24/11/2015

EMINENT 2015 highlights the importance of ‘STEM in Education and Life'

Society as a whole benefits from a better education in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). That was the general conclusion of speaker after speaker who attended this year's Eminent event (Expert Meeting In Education Networking) in Barcelona on 19 and 20 November 2015. And it was a message welcomed by the nearly 260 STEM professionals who gathered for the event.

The conference guests discussed the main milestones reached during the second phase of the Scientix project, to hear what education policy makers from across Europe had planned – and do some serious networking. They also had the opportunity to participate in and discuss the latest trends in STEM education in five workshops, and to meet project leaders exhibiting at twenty different exhibition stands.

The attendees were welcomed by the Chair of European Schoolnet, Mr Giovanni Biondi; Dr Joan Mateo, from the Catalan Ministry of Education’s Secretary of Educational Policies; and Mr José Luis Blanco López, General Director of Evaluation and Territorial Cooperation, at the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.

Over the course of two days, nine representatives of Ministries of Education (MoE) presented key achievements in science education in their countries. During the first day, representatives from France, Israel, the Netherlands and Finland each had twelve minutes long talks on national STEM politics, how to promote and to sustain students‘ interest in STEM subjects and the national approach to teaching science and mathematics. Next morning, representatives of MoEs in Portugal, Sweden, Lithuania, Belgium (Flanders) and Malta followed, emphasising strategies and initiatives related to the promotion of STEM subjects and careers.

The conference ended with a round table discussion about the main challenges that STEM education faces. This session, moderated by Dr Richard Walden, a science teacher and Scientix Ambassador in the United Kingdom, had an eclectic group of speakers, with different interests and perspectives on the field of science education: Ms Karen Slavin, representative of the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate-General for Research and Innovation; Mr Yves Beernaert, representative of the EC’s Expert Group on Science Education; Ms Katja Maaß, Professor at the University of Education in Freiburg; and, Mr Albert Forn, from GSMA.

The panellists agreed that, whatever the challenges posed by promoting and advancing in science education, collaboration across nations and stakeholders involved is essential in solving them. Innovation and change in the educational systems needs to bring together all those involved in the educational process, with a particular focus on developing support structures for teachers.

See the event’s webpage for more details on the Scientix website or on the European Schoolnet website.

 

Nearly 260 STEM professionals attended the event. Photo credits: Richard Hadley

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