science task force has suggested that science A-levels should be worth more points to school leavers going to university.

The move follows complaints Britain is producing too few scientists.

Fewer teenagers are studying science, although there are more jobs in the science sector. The task force believes incentives could be the answer.

Incentives 'needed'

Under the current system, students going through the universities and colleges admissions service Ucas are given points based on what grade they get.

The Tory party's science task force is one of the policy review groups set up by party leader David Cameron.

Sources on the task force suggest pure science A-levels could be made to be worth 50% more than other subjects.

They acknowledge it is a provocative idea but they say it is necessary if the UK is not to fall behind economies such as China and India.

They said that if the problem was not addressed before the next general election in 2009, Britain was "going to be struggling"

On Sunday, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said UK schools let down business by producing too few scientists.

The business organisation said the current system, under which most pupils study for a "combined science" double GCSE - rather than chemistry, physics and biology separately - meant the curriculum had been "stripped down".

Schools 'letting down UK science'
13 Aug 06 |  Education
Concern over decline in physics
11 Aug 06 |  Education
Decline in student science uptake
28 Jun 06 |  Scotland
MPs debate chemistry closure plan
27 Mar 06 |  Southern Counties
University axes chemistry degrees
11 Mar 06 |  Southern Counties

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific