Cristina Odone wrote recently in the Daily Telegraph complaining that her daughter should not have to study science subjects. Apparently the 12 year old’s aptitude lies elsewhere and Maths and Physics will be of no use in her future arts/literary career.
Victoria Bateman, right, has posted a firm riposte but I’d like to add my slant too since it exposes an important issue that confronts the national image of Engineering.
From the comfort of Chelsea, where the average 2 bedroom flat costs £1.3M, Ms.Odone believes that engineering is of no importance to her lifestyle or cultural values and she wishes to impose those self same values upon her young daughter.
Forthright as she is, I am certain however she, and those like her, would be first in line to complain if there was a power cut, the 4×4 seized up on the school run, the computer crashed, iPhone froze, the Underground broke down, or there was no equipment at the local hospital in an emergency.
‘Provide me with the quality of life I expect but I’ll take no interest in how you do it’ seems to be the mantra.
This attitude towards engineering permeates a London elite network that is highly influential in what we, the general public, read and see. Ever noticed that there are no Engineering correspondents on TV or in the papers, yet the sector employs 5M people across
Faced by this biased school of thought it’s not surprising that so few young people, and more specifically girls, contemplate an engineering career. It’s a bias that the whole Engineering community needs to be aware of and strive collectively to address.
School is far more than preparing us to follow in a parent’s footsteps, it is our all too brief introduction to what mankind has learnt about our planet, ourselves, and the way we socially co-exist.
If all we strive for is to go forth with parochial knowledge we will never even begin to understand or appreciate the contribution others make to our society.
The adage “the less we know, the more we think we know” then applies.
I’m not asking for just a one-way traffic in that those in the arts should appreciate the sciences, but that we always encourage our young to appreciate the amazing diversity of skills that make our world tick.
Barrie Weaver November 2015