Global rankings of students' academic performance are fairly predictable. Asians and Europeans share the top spots while the United States is down the list, further than everyone—most of all Americans—believes it should be. The European Union usually shines in such international assessments. So compared with the U.S., Europe faces far less serious problems in its education system, right?
"Wrong," says David Jasmin, coordinator of a new EU-funded project, Fibonacci, aimed at improving the quality of and appetite for science education. "We are facing the same challenges as the U.S.," he says, particularly in the fields of math and science.
Jasmin believes Europe is suffering more than other parts of the world from the decline in the number of students pursuing math and science careers. "Lots of studies show there is a lack of human resources in science and technology," he says. At the same time, Europe is spending less in research investment than either the U.S. or Japan.
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