(Forbes.com) The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation recognized the upcoming need for quantum-trained workers and created an innovative pilot program called the National Q-12 Education Partnership.
Its goal is to seed interest in quantum technologies in young students. Unfortunately, funding is minuscule compared to funding devoted to quantum research. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the United States has 7.6 million middle school students and 15 million high school students. Q-12 is a great program. Its concept is sound, its objectives are spot on, and the partnership is strong. But the NSF website shows the program is only funded for $250,000 a year for three years. That comes out to about a penny a year on a per-student basis for public high school and middle school students.
According to the NSF announcement, Q-12 doesn’t depend on government funding alone. Its success also relies upon a partnership with U.S. companies and academic leaders to help create quantum study material, and hands-on training focused on middle school and high school teachers and students.
Q-12 partners include:
APS – American Physical Society
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA
International Society for Optics and Photonics
The Optical Society of America
University of Illinois
University of Chicago
The Q-12 program will provide teachers and students with quantum educational materials and lesson plans for these impressionable grade levels. It is also anticipated that scientists from the program’s partners will act as guest lecturers at schools. Students in these grades may be unsure of what they want to study, so that the Q-12 program can provide them with valuable input about quantum science.