Another warning on U.S. tech leadership

Another prominent voice has sounded an alarm about America's future as a technological leader, according to a recent Reuters story.

On Saturday, Reuters reported that Richard Freeman, an economist with Harvard University and the National Bureau of Economic Research, has written a study warning that U.S. dominance in science and engineering may be slipping as America's share of graduates in these fields falls relative to Europe and developing nations.

In 2000, 17 percent of university bachelor degrees in the United States were in science and engineering compared with a world average of 27 percent and 52 percent in China, Freeman found, according to Reuters.

In the past year or so, there have been a number of calls to attend to the technological competitiveness of the United States, especially vis-a-vis the emerging tech economies of India and China.

A report from earlier this year showed students in the United States have been shying away from computer science. According to that study by the Computing Research Association, the percentage of incoming undergraduates indicating they would major in computer science declined by more than 60 percent between the fall of 2000 and the fall of 2004, and is now 70 percent lower than it was during its peak in the early 1980s.

According to Reuters, Freeman's study said deteriorating opportunities and comparative wages for young science and engineering graduates has discouraged U.S. students from entering these fields, but not those born in other countries.

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    Ed Frauenheim covers employment trends, specializing in outsourcing, training and pay issues.

     

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