Quality Science Education:
ensuring a sustainable future for all
Quality science education sparks students’ curiosity from an early age
UNESCO uses the lever of innovative hands-on kits and tools (Microscience, Mathematics Exhibition) as well as active methodology science teaching programmes to foster curiosity and the ambition to know first, to know better. The Organization is also working to attract more talented youngsters to scientific disciplines and careers by familiarizing them to experiencing science. This creates, at early age, an environment of scientific capability, collaboration habits and a healthy competitive environment. The portative science kits (true mini-labs) also contribute to relieve the lack of laboratories and facilities in developing regions, especially in Africa, and are used as experimental tools to improve curricula through practical experiments.
A few examples:
- Global Microscience Experiments
- UNESCO-IUCr Crystal growth Experiment and competition in the framework of the International Year of Crystallography (IYCr2014)
- Mathematics Travelling Exhibition “Experiencing Mathematics”
- Galileoscope and Optics kits programme developed for the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015
Quality science education takes advantage of the new development in ICTs
To build scientific capacities, UNESCO is fostering the establishment of high-quality web-based science courses, open online contents and databases as well as mobile learning programmes. These tools allow students, teachers and the general public to conveniently access high-level science knowledge that is essential to empower and engage them into science.
A few examples:
- World Library of Science (WLoS)
- CERN Digital Library “Invenio” supported by UNESCO’s International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP)
Basic sciences education triggers innovation that is essential to sustainable development
Quality basic sciences education is an indispensable lever for innovation, conducive to any sustainable development. It is based on institutional and human capacity building, through the creation of centres of excellence, and on the international networking generated by scientific platforms such the Human Variome Project (HVP). These activities also help to fight brain-drain and strengthen each country’s abilities to sustain high-quality trainings to young generations (through teachers’ training).
A few examples:
- UNESCO Active Leaning in Optics and Photonics (ALOP) Programme
- The Human Variome Project (HVP)
- UNESCO-IUCr Open Laboratories in crystallography
- UNESCO Chair in Teaching Physics established at the Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakech, Morocco
- Capacity and Networking Project (CANP) of the International Commission for Mathematical Instruction (ICMI/IMU) supported by UNESCO-IBSP.
Quality science education tackles both global and local challenges
UNESCO provides exciting opportunities for the public and schools to discover and experience many aspects of science, including its applications in daily-life, its relevance on societal and environmental concerns. Information about the impact of scientific research on specific issues is being made accessible - including local and global trends and perspectives on science for sustainable development in different parts of the world, such as solutions and opportunities offered in the African context.
This enables policy-makers to develop and implement evidence-based decisions, and demonstrates that science is at the core of the technological advancements that shape today’s economies and societies.
A few examples:
Empowering girls through science education
We must celebrate and give greater visibility to the achievements of women and girls in science, such as Prof Maryam Mirzakhani, who is the first woman to receive the prestigious Fields Medal in Mathematics this year. The IYCr2014 was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the achievements of women crystallographers such as Dorothy Hodgkin, who synthetized several bio-molecules (insulin, penicillin, vitamin B12, etc.), and Rosalind Franklin, who contributed to the discovery of the crystal structure of DNA. Efforts are put to render science inclusive to girls worldwide, especially in Africa.
Cooperation in Science Education
Avicenna Virtual Campus for Science and Technology
Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS)
Publications and articles
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
- European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
- Khan Academy
- The Globe Program
- Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
- Nature Publishing Group: Nature Education
- Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP)
- International Council of Associations for Science Education (ICASE)
- Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers s (SPIE)
- The Royal Society