Children from developing countries are more likely to aspire to have STEM careers

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22nd January 2018 18:03 - Education

Children from developing countries are more likely to aspire to have STEM careers

Children from developing countries are more likely to aspire to have STEM careers: Based on the drawings of 20,000 children from around the world, analysis from a recent survey has found that those who lived in developing countries were more likely to aspire to have STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers, compared to those in the UK.  

In short, the study asked primary school pupils from 20 different countries, aged between seven and 11 to draw a picture of their dream job.

Overall, the most popular careers drawn by girls from the UK featured women in academic jobs, compared to the boys whose drawings featured job roles centred around popular culture.

The five most popular careers drawn by girls in the UK were as follows:

1.    Teacher

2.    Vet

3.    Sports player

4.    Doctor

5.    Artist

In addition, the most popular careers amongst school boys in the UK were:

1.    Sports player

2.    Social media

3.    Police

4.    Armed forces

5.    Scientist

Overseas, a teacher was the most popular drawing for girls in Uganda and the Philippines, compared to those from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Colombia and Indonesia who preferred to be a doctor. In addition, drawings from China showed that male pupils wanted to become a scientist when they were older.

Although there is a crossover of some careers between male and female children, most of the drawings adhered to traditional gender stereotypes, such as a male engineer or a female teacher.

Furthermore, some of the scenes within the pictures also indicated the child’s lack of knowledge of the job role, despite their imagination arguably influencing most of their drawings.  

Commenting on the results, chair of the trustees for Education and Employers, David Cruickshank, said: “Children's career aspirations are most influenced by who they know.”

He adds: "The findings have implications for all of us seeking to improve social mobility."

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