Corona makes it clear how important young scientists and technicians are. And how valuable extracurricular offers are for children and young people, through which they are introduced to socially relevant topics. For this reason too, schoolchildren in NRW would like to have more courses in which they can conduct research with like-minded people and learn to understand their environment. Researching and understanding together - under this motto, zdi.NRW creates learning opportunities for children and young people in all aspects of MINT (math, computer science, natural sciences and technology). The zdi courses and offers contribute to the transfer of knowledge and help to find orientation. The Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia, Klaus Kaiser, visited the zdi center in Cologne. He officially announced that a fixed sum is now anchored in the state budget for zdi.NRW.
How can a sustainable house construction of the future look like? How can a bio-based robot help against marine pollution? And how do you program the metaverse? The zdi center in Cologne offers young people extracurricular MINT courses that give them an insight into the world of work in the fields of science and technology. A focus of the Cologne network: addressing girls and young women. This is because they rarely opt for a career in the STEM field, which means that great potential is lost. The proportion of women in the MINT professions is just 15,5% – a problem that is getting worse in view of the increase in the shortage of MINT specialists to around 262.000 people.
Commitment to sustainable STEM education in NRW
During his visit to the zdi center in Cologne on February 21, 2022, Parliamentary State Secretary Klaus Kaiser met the "girls for innovation“ – MINT-enthusiastic schoolgirls who are going through a one-year scholarship at the zdi center in Cologne.
During the scholarship year, they get to know different MINT professions as well as training and study courses, work on their own projects, gain insights into companies and universities and exchange ideas with role models and like-minded people. In addition, the scholarship holders keep a publicly accessible online diary about their project work and thus actively learn how to prepare science and MINT topics for communication and make them available to society.
The girls for innovation make it clear once again that extracurricular MINT educational opportunities are an investment in the future of the country. State Secretary Klaus Kaiser is also aware of this. For this reason, he has personally campaigned in recent years to put the important extracurricular offers of the zdi.NRW community offensive on a secure footing - with success.
“I am very pleased that zdi.NRW has now been included in the state budget. We have thus created a long-term financing basis for the offer, which has proven itself over the years,” said Kaiser. "The inclusion in the budget is a wise investment in the future of North Rhine-Westphalia and a sustainable measure against the shortage of skilled workers. Because zdi.NRW ensures that more children and young people try out MINT subjects in extracurricular learning locations without pressure to perform, discover their talents and develop them in the best possible way.”
Fancy MINT: Courses and exchange on the community platform
For everyone interested in MINT: The zdi networks and zdi student laboratories, which are distributed across NRW, offer regular courses and workshops. An overview of the offers can be found on the MINT community platform. To the MINT community NRW.