Tag Archives: education and business

Investing in People and STEM – CHOICE project final conference

The CHOICE Project intends to innovate STEM education and contribute to the policy reform of STEM curricula in European secondary schools by providing teachers and students with tools and resources promoting the STE(A)M approach, connecting STEM subjects with Arts and All the other disciplines. The project’s partnership is composed of non-profit organisations, business and private sector, education and training institutions, from five European countries: Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Belgium. 

The project’s final conference, ‘Investing in People and STEM : Innovative Cross-disciplinary STE(A)M approaches to education’, held on the 29th of November 2022 in Brussels in partnership with the European Economic and Social Committee, was attended by more than 90 participants (teachers, students, educators, policy makers, representatives of EU institutions and representatives of civil society organisations in the field of education and training, general public interested in the topic). The event, opened by  Monica Verzola (vice chairman of LLLP and member of the board of EVTA, was the concluding moment of the 3-year project CHOICE, where the project and its results were presented, and student and teacher testimonies heard. 

The main outcomes presented during the event were the state of the art analysis on existing initiatives, best practices, attitudes and approaches towards STEAM education and the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) promoting STE(A)M education for students, educators and teachers which collects Open Educational Resources (OERs) co-created with the students and teachers involved in the project; the project recommendation on how to promote the STE(A)M approach. 

The CHOICE MOOC is composed of five different modules which address five macro-areas: STEM& arts; experiential projects; STEM & teaching languages; using technology in social sciences; STEM & sports. The project’s success is measured by the positive impact it has had on student interest in STEM: following the project’s implementation, student’s interest in STEAM increased by 10%. Students and teachers from the Italian, Cypriot, Greek, and Spanish schools presented the OERs developed in the framework of the project, as “The Starry Night”, where students covered Van Gogh’s renowned painting with origami and studied the mathematics behind each shape. 

The conference ended with a fruitful panel discussion around the topic of “Innovative approaches on the promotion and improvement of STE(A)M education at school,” with a focus on EU policy development. The panel, composed of Michael Mcloughlin (European Economic and Social Committee | Youth Work Ireland); MEP Victor Negrescu (European Parliament), Leonie Bultynck (European Commission, DG EAC), Evita Tasiopoulou (Science Education Department, European Schoolnet), was moderated by Jon Harding (Vice chairman I treasurer, LLLP). 

The panellists emphasised that the different STEM/STE(A)M initiatives in Europe should be interconnected across regional and national levels. In this way, STEM education can grow and evolve, and build on different practices and approaches. It is important to involve local authorities and ministries, support institutions, and listen to students in a learner-centred approach. STE(A)M education touches upon many sectors and should involve all of them. Industries could be more involved and integrated into school curricula, to stimulate STEM careers. 

The panel particularly focused on STEM and gender equality. Currently, far more men than women are pursuing STEM careers: STEM education should be more fun, more ‘attractive’, related to everyday life, and provide more female role models to be truly inclusive. There are other inequalities in STEM education, such as those related to socio-economic status, belonging to national or ethnic minority, etc. Overall, all speakers agreed that, at local, national and European level, STEM education and careers should take a more intersectional approach, be adapted to the needs of students and schools, and receive more resources.

The project’s final conference raised important action points on how to sustain the project’s results with time, and, thereby, how to promote and improve STE(A)M education at local, regional, national and European levels. In this regard, it would be important to have a European network for STEM education that would act as a reference in the field, allowing individuals to connect and share best practices in teaching STEAM disciplines, encouraging and promoting them.

Readers are invited to read the project’s Policy Recommendations document, which deepens the lessons learned from “CHOICE” on how to support the reform of the school curricula by making the shift from STEM teaching in silos to a more interdisciplinary and practice-oriented approach of STE(A)M education.

Schools involved in the project:

Other project partners are: Lifelong Learning Platform, CESIE (Italy),  EUROTraining (Greece), Blue Room Innovation (Spain), GrantXpert Consulting (Cyprus).

The acronym STEM derives from Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, and it is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.

Professional Higher Education Institutions seek for stronger interaction with businesses in Europe

June, 2019 Brussels – The Professional Higher Education (PHE) institutions have a sound track record of successful interaction with businesses, which is particularly relevant and impactful at the regional level. On one side, it helps to fight youth unemployment, on the other, it reinvigorates the innovation ecosystems in EU’s cities and regions and boosts economic growth by bringing the results of applied research to the market in the form of new products and services. On the 13th of June EURASHE organised a Workshop which gathered higher education and businesses communities to discuss how to optimise the interaction between PHEIs and businesses (industry and SMEs), in terms of research and innovation activities and learning provisions, including work-based learning and up-skilling, in a way that both parties are mutually taking full advantage of the existing and forthcoming  EU funding opportunities.

EURASHE Workshop “Professional Higher Education institutions and businesses: stronger interaction for greater impact in Europe” marks the end of the series of events on the Future of education which took place in the last quarter of this year. Stephane Lauwick, President of EURASHE in his welcome speech shared with participants the findings from the 29th Annual Conference which took the last month in Budapest. The conclusions of the two days Conference suggest that the Professional Higher Education institutions blur the frontiers between education and research, integrate the regional and the fundamental and develop holistic approaches, interacting with a large spectrum of institutions and private stakeholders. By doing so, they become not only more efficient at teaching and fostering innovation, but also allowing the future young professionals to better understand the world around them. This is particularly relevant considering the rapidly-changing labour markets whereby new jobs demanding new skills appear every month.

Businesses seek better conditions for creating more jobs

The introduction was followed by the keynote speeches of representatives from the European Commission and businesses. Mrs Victoria Petrova presented European Commission’s ongoing economic policies in relation to future skills development and employment, she also addressed a need to create suitable legal and economic conditions which would help businesses to generate new job opportunities in Europe. The presentation was followed by the voices of the private sector – Altran and AquaFilSlo which introduced their businesses models, current interactions and future expectations from the professional higher education institutions. Brussels based association Feani provided the views and challenges of the engineering sector.

More openness for better PHEIs and businesses collaboration

As a natural follow up of sectors’ expectations from each other, EURASHE announced its willingness to open its structures-the Committee for a Strategic Advice and Working groups – to businesses and its representatives. From now on all the private sector representatives can apply to attend EURASHE meetings and, therefore, receive the most updated findings in the field of Lifelong learning, Quality assurance, Research and Innovation.

Being a part of the Committee for a Strategic Advice businesses’ representatives will give an opportunity to contribute to the development of EURASHE structures, set and improve organisational priorities and activities.

The event was followed by the annual EURASHE Summer networking cocktail hosted by Erasmusogeschool Brussels.

Please find photos of the Workshop.

Presentation of the European Commission’s representative is here.