When Xi Jinping was appointed
In the West, most of our presidents are attorneys, who - granted - in most cases have great speaking skills.
U.S. President Barack Obama is a
Why is this interesting? Not because we should accept any stereotypes - such as that engineers solve problems while attorneys dwell on them, or that engineers make better presidents, which is not always the case - but because it reflects the fact that engineering is much more popular in
And it's no secret that in the current knowledge-based global economy, where patents of new inventions generate much greater wealth to nations than commodities, engineers and scientists are much more valuable than ever before.
During a trip to
Overall, while 31 percent of all college degrees in
In most Latin American countries, the number of students of humanities and social sciences dwarfs that of engineering students. Last time I counted, the state-run
"In most Western countries, young people would rather go to the dentist than go into engineering. Law, business, and medicine - just about anything but engineering - seem to be the preference of today's youth," says
Goldberg's recipe: make engineering studies more fun, and more creative.
"We are forcing our students to go to a math-science death march," he told me. "Instead of starting with the creative part, we start teaching them the abstract stuff, and lose up to 50 percent of the people who enter engineering."
My opinion: Whenever I write that we should produce more engineers and scientists - and perhaps fewer psychologists - many readers, especially in
But that's not true. In most Latin American countries, companies complain about the shortage of well-trained engineers.
And the experience of
Many of these countries started producing large numbers of engineers without worrying too much about whether they would get jobs, and the jobs came afterward. Multinational companies flocked to take advantage of these countries' critical mass of engineering graduates.
To be sure, neither Xi nor
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