Eighty-five percent of Israeli school pupils are "clueless" about science, with only 8% being taught some chemistry, 10% biology and physics even less. So said Prof. Ehud Keinan, president of the Israel Chemistry Society, at a session of the Knesset Science and Technology Committee on Tuesday.
Committee chairman MK Meir Sheetrit said he would soon hold another meeting to which education officials would be invited to discuss the problem. He said today's scientific achievement is largely based on yesterday's research, and if children and teenagers are not encouraged to get excited about science, there will be no future accomplishment.
Most of those who learn these sciences are majoring in them, while other pupils know almost nothing in these subjects, he continued. "As science is the universal language today, I regret to say that our younger generation is illiterate," he concluded.
The committee met to discuss the activities of the Israel Academy of Science, which formally is the government's and Knesset's adviser on these subjects but which is rarely consulted or utilized. Nevertheless, the academy still promotes and funds research in the exact and social sciences and humanities. The academy's director-general, Dr. Meir Zadok, told the MKs that it has a small annual state allocation of only $2 million, with the rest provided by contributions.