U.S. Universities Still Attracting Science-Minded Chinese and Indian Students U.S. Universities Still Attracting Science-Minded Chinese and Indian Students
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U.S. Universities Still Attracting Science-Minded Chinese and Indian Students

by Nikhil Swaminathan

December 31, 2009
A lot has been made about the fact that the U.S. is lagging behind the world's two most populous countries, China and India, in training the next generation of scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. American entrepreneur Robert Compton made a film about it--trailer embedded below--and the Obama administration's STEM program is a clear attempt to address the disparity. As a first generation Indian-American, I can tell you that even in my community (which is about as liberal and open-minded an Indian community as you'll fine), almost every kid I grew up earned an analytical degree in college (from engineering to economics).The one thing people forget is that while we may be training fewer 18 year-old Americans who want future careers in science and technology, we've got the market cornered on churning scientists and engineers out of our institutes of higher learning. I actually reported on this very issue a few years ago when I was on staff at Seed magazine; our university is set up to allow the sort of innovation that drives technological change and wins prestigious awards, such as Nobel Prizes.Also, while we outsource some of our jobs to India and China, we attract many of their brightest students. As this graphic from The Economist explains, we have nearly 35,000 Chinese and Indian nationals in our universities (according to numbers from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). And over the last ten years, the number of students heading our way from China and India, has increased by 8.5 and 9.3 percent, respectively.The real issue: Keeping these great minds here. Something the rise of the Chinese and Indian economies (combined with the downturn in the U.S.) is likely to make very difficult, as this Berkeley survey found.[
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U.S. Universities Still Attracting Science-Minded Chinese and Indian Students