15. Science teaching in schools is vital to
support innovation and growth in our economy, never more so than
now, when the booming economies of China and India are supported
by huge increases in the numbers of well-qualified science graduates.
On 11 July the Prime Minister announced "A new educational
opportunity Bill [which] will mean that for the first time not
just some but all young people will be able to stay in education
or training until the age of 18" (HC Deb., 11 July 2007,
16. We support this objective. But if this
extension of education for all from 16 to 18 is to bring long-term
benefits to our competitiveness, rather than just imposing an
extra burden on tax-payers, the Government must act now to ensure
that a growing proportion of these young people study science
and mathematics. We shall therefore follow closely the Government's
work in this area in the coming years.