The reality young students have to live with today is that, it is not enough to go after what you want to do. Your decision must be based on the current situation of the job market, and at least the prospect of that job market in the near future.
I feel many countries suffer from high unemployment because the balance of skill sets is skewed. If you train more engineers than the job market can support, then there is going to be unemployment in that sector.
I tend to discount whatever political appointees, never mind politicians, say. And this would be no exception.
The problem is not the educational system at all. One problem is more likely the parents, their glorification of trivial activities, their lack of guidance for their kids. Throwing a sphere down a hoop, excuse me, is trivia. Okay, some enjoy watching it. Big deal. Another problem is that you simply can't force a kid to pursue somwething as difficult as science/math, unless they want this. They have to be self-motivated.
As to how do we tell our kids that it's not cool to be stupid? That one is easy! I simply told my daughter that in those words. When she was reaching the age where she noticed this happening, around 7th or 8th Grade, I flat out told her. "It's not cool to be stupid." Lucky for me, one of her own teachers was telling his students the same thing. Also lucky for me, she had already figured this out, and distanced herself from the kids who were gravitating in that direction.
American schools offer "gifted and talented" as well as "advanced placement" course loads, for kids (and parents) who give a damn. These are excellent courses. Don't blame the educational system.
The pendulum will swing. When our standard of living sags enough, eventually the public will realise how overcompensating trivial pursuits is counterproductive, and the correct pursuits will be adequately rewarded again.
I'm surprised that so many people seem to be missing this point. I understand that some things might be necessary to stay competitive in a global economy (this is not an outsourcing debate), but she shouldn't be surprised that people don't want to go into engineering, especially when her company contributes to the reason.
Generally nowa days 90% of students like to go into the financially strong placements. Rest 10% have their interests on engineering science medicine and so on . There is nothing we could do about it. In fact i noticed the engineering students from different disiplines changing themselves into programmers.
Simon, I too know lots of good engineers and they are all employed. They also are all over 40.
Does your company still do on-campus recruiting and bring in fresh graduates every year? Not many U.S. companies do anymore -- at least not here in the U.S. Maybe in India.
Here's something you can all do to improve education:
Get your substitute teacher license for K-12.
Go an teach just one day a year. Teach whatever you want and are passionate about even if it isn't relative to the subject. I just received my certificate and I will try this out a few times in the fall. I'll blog about it on EE Life. If enough EEs are interested I may start an org to streamline the certification process and get employers to count it only as 1/2 vacation day.
Please let me know your thoughts.
Not sure about the "OK is good enough" thing though. It's a sideshow in the grand scheme of things. The real problem is in the reward system. The value of hard work has been lost in many Western societies. Most kids now aspire to be pop stars or sports(wo)men because it's glamorous and financially rewarding beyond reason. Although it's not easy to get there, the potential reward makes it a worthwhile pursuit. The loss of market share and declining revenues will inevitably adjust the system though. We can't all live off gambling in the stock markets!
I agree that the feel good environment has done nothing for education. I don't follow basketball but even I know who Lebron James is so he is a good example of the "Sports Professional" category, but why would she mention the Segway??? It does the same job as a skateboard, can be replicated by kids with a Lego set, costs $5000 and was a commercial flop. This is innovation?