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SAS combats skills shortage with online tool for schools at no cost

No cost software for all UK schools aimed at increasing pupil engagement with STEM subjects

22 March 2012 - SAS, the leader in business analytics software and services, has launched SAS® Curriculum Pathways®, an online resource for secondary school teachers and students across the UK, which focuses on core STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. Specifically designed for 11- to 19-year-olds, including GCSE and A Level students, the multi-media resource – available at no cost to schools – leverages the significant SAS investment and highly successful US programme which has been in place for 12 years.

The shortage of UK people with the necessary maths and science skills has been highlighted in government circles as these skills are relevant to careers such as medicine and engineering but equally important is the delivery of skills to support business analytics today where there is an explosion of data. As the leader in this area, SAS is particularly focused on delivering value from the increasing amounts of data – through techniques such as Big Data Analytics.

Nearly half of businesses already report difficulty recruiting people skilled in STEM, with the situation expected to deteriorate. According to one estimate, global information is doubling every two years. Another predicts that by 2020, data will grow by fifty times.  SAS UK already supports the development of these skills at university and beyond, through access to software at no cost, and this is now, through SAS Curriculum Pathways, providing support all the way through from pupils studying GCSEs.

The interactive, creative and engaging nature of the software helps teachers generate interest and encourage critical thinking in key subjects – particularly with topics that are difficult to convey with conventional teaching methods. The advantage of being web-hosted means that the students can log in from home and work at his/her own pace to embed the key concepts. This level of engagement significantly increases the chances of a pupil deciding to continue their studies in a subject, particularly important in the UK, where just 15% of students continue to study mathematics in some form past GSCE, whereas almost all other developed nations require young people to continue mathematics until the age of 18.

A world-class mathematics education for all our young people, The Mathematics Taskforce, August 2011

The product leverages a 12-year $75 million investment in SAS Curriculum Pathways, with teachers, developers, artists and other specialists contributing to the content. It is now being used in all US states by 70,000 teachers in 18,000 schools.

SAS Curriculum Pathways will be rolled out first across England and then Wales, Scotland and Ireland, with SAS UK working closely with teachers to ensure that the tool is mapped to the UK curriculum in line with the regional educational organisations. It aims to get SAS Curriculum Pathways into UK schools across the country, with almost 40 schools already signed up.

Kathy Maitland, Senior Lecturer at Birmingham City University, comments; "For students to reach their academic potential requires a variety of good educational resources. I believe that SAS Curriculum Pathways is one of those excellent educational resources which can promote active learning in students and enable them to reach for their dreams. SAS Curriculum Pathways provides educational resources in the core subjects such as Maths, English and Science which are the fundamental skills to academic success and employability."

Dr Jim Goodnight, SAS CEO, adds; "It's important that industry—as well as government—plays its part to bolster science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. SAS Curriculum Pathways aims to nurture and develop STEM skills and interest in young people before they decide what disciplines to pursue in higher education. We're proud to be supporting tomorrow's leaders in areas like technology, advanced manufacturing, biosciences and medicine. We want to do our part to develop STEM skills not just in the US—where SAS Curriculum Pathways is already used extensively—but in the UK as well. By addressing the STEM skills shortage now, the UK can ensure that it maintains its competitive edge in an increasingly global marketplace."

About SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions, SAS helps customers at more than 55,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world The Power to Know® .

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