Washington: Congress has approved a broad legislation to promote Math and Science skills and develop the technology needed to compete in the global economy.
The House-Senate compromise combines elements of five bills already passed by the House creating programmes to encourage people to study and teach Math and Science, support high-risk technology research and increase funds for the National Science Foundation and other science-based agencies.
The House vote was 367-57 yesterday. The Senate approved the America Competes Act on a voice vote. The bill now goes to the White House for President George W Bush’s signature.
The bill calls for spending $33.6 billion (Rs134,400 crore) over the next three years for science, technology, engineering and mathematics research and education programmes across four federal agencies.
“It’s going to help us regain and maintain leadership in research, innovation and technology,” said House Science Committee Chairman Bart Gordon, a Democrat, noting that with half the people in the world earning less than $ a day, Americans can compete only by performing at a higher level.
“America is in trouble in science and in education”, said Republican Vernon Ehlers, who is a research physicist.
“China and India recognized 20 years ago that the future belonged to nations that educated their children in Math and Science.”