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British Prime Minister Highlights Science

Barack Obama is not the only national leader talking about the importance of education during a period of deep recession. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is seeking to revamp his nation's approach to math and science instruction, pitching that proposal as a matter of long-term economic health, according to this BBC story.

Brown says he wants to double the number of British secondary students taking "triple" science—biology, chemistry, and physics. Currently, just 8.5 percent of British students take the triple science option, the story says. Brown's plan is to double that figure by 2014, which the story says would represent an extra 100,000 pupils.

Another of his ideas will seem familiar to educators on this side of the pond. The prime minister is pledging to make it easier for workers laid off in science and technology industries to find jobs as math and science teachers.

In fact, British leaders seem concerned about a lot of the same issues as U.S. officials, judging from the story. They're worried about graduating too few college majors in science- and math-related fields. They also say there aren't enough qualified teachers in specialized subjects like physics.

Conservative Party leaders, by the way, don't seem to think much of Brown's ideas. One of them is quoted bemoaning the Labour Party's "appalling record on science." Brown is affiliated with Labour.

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