A study has been carried out to look at pupils' opinions about science and technology

A student surrounded by science symbols

Source: istock

With the current emphasis on topical science in the new GCSE specifications Edgar Jenkins of Leeds University has carried out a study to look at pupils' opinions about science and technology.1 Part of a larger, international study entitled the Relevance of Science Education (ROSE) Project, the survey involved 1277 pupils, aged 14-15, studying in schools across England. The pupils had to indicate how much they agreed or disagreed with 16 statements provided in a questionnaire. 

The results from the survey highlighted several positive messages about pupils' views on science and technology. For example, most students agreed that science and technology are important for society and there was optimism about the contribution they can make to curing diseases and cancer. Science was also seen as creating greater opportunities for future generations and as making everyday life healthier, easier and more comfortable. Few students agreed with the assertion that the benefits of science are greater than the possible harmful effects. And only a minority of the cohort agreed that science and technology will help eradicate poverty and famine in the world and that science and technology are helping the poor. 

Overall, the questionnaire feedback showed that boys were more optimistic about the social benefits of science and technology than girls who, though still optimistic, had less trust in science and technology, scientists and scientific method. According to Jenkins, the responses of the English pupils were broadly similar to those obtained in other countries, though there were significant differences in the responses of boys and girls. There were also significant differences in the responses of pupils from the developed world from their counterparts in the developing world.