Science and technology are less common in education | education
An increasingly smaller proportion of Flemish 16-17-year-olds choose subjects focused on science, engineering, technology and mathematics, which are STEM subjects. This is evidenced by data research conducted by De Tijd based on enrollment numbers for the 2022-2023 academic year and education voter.
With nearly 65,000, the absolute number of students in STEM disciplines is growing, but the group is getting smaller compared to all fifth and sixth year students in Flanders. This school year, the percentage of third-graders in STEM subjects will drop to 42 percent, the lowest number since 2011-2012. The proportion of STEM students has remained more or less stable since 2016, but the curve has clearly decreased in the past two years.
What is striking is the decline in interest in STEM courses in the third year of general secondary education. In the 2017-2018 peak years, more than 55 percent chose STEM, and this year it’s still around 53 percent.
TSO and BSO’s biggest challenge
However, the biggest challenge lies with Tso and bso. In a TSO, less than 40 percent follow the STEM path in the third stage, in a BSO this is a third. Technical and vocational education accounts for approximately 60 per cent of students in Flanders.
In particular, construction-related courses such as masonry and woodworking are shrinking, although interest in mechanics and electricity is also declining in technical education. Remarkably, technical and vocational education majors within the STEM catalog in particular have fewer students, such as welders and vehicle repairmen.
Decreased popularity of STEM trends may result in Flanders’ lower standing in international opinion polls.
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