What can Europe learn from NRW? Quite a lot in the development of sustainable structures for STEM education. That is why Europe-wide networking and learning from and with each other is so important, made clear Klaus Kaiser, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and Science, at the annual meeting of the European project "EU-STEM Coalition" in Kamp-Lintfort. In his keynote speech, Kaiser focused on four main areas of work of the zdi.NRW community offensive: participation, girls and MINT, contextualisation and extracurricular learning locations.
zdi imparts current MINT knowledge & builds on scientific discourses
"The inclusion of children and young people and their ideas are existential building blocks of the work of the zdi community," emphasizes Klaus Kaiser. From the very beginning, zdi focused on the enthusiasm of young girls and women. “Our extracurricular places of learning are a good place for girls and young women to try things out. Current scientific discourses are made tangible here. It is important that young people learn where and how STEM knowledge can be used. To this end, we have built up a dense network of over 15 student laboratories in North Rhine-Westphalia through zdi over the past 70 years,” Klaus Kaiser continues. "This makes us an inspiration for STEM activities across Europe."
STEM young people crucial for all of Europe
Other high-ranking speakers also expressed their expectations of young STEM students in Europe at the digital event. In her welcome speech, Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Education, Culture and Youth, emphasized the importance of STEM knowledge in solving societal challenges. And Susana Solis Perez, Member of the European Parliament, highlighted the importance of gender equality in STEM promotion in her presentation.
But how can this work? Practical examples reported on this:
- In Denmark, a new computer science subject is being developed for primary and secondary schools. The aim is to make computer science clearer for young people.
- The Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences also presented its FabLab model. The Fablab is also a zdi school laboratory. In this high-tech workshop, students are made familiar with modern production technology.
The EU STEM Coalition is a European network of national STEM initiatives. The project aims to facilitate the exchange of best practices of national and regional STEM initiatives and the development of new STEM strategies. zdi.NRW is a project partner and, as the largest MINT community in Europe, contributes to events and the exchange of experiences.
Here is the recording of the live stream: