Putting STEM education at work in Europe - the first European conference of inGenious
Science enrolments and graduates in Europe are declining and males still predominate the field (up to more than 80% in computing and engineering).
What can we do to reverse this trend?
inGenious members and STEM experts from all over Europe gathered in Brussels to work together on how to ignite interest in STEM at school and tackle this issue at a very early stage.
EU Commissioner for Research and Innovation Máire Geoghegan-Quinn welcomed attendees to the first inGenious European Conference which took place on 18 November 2013 at the European Economic and Social Committee premises.
The video message from the Commissioner is available here:
AThe event opened with an intervention from the University Autonomous of Barcelona (UAB) to share preliminary findings from a unique study on school-industry collaboration practices in STEM education across 15 countries. Through a cycle of National workshops organised over 2012, inGenious has in fact called for main STEM actors, pioneering teachers and companies in each country, to help identify what works and what are the challenges ahead.
How the jobs and the school of tomorrow will look like? We discussed it in Brussels with academics and experts involved in the workshops, and with industry leaders (among whom Jan Muhelfeit, chairman Microsoft Europe), policy-makers (regional, national and European) as well as STEM teachers and young talents.
Ionut Budisteanu, first European winner of the historic Intel ISEF competition, and the winners of the EUCYS contest in 2012, joined the line-up of speakers of the various working sessions which then brought participants to work together on concrete action plans and recommendations: from practical implementation of innovative activities, to integration in the curriculum and policy priorities.
All presentations are available for download at the end of the article.
Below a quick overview on key discussion points emerged during the day:
What are the benefits of school-industry collaboration?
• Provide context and real life application to STEM studies help motivate and ignite students interest, as well as better inform them on career paths
• inGenious research confirms that career talk in class leads to an increase 20 percent of pupils interested in STEM as a career option
What are the current strategies?
• While industry presence is well established and codified in VET and higher education programmes, the picture in primary and secondary schools is much more fragmented
• Strategies vary from structured organisations (Jet-Net Netherlands or My Science in UK) acting as intermediary between schools and companies, to isolated initiatives highly dependent on the effort and commitment of individuals with not structural support.
What are the main obstacles/challenges ahead?
• Lack of a coherent framework, providing support (technical and pedagogical) to teachers and companies
• Industries confirm the importance of intermediary organisations to drive private investment in education and engage more directly with schools
• Need to start earlier: most strategies are focused on higher/secondary education but we need to act before education choices (and prejudices) consolidate
Visit the picture gallery of the Conference at Flickr
Download the presentations:
• Welcome, Marc Durando, Executive Director, European Schoolnet
• Presentation of results from a study analysing school-industry collaboration in STEM education across Europe Dr. Raquel Rios Font, fResearcher, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
• Why STEM education and careers matter for the future of Europe, Dr. Jan Marco Müller, Assistant to the EC Chief Scientific Adviser
Theme A: Integrating school-industry collaboration in the curriculum and in teacher’s training
• 21st Century education, shifting learning paradigm, Michal Dzoga, Corporate Affairs Manager, Intel Technology Poland
• Loreto Grammar School, STEM experience, Elaine Manton, Loreto Grammar School in Cheshire
Theme B: Establishing, developing and maintaining school-industry collaboration at national level
• Establishing, developing and maintaining school-industry collaboration at national level, Peter Stagg, Regional Director, Centre for Education and Industry, University of Warwick
• School - industry collaboration, results a systematic STEM policy change across Israeli education system, Maya Halevy, Director, Bloomfield Science Museum
Theme C: Awareness raising through STEM role models
• Inspiring a new generation for STEM, Sebastiaan Smit, Project Manager, Jet-Net
• It's all about passion, Ionut Budisteanu, Intel ISEF winner
Theme D: Priorities in STEM education policy and STEM careers at national, regional and European level
• STEM Zuid - Limburg, Josephine Maranus, Project Manager, Technocentrum Zuid-Limburg