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Report sets out 21st century vision for science for society

Posted: 6 August, 2015

A new publication on science education offers a 21st century vision for science for society to help the European Union achieve its goals of “promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth; finding pathways to create new jobs; and offering a sense of direction to societies”.

The Framework for Science Education for Responsible Citizenship was developed by an expert group brought together in 2014 by the European Commission and chaired by Professor Ellen Hazelkorn of DIT.  The expert group was tasked with identifying the main issues involved in helping citizens to access scientific debate, providing guidance on how industry can contribute to science education, and proposing a new framework for all types of science education that is responsive and meets the highest ethical standards.

While there has been an increase in recent years in the  numbers of students with science qualifications, the report notes that there has not been a parallel rise in the numbers interested in pursuing science related careers.  It identifies approaches to equipping citizens, enterprise and industry in Europe with the skills and competences needed to provide sustainable and competitive solutions.  Addressing science education policy makers in particular, it recommends a more responsive science education that promotes broader participation in knowledge-based innovation that creates the highest ethical standards.

The Framework for Science Education for Responsible Citizenship identifies six key objectives and associated recommendations, which in combination, can help bring about the systemic changes required to generate a sustainable effect across our societies and in our communities:

  1. Science education should be an essential component of a learning continuum for all, from pre-school to active engaged citizenship.
  2. Science education should focus on competences with an emphasis on learning through science and shifting from STEM to STEAM by linking science with other subjects and disciplines.
  3. The quality of teaching, from induction through pre-service preparation and in-service professional development, should be enhanced to improve the depth and quality of learning outcomes.
  4. Collaboration between formal, non-formal and informal educational providers, enterprise and civil society should be enhanced to ensure relevant and meaningful engagement of all societal actors with science and increase uptake of science studies and science-based careers to improve employability and competitiveness.
  5. Greater attention should be given to promoting Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and enhancing public understanding of scientific findings and the capabilities to discuss their benefits and consequences.
  6. Emphasis should be placed on connecting innovation and science education strategies, at local, regional, national, European and international levels, taking into account societal needs and global developments.

Download the full report