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安省数学教学危机阻止下一代追求科技行业
Ontario math crisis prevents students from pursuing STEM career

随着科技行业迅猛发展,STEM (科学、技术、工程和数学)专业毕业生也越来越抢手。他们不仅就业率更高,薪资也往往高于其他专业的毕业生。据一项研究显示,STEM专业学生毕业头一年的平均年薪为$6.5万元,比总体平均水平高出$1.55万元。但是,北美的大学和专上学院却未能输送足够多的计算机科学专业毕业生。据《纽约时报》报道,每年获得计算机科学学士学位的美国大学毕业生不足4万人,而虚席以待的计算机岗位却多达15万个。安省也同样面临着类似的人才短缺困境。

STEM (Science Technology Engineer and Math) major graduates are in high demand as the tech industry is rapidly growing. They enjoy higher employment rate and better salaries than other faculty graduates. According to studies, STEM graduates earn an $65000 the first year after graduation, $15,500 higher than average. However, North American universities and colleges are not simply producing enough computer science grads. According to the Times, fewer than 40,000 American grads earn bachelor’s degrees in computer science, far short of the 150,000 computing jobs available each year. Similar shortages have also experienced in Ontario. 

安省高中生往往对修读大学科学与技术专业或追求科技行业兴趣索然。我的两个孩子在高中都放弃了科学与技术课程,选择报读精英商科院校。据加拿大统计局称,安省只有22%高中生对修读大学科学与技术专业或从事科技行业工作表示出浓厚的兴趣。

Ontario high school students have very limited interests in studying science and technology at post-secondary level or pursuing STEM-related career. Both my kids have abandoned sciences and technology courses at high school and pursued elite business programs at colleges. According to StatsCan, only 22 per cent of high school students express much interest in studying science at the post-secondary level or working in science related jobs. 

一名在高中一直保持优异成绩的安省中学生告诉我:“STEM课程实在太难,我认为许多高中生正是因此才远离科学相关课程选择其他专业。”

“STEM courses are just too damn difficult,” an Ontario high school student who maintained an excellent grade at high school told me. “I think that is why many high school students choose other subjects over science related courses.”

 
IT行业的严重人才短缺在某种程度上可以归咎于安省数学危机。许多学生对STEM学科领域缺乏热情可能都是源于他们低年级时糟糕的数学成绩。数学技能有助于学生培养解决问题的能力及探索工程技术相关学科之思维方式。有研究显示,低年级数学成绩优异有助于促进学生对STEM学科领域的兴趣,并鼓励他们在未来进军科技行业。

The math crisis experienced in Ontario has in some way provided an answer to the severe talent shortages in the IT industry. Students’ lacking enthusiastic in STEM fields can be traced to their poor math achievements at early grades. Math skills can help students develop problem solving ability and the habit of thinking that is critical in exploring the related engineering and technology fields. Study shows that early achievement in math helps fuel their interest in STEM fields and encourage them to make future choices in STEM career. 

但是,安省的数学教学体系已陷入崩溃。最近的EQAO数学测试结果显示,安省有一半6年级公立学校学生测试成绩不达标,同时成绩不达标的3年级学生占比也从32%升至37%。

But Ontario math system is broken. Recent EQAO math results show that half of Gr. 6 public school students failed to meet the provincial standard, and that the percentage of Gr3. students failing the test climbed from 32% to 37%.

多年来,加国的数学教育不断敲响警钟,加国学生在国际数学竞赛中的表现也是王小儿过年,一年不如一年。2013年的全球学生能力水平排名显示,加国学生的数学成绩排名持续下滑至第13位,落后于中国上海、以及新加坡和日本等许多亚洲国家。这些现象亦显示加国进入数学教学全国紧急状态。

The alarm bells were sounded about math education in Canada for years, and Canadian students’ math scores in international competitions have been in decline year-over-year. In 2013, international student achievement rankings showed that Canada had slipped to 13th place in math, ranked behind many Asian countries – including Shanghai, Singapore and Japan. The results put the math teaching on the scale of national emergency. 

这种状况亦令那些来极其重视数学教学的来自中国大陆的移民家长们深感担忧。在中国,数学一直是高中的重要基础课程,并被作为考察学生学业成就的重要指标。在这种强烈的重视数学教学的文化熏陶下,中国不断推出出大量数学天才,并且在每年的国际数学竞赛中都傲视群雄。

The situation has really caused great concerns from immigrant parents from China, who came from a country that deeply embraces the value of math learning. In China, math has gained an elite status in high school curriculum, and serves as an important indicator of the students’ academic success. Under this powerful math learning culture, China has continued to churn out many math geniuses who have dominated the international math competitions year over year.

但是,安省的数学教学却面临着巨大挑战。现有数学课程无法确保学生掌握数学基本技能,更令人震惊的是,安省数学教师本身就缺乏数学基本技能。多伦多大学安省教育研究院的一名教授在培训数学实习教师的过程中发现有些数学教师连乘除法都不会,甚至还有些人认为余数3和小数3是一个意思。

But in Ontario, math teaching faces tremendous challenges. Under the current math curriculum, students lack math fundamental skills. More shockingly, Ontario math teachers are weak in math fundamentals themselves.  A professor in U of T’s OISE, which offers training courses for math student teachers, has found that some math teachers even don’t know multiply and divide, and that some even think a reminder 3 is the same as decimal 3.

相关问题令许多家长,尤其是中国移民家长大失所望,并促使他们呼吁变革。很显然,随着数学危机的不断加深,以及STEM人才短缺问题越来越严重,安省政府将面临巨大的系统整改压力。当局应该立即就此采取行动,首先对数学课程进行全面修订。

The problems leave many parents, especially Chinese parents frustrated, and prompted their demand for change. Apparently, amid the rising math crisis and ever growing STEM shortages, the Ontario government face tremendous pressure to fix the broken system. They should take immediate actions – by overhauling the math curriculums first. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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