Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates has called for governments to encourage more school children to study science subjects, including computer science and engineering.
Gates, speaking at the Global Grand Challenges Summit in London, is the latest high-profile member of the IT industry to demand changes in technology and science education.
"It's surprising there's such a deficit of students going into these fields. It's an interesting job, it pays well and it can impact society. All three of those are reasons to go into science and engineering. But in most rich countries there's a decline and a shift to Asian students," said Gates.
"Computer science [in the US] has seen enrolment go back up again to where it was in 1999, but we are still failing to get women interested," he added.
"We are also losing kids in elementary school, many who find [the subject] too daunting"
Gates failed to give ways in which science and technology education could be changed, although he argued engineering and technology professions are not given enough recognition by society.
"I'm glad to be an icon of how much fun it is to be in engineering," Gates added.
Also at the summit, Stanford University president John Hennessy criticised current engineering education for failing to appeal to students.
V3 continues to make its own calls to improve computing education in the UK with its Make IT Better campaign, as the government consults nationally on changes to the computing curriculum.
Gates discussed the need for engineering professionals to use their expertise for philanthropy.
One area he said technology experts and engineers should turn their attention to is the reinvention of the toilet if they want to change the world.
"Lots of the world's population lives in Africa in urban slums, so creating heating and lighting for those slums are basic engineering problems we need to solve, and we need to make it inexpensive."
"We need to create a toilet that does not need clean water to flush the waste. I feel we may be able to launch a new toilet using chemical combustion."
At the end of last year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hosted a Reinvent the Toilet fair where a number of new toilet designs were showcased.
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