News | Education | 25. November 2021

Red STEM Latinoamérica develops cross-national agenda for STEM education

In her keynote speech, Dr. Nina Smidt emphasized the important role of networks and collaborations in driving innovation in STEM education.
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At the first major meeting of our Latin American STEM network, members defined joint standards to advance educational goals across borders. In her key note speech, Dr. Nina Smidt, Managing Director and Spokesperson of the Board of Directors at Siemens Stiftung, highlights key focal points of the network’s activities.

In recent years, the regional office of Siemens Stiftung in Santiago de Chile has built up a STEM network across Latin America with a current total of 90 partner institutions in 13 countries to date. With the help of interregional and cross-sectoral cooperations, Red STEM Latinoamérica has the objective of promoting up-to-date, high-quality and innovative STEM education and skills and more strongly anchoring them in the national teaching plans of the individual countries under consideration of their needs in widely different contexts.

All the partners and their networks came together for the first major hybrid meeting – Encuentro Red STEM Latinoamérica – held on November 9–11, 2021, in Bogotá, Colombia, to share best practices from the everyday work of teachers, collective-impact approaches and visions for the future. Framed by presentations from the Ministry of Education, the education authorities of the capital Bogotá and the city of Medellin, and representatives of Latin American universities, Dr. Nina Smidt, Managing Director and Spokesperson of the Board of Directors at Siemens Stiftung, gave a keynote address, speaking on the work of the network in the Latin American education sector and the design of spaces and conditions that enable sustainable educational innovation to succeed:

Across the three days of Encuentro Red STEM Latinoamérica, network partners engaged in analog, digital and hybrid exchanges on the most important topics and working lines for a common agenda intended to achieve a collective effect for better STEM education in Latin America across borders in articulated cooperation. It was confirmed again jointly that STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) should be advanced more strongly as part of the UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); in particular, education on climate change should become a priority that pervades all activities. The Red STEM network likewise sees itself as part of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement, which enjoys growing attention and significance in Latin America. Siemens Stiftung’s Latin American OER portal CREA is a concrete answer to this. It brings together free media from Latin America for Latin America for use by teachers and educational institutions.

There was also a discussion using best practices about how the central importance of STEAM education for sustainable – and, in the process, especially social – development can be anchored in national agendas. The establishment of STEM territories and innovative ideas for national teaching plans – for instance the provision of STEM teaching and learning materials – will play a key role in this regard.

With the development of the Latin American STEM network in recent years and the establishment of a yearly Encuentro Red STEM Latinoamérica event, we have succeeded in successfully establishing the network’s organization and processes in a systemic approach, thus systematizing the growing cooperation, and in making actors, goals and programs visible and usable in external communications for interested stakeholders and the general public.

Encuentro Red STEM Latinoamérica will be held each year in a different country. Mexico will host the conference in 2022.

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