T5-STEM1-2 - Mayors vs. Stem: The sad story of a dramatic increase in Stem vocations.

1. Innovative Practice Work In Progress
Francisco Fernández De Vega1 , Francisco Chávez de la O1, M. Concepción García Román2
1 University of Extremadura. Sta Teresa de Jornet, 38. 06800 Merida. Spain.
2 MSYS. Centro de Innovación Empresarial. C/ Vapor, s/n. 06200 Almendralejo. Spain.

This paper presents an in-depth analysis on the impact of Municipal Schools of Young Scientists (MSYS) project on young people’s decisions regarding their university studies.  Although a preliminary analysis was conducted and presented earlier (F. Fernández de Vega et al, “On the impact of STEM sustained actions on the future of young students” Proceedings IEEE FIE 2018), the data analyzed corresponded to the initial stages of the project in which two different approaches were tested and analyzed.  That initial analysis led to the launch of a regional initiative involving 20 different villages in 2015. 

This paper discusses the unique approach of MSYS and presents and analyzes the outcome of 100 students who attended the project over several years.  The analysis focuses on decisions made regarding the university and the degrees chosen by the students, but also discusses the results for those students that are still attending middle and high school.  The results obtained are compared with the preliminary analysis described above and demonstrate the usefulness of the approach selected.

Thus, MSYS has already implemented a long-term Stem promotion approach that allows young students to develop their skills over several years, and has resulted in a dramatic increase in the STEM  enrolment rate:  42 per cent improvement compared to the rates in the region where it is implemented. 

Unfortunately, and despite the remarkable results obtained, we continue to encounter difficulties in extending the model among towns in the region that are not yet part of the project.  We provide data that shows that public policies do not pay enough attention to this problem.  And so, we have concluded where MSYS’ Achilles’ heel lies in our region: Mayors who do not believe in the need to promote STEM vocations among the young.