Science learning report illustrates the economic burden of dropping out of high school science courses

The cost of skipping high school science and math classes is high for the country, according to a recent research report. It highlights three costs - financial, opportunity, and societal - affecting the Canadian economy as young people drop out of advanced science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses.

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TORONTO, Oct. 8, 2013 / CNW / - According to a new research report released on Oct. 8 Let's talk science, which was made possible by Amgen Canada, the cost of abandoning high school science and math courses is very high for the country. Spotlight on Science Learning 2013: The High Costs of Dropping Science and Mathematics highlights three costs - financial, opportunity, and societal - affecting the Canadian economy as students skip advanced science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses.

Each year, even though Canada spends some $ 50 billion in K-12 education, less than 50 % of Canadian high school students complete advanced STEM courses. Considering that almost 70 % of the best jobs in Canada require STEM training, and this percentage will grow, this is an alarming statistic. Since, in the future, employment will be linked to STEM training, Canada's economic prosperity, its competitiveness with analogous countries, and the quality of life it will offer are compromised. It is important to ensure that our funds are allocated to preparing today's youth for the economy of tomorrow, especially since Canada devotes nearly 6 % of its gross domestic product to education.

“Canada needs to focus on building a strong pool of STEM talent with the skills to build our nation for the long term. At the end of the day, those skills are somehow tied to science knowledge, says Bonnie Smith, president, Let's Talk Science. We need to make our young people aware of the importance that STEM courses have on their future careers, mobilize them around experiential science learning at an early age, and maintain their interest in these disciplines throughout their years. studies. Doing so will take a concerted effort - from educators, parents, youth, industry, nonprofits and government - to ensure that Canada's future is bright. "

The 2013 research report highlights the costs associated with dropping out of advanced STEM courses by high school students:

  • The financial costs to students, parents, taxpayers, high schools and students of re-enrolling youth in STEM courses. Not only does re-enrollment cost millions of dollars, it delays students' post-secondary plans.
  • The opportunity costs associated with the loss of career options and future income. Students often find out too late that their future career requires taking at least one STEM course. The result is a drain on the talent pool in the labor market and the earning potential of students since, on average, the income of workers who have received STEM training exceeds that of the rest of the workforce by 26 %.
  • The costs of losing key talented people who have the skills Canada needs to prosper and grow. A high-performing economy with quality programs depends on innovation - without relying on a strong talent pool, Canada's performance relative to peer countries falters.

"Some knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) will go hand in hand with the demands placed on many high-demand jobs over the next several decades," said Karen Burke, Ph. . D., Director, Regulatory Affairs, Amgen Canada. As other countries invest more heavily in STEM learning, we cannot afford to be left behind. "

The shared commitment of Let's Talk Science and Amgen Canada in supporting awareness of the importance of science learning continues this year with Spotlight on Science Learning: The High Costs of Dropping Science and Mathematics. This is a continuation of the report Spotlight on Science Learning: A Benchmark on Canadian Talent released in 2012, which examined Canada's talent pool in support of science-based careers and found that this pool is performing well, but also small.

This fall, Let's Talk Science and Amgen Canada will embark on a tour that will take them to meet high school students from coast to coast to show the value of science in everyday life and the jobs of the future. . For more information and to view the full report, please visit

About Let's Talk Science
Let's Talk Science is an award-winning national awareness and charitable organization. Let's Talk Science creates and delivers unique educational programs and services that aim to engage children, youth and educators in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The purpose of the organization is to prepare young people for their future careers as well as their role as citizens in a constantly changing world. For more information on Let's Talk Science, please visit

Production of this report has been made possible by Amgen Canada.

About Amgen Canada
As a leader in innovation, Amgen Canada understands the value of science. From its primary locations in the vibrant Mississauga biomedical network, as well as research labs in Burnaby, British Columbia, Amgen has been a significant contributor to the Canadian biotechnology industry since 1991. Amgen has contributed to the development of new treatments , or new applications of existing drugs, in partnership with a number of leading organizations in Canada specializing in health care, education, research, as well as with public administrations and patient groups. To learn more about Amgen Canada, please visit

SOURCE Let's Talk Science

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