RSC makes submission to Comprehensive Spending Review
20 September 2006
The Royal Society of Chemistry is asking the government for almost two billion pounds to be spent on providing modern laboratory facilities in all UK schools.
The call for more cash was made this week in an RSC submission to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is responsible for the government's Comprehensive Spending Review for 2008-10.
"The Government has made its highest priorities developing a highly skilled work force, building an excellent education system and creating an environment that promotes innovation and economic investment," said Dr Richard Pike, chief executive of the RSC.
"The RSC welcomes and supports these developments. But we consider that investment should continue to be prioritised for these key areas to secure the gains already made and to ensure future prosperity."
Chemistry's case for better funding also coincided with latest university admissions statistics revealing an 18% increase since 2003 in studying the subject, meaning that it is the only science gaining in popularity.
"That increase is possibly due to young people's concerns for the environment and global warming in particular," said Dr Pike. "The challenge to the world's future ecological wellbeing is long-term and profound. In order to come up with solutions we must inspire and develop young science students while ensuring that the good work of teachers is encouraged and that their facilities are at least adequate and at best inspirational.
He added: "This call for more money for chemistry from the next government Spending Review is based upon our firm belief that without it the country's schools will fall below the necessary international standard of excellence required to keep it competitive."
The RSC call for £2 billion to upgrade school labs is part of a submission for a total £3.4 billion for chemistry education at secondary and higher levels in the same three years.
The RSC also urges greater spending to provide specialist teachers for students aged 14-16 through an increase in qualified science teachers, for better continuous professional development (CPD) and more effective retention of existing teaching staff.
16 October 2006
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