"Inspireyouth.ca addresses two deficiencies in youth science education. At the formative stages of elementary school and high school, there are limited opportunities for youth to consider and pursue more science and technology education and projects. And second, at the more advanced levels where students compete in regional and national science fairs, there is a lack of student coaching, experience and access to more sophisticated equipment and facilities, resulting in unrealized potential among Canada’s most inventive minds," the company said.
Together, these two deficiencies conspire to discourage youth from pursuing math, science and engineering education and careers. And without a healthy stream of budding scientists, engineers and technologists, the Canadian economy risks developing an "innovation gap."
"Canada needs to be more than hewers of wood and drawers of oil," said Doug Cooper, country manager for Intel Canada. "We have a more valuable sustainable resource in our brightest young science prospects. By promoting and financially supporting mentorship programs through organizations like Actua and YSF, Intel’s ultimate goal is to accelerate a stronger Canadian science and technology community that will generate breakthrough medical advances, innovative engineering models and help Canada better compete in the global economy."
Intel points to a 2005 survey of more than 600 alumni of YSF’s national science fair program that revealed the majority of student respondents who had mentors ranked them as the greatest influence on the development of their science projects. They reported that mentors offer knowledge, encouragement, help with the development of ideas, and provide access to labs and equipment.
In a related item, Intel Corp. president and chief executive officer Paul Otellini said in a speech at the World Congress on Information Technology, that the multiplying effects of computers, the Internet and education can double the reach of technology’s benefits worldwide in the next five years.
"We’re close to achieving Andy Grove’s vision of a billion connected PCs – and the economic, social and personal gains that come with them," said Otellini, referring to the Intel co-founder and former CEO. "Our job now is to harness the combined potential of full-featured technology, high-speed connectivity and effective education to speed the gains for the next billion people – and the next billion after that."