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UK recruiting Indian science grads

British industry has warned the dependence over home market has decreased, says Nabanita Sircar.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2006 16:18 IST

Companies are starting to recruit science graduates from countries like India and China instead of depending on the home market because they have a larger pool of high-calibre students to choose from, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned.

The deputy director of the CBI, John Cridland, said, "We are beginning to see UK companies saying it makes economic sense to source science graduates internationally, particularly from China and India."

India has 450,000 engineering undergraduates in the current academic year, according to the CBI. China is producing 300,000 graduates every year in science, technology, engineering and mathematics - three times the number coming through UK universities.

According to the CBI figures in the UK are on a decline in all these subjects, from GCSE through to A-level and degree level, according to the CBI. Cridland said, "A decline in science study is not yet a crisis, but will haunt us unless we address it now."

Lord Rees, president of the Royal Society, said schools were failing in their role to help create the next generation of scientists because they do not maintain children's enthusiasm for science beyond their early fascination for dinosaurs and space travel.

He said higher education institutes also have a responsibility to inspire university science undergraduates to develop their skills and knowledge in research, without which Britain is in danger of becoming an "also-ran rather than a leader in world science".

He said Britain was neglecting its scientific heroes of the past and today's scientists lacked the popular appeal and celebrity that soap stars or footballers attracted.

But until Britain gives recognition to the achievements of its scientists then, he said, "How can we expect future generations to follow in their footsteps."

First Published: Mar 16, 2006 16:18 IST