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Less university students to study science across Europe


The EUR 3.8 million project ESTABLISH (´European Science and Technology in Action Building Links with Industry, Schools and Home´) aims to create authentic learning environments for science students aged between 12 and 18.

The scientific community (academic and industry), policy-makers, parents groups, science education researchers and teachers have been brought together with the objective to drive change in the classroom. This will be done by developing and implementing innovative Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) units and teacher education programmes, and adapting them for each country across Europe.

The project is led by Dublin City University in Ireland with coordination by Dr. Eilish McLoughlin with the long-term aim to generate greater interest in science subjects at school, improve the take-up of science at high school level, and also increase the number of skilled graduates for employment in science and technology.

Already a number of topics from the science curricula have been selected, and working in consultation with local partners in each of the eleven participating countries, has facilitated the development of new learning materials and resources. Dr. Sarah Brady the project manager, emphasises; ´This process has enabled the ESTABLISH team to work closely with teachers to understand what their needs, expectations and requirements are when teaching science by inquiry, while also opening up a connection between science taught in the classroom and science carried out in industry.´ 

ESTABLISH has also developed a number of education programmes to help teachers adapt and adopt the new materials into their own teaching programmes.

´This has been a challenge in that there are so many variations of teacher education across Europe, but we have been able to identify certain frameworks and criteria to facilitate teacher education (at both in-service and pre-service levels)´ expresses Professor Christina Ottander from Umeå University whom leads the development of teacher education programmes for in-service teachers.

The resources and the teacher education programmes that have been successfully implemented across Europe have been focused on developing authentic experiences in science. The project hopes this will help to stimulate learning and promote intrinsic motivation in students, and identify career opportunities in science and technology.

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