This column appears in “The World of Education”. If you are subscribed to World, You can subscribe to this weekly newsletter by following this link.
The spring brought to light a worrying reality: the lack of candidates for selection contests in scientific disciplines. Several reasons can explain this, in particular the disaffection of young people for science -which is not specific to France-, but also a series of political decisions taken in the last thirty years that have had the explicit objective of reducing the importance of mathematics in secondary education. .
After World War II, several generations believed that the future of the world lay in science. It is enough to be convinced of this to observe the disorder, in 2020, of adults over 50 years of age due to the inability of medicine to control the development of the Covid-19 pandemic, although, on the other hand, few observers have appreciated the achievement scientist representing the development of a vaccine.
Thus, societies around the world that until then were convinced that science could answer all questions found themselves helpless, lost, orphans. It is all the more amazing that warnings about the misdeeds of science have multiplied since the end of the 20th century.me XIX: from pesticides to greenhouse gases, passing through the treatment of nuclear waste… But many adults have long considered that the risks involved are greatly exaggerated.
The younger ones, for their part, worried about their future due to environmental dangers, have gradually distanced themselves from science. This attitude is paradoxical to say the least because it is also scientific work that highlighted these unknown risks a few decades ago.
In addition, young people tend to forget that the same sciences that they hate and reject allow them to take advantage of a multitude of technological objects (computer, mobile phone, Internet or, more anciently, microwave oven, etc.) more comfortably than that of their elders of the same age.
Finally, they forget that the pleasure they have in visiting their grandparents is a consequence of the increase in life expectancy, which is due to a better lifestyle, more frequent, more precise, better adapted medical check-ups… that only exist thanks to the work of scientists.
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