June 7, 2018 – At today’s National STEM Summit, members of the Nationales MINT Forum (National STEM Forum Germany) are calling for a regular dialog with federal, regional, and municipal authorities in order to collaboratively develop a national STEM strategy. The Nationales MINT Forum has identified six core concerns as useful starting points. These will be discussed today with German Education Minister Anja Karliczek and Helmut Holter, president of Germany’s Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, along with high-level representatives from municipal governments, academia, and the private sector.
In their call to action at the start of the summit, the two spokespersons of the Nationales MINT Forum, Nathalie von Siemens and Ekkehard Winter, highlighted the unsatisfactory state of STEM education in Germany. “Today, STEM is a major part of a basic education. In our increasingly digital private and working lives, access to modern, high-quality STEM education must be guaranteed for everyone,” said Nathalie von Siemens. Ekkehard Winter highlighted studies such as the most recent edition of an annual report on STEM subjects in Germany, saying: “Despite the many impressive STEM initiatives, I’m afraid we must address the fact that in Germany, we are not going to reach the goals we set out for 2020. The math and science competence of our primary school students is getting worse, the lack of skilled workers in STEM fields has again reached an all-time high, and girls and young women feel less motivated than ever to pursue a career in a STEM field.”
The speakers of the Nationales MINT Forum have arrived at the following conclusion: STEM education in school and in extracurricular activities needs to be more effective, meaning increased support for quality control and impact assessment efforts. Tangible progress is only possible with a nation-wide STEM strategy developed collaboratively at the policy level.
The Nationales MINT Forum calls on policymakers to implement the following six points (full text in attachment or online):
1) Form a STEM quality alliance with government, civil society, private sector, and academic stakeholders.
This alliance agrees on gender-sensitive quality criteria and procedures, to which all STEM initiatives agree to commit. These organizations must be given tools to make themselves more impact-oriented.
2) Strengthen STEM regions with a nation-wide service center.
Regional networks are essential when it comes to content transparency and coordination along the entire education chain. To ensure that existing knowledge is spread, a publicly-financed national service center for STEM regions should be created.
3) Implement systematic accompanying research for impact analysis of STEM initiatives.
Not enough is known about the impact of non-school STEM offerings. Therefore, the federal government should quickly implement systematic accompanying research, as advised in the 2017 parliamentary proclamation on STEM.
4) Clearly define and guarantee skill focus for schools – STEM and digital.
Schools must face the challenges presented by content, methodology, and structures. Schools should also provide teachers with the skills needed to teach STEM lessons and make use of digital resources. Federal states must therefore develop and evaluate integrative concepts for the entire curriculum, including computer science.
5) Create an integrated system of schools and nearby STEM initiatives among all education partners.
Schools cannot go it alone in providing the skills needed for the 21st century – close collaboration with extracurricular STEM initiatives is needed. All stakeholders should develop a coordinated system; in all-day schools, for example.
6) Increase incentives and career perspectives for STEM teachers – including those making lateral career moves.
Universities and state governments are called upon to enable a close collaboration between specific disciplines, teaching methodology, and developmental science. It is desirable and necessary allow people entering education from a different career to become teachers in schools. However, this must be accompanied by common and mandatory continuing education and training, as well as supplementary monitoring.
The full schedule of the National STEM Summit as well as background information on the event and participants can be found here.
Members of the press are welcome to attend the summit as observers and to get in touch during the breaks with around 100 high-ranking guests from government, the private sector, and academia.
Press contact and interview requests: Angela Lindner
Mobile: +49-151 2097 2734
Summit Date: June 7, 2018, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Haus der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft, Chausseestraße 111, 10115 Berlin
Press registration: firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone (see above)
About the Nationales MINT Forum
Germany’s Nationales MINT Forum (National STEM Forum) is comprised of over 30 large, nationally-operating scientific institutions, foundations, and associations working collaboratively for improved education along the entire education chain in the fields of mathematics, information technology, natural sciences and technology (MINT). This includes early childhood and school education, professional and academic education, continuing education, and life-long learning.
The mission of the Nationales MINT Forum is to formulate joint positions and recommendations for education policy based on the perspectives, interests, and issues represented by its members. As the national voice of STEM stakeholders in Germany, the forum concentrates the experiences and expertise of the STEM civil society into a common position. With this shared voice, the forum sparks public debate and initiates constructive dialog with other stakeholders, particularly those in politics.
More information: http://www.nationalesmintforum.de/