A vital part

Nieuws | de redactie
7 april 2016 | EU Commissioner Tibor Navracsics praises the initiative of the EU STEM Coalition. “We need to kindle children’s interest in maths and science at school. We need to ensure STEM subjects in higher education equip students with a broad range of competences.” At the Hannover Messe this will be launched.

He writes in the introduction of the presentation of the new Coalition of education, neterpres and poicymaerts al over the EU: “Knowledge and skills related to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are crucial in responding to the challenges we are facing as a society. Developments in these fields underpin advances in scientific research across all disciplines and drive innovation and job creation across much of our economy.”

“From 2003 to 2013, the number of people working in occupations related to STEM grew by 12%, three times faster than total employment in the EU. Occupations in these fields now account for 7% of all jobs and demand for skills linked to these disciplines is anticipated to increase, particularly in the area of information and communications technology (ICT).”

However, although many pockets of excellence exist, Europe as a whole is not keeping pace with demand for STEM skills. Employers in many regions of the EU report difficulties in finding people with the right skills, particularly ICT professionals, or, conversely, that graduates from STEM fields lack the problem-solving and communication skills necessary in modern business environments. While the number of people choosing to study STEM subjects in higher education continues to rise, patterns vary across the Union.”

“These subjects are still often seen as “difficult” or unappealing, and a significant number of STEM graduates choose to work in other areas after they graduate. Addressing these problems requires action on different levels. We need to kindle children’s interest in maths and science at school. We need to ensure STEM subjects in higher education equip students with a broad range of competences, including important transversal skills such as creativity, flexibility and an entrepreneurial mindset.”

“And we need to build alliances between educators, employers, government and other partners to reach a common understanding of the skills required and how to help people acquire them. This is precisely what we are working on at European level. By supporting innovative partnerships between schools, universities, employers and social entrepreneurs through the Erasmus+ programme. By bringing educators and businesses together through the University-Business Forum to promote better understanding of workplace needs and curriculum design. And by promoting the exchange of effective practice between governments and educationproviders.”

“The European Commission recently completed a public consultation on the needs for an undated Modernisation of Higher Education Agenda. Early indications show that students, teachers and employers want more choice and better quality STEM subjects in higher education – we will continue  to support policies encouraging provision of the best possible STEM education for our young people.”

“The EU STEM Coalition is helping to develop and implement national strategies to promote these  disciplines across Europe. It is a vital part of our efforts to improve STEM education in schools.”

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