The current situation of economic crisis has provoked strong international debate on the validity of the prevailing economic model in western societies in general and more specifically in European ones. This economic model, based on the society of production and globalization, shows signs of serious exhaustion which makes us think that it may need to be modified. Focusing on excellence in education, especially in scientific-technological education, has become a cornerstone of this change towards a more competitive economy based on knowledge, according to what was established in the Lisbon strategy.

According to the data produced by the Eurobarometer in 2005, more than 80% of Europeans believe that young people showing an interest in science and technology is fundamental for the future of their countries. However, it is still surprising that although the number of young people who go to university in most countries has increased over the last few decades, there is an increasingly lower number of students who chose to study scientific-technological courses or carry out scientific studies at stages before University. This trend coexist with a vague and low-valued people’s scientific literacy and culture, which are vital to ensure that citizens can understand the challenges and advances which affect modern societies. Besides, if Europe intends to lead the global economy, it needs to train and encourage the presence of high level researchers and engineers.

In Spain, the situation of science and scientific training is not very different to what has been detected in the rest of Europe. In the different studies on Social Perception of Science, carried out by FECYT between 2002 and 2010, the results show that scientific and engineering courses are not attractive enough to young people, even though science and the scientific profession have a good reputation. In other the study carried out in 2010 on young people's perception of science and the scientific profession, the results have shown that teaching sciences in Spanish classrooms does not lead to activities which have been shown to have a high pedagogical value, such as the use of laboratories and carrying out experiments, debates on science and technology or the study of serious environmental and socio-economic problems faced by humanity and their causes.

In view of this situation, the Spanish government, through the Ministry for Education and the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology, launched the Summer Scientists Campus programme in 2010. The programme was aimed at secondary school students and the main objective was to boost the interest of young people in scientific and technological disciplines through their participation in research projects specially designed for the CAMPUS programme and run by teachers from universities and secondary schools. In this study the results obtained are evaluated and an analysis is performed on the effectiveness of these types of activities to increase the interest of young people in the study of scientific-technological subjects as well as their importance in changing the economic model.

">
 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Summer scientists campus
Science as the basis of change in the current economic model

Ana M. Correas   Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology - FECYT

Rosa Capeáns   Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology - FECYT

Laura Orensanz   Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology - FECYT

The current situation of economic crisis has provoked strong international debate on the validity of the prevailing economic model in western societies in general and more specifically in European ones. This economic model, based on the society of production and globalization, shows signs of serious exhaustion which makes us think that it may need to be modified. Focusing on excellence in education, especially in scientific-technological education, has become a cornerstone of this change towards a more competitive economy based on knowledge, according to what was established in the Lisbon strategy.

According to the data produced by the Eurobarometer in 2005, more than 80% of Europeans believe that young people showing an interest in science and technology is fundamental for the future of their countries. However, it is still surprising that although the number of young people who go to university in most countries has increased over the last few decades, there is an increasingly lower number of students who chose to study scientific-technological courses or carry out scientific studies at stages before University. This trend coexist with a vague and low-valued people’s scientific literacy and culture, which are vital to ensure that citizens can understand the challenges and advances which affect modern societies. Besides, if Europe intends to lead the global economy, it needs to train and encourage the presence of high level researchers and engineers.

In Spain, the situation of science and scientific training is not very different to what has been detected in the rest of Europe. In the different studies on Social Perception of Science, carried out by FECYT between 2002 and 2010, the results show that scientific and engineering courses are not attractive enough to young people, even though science and the scientific profession have a good reputation. In other the study carried out in 2010 on young people's perception of science and the scientific profession, the results have shown that teaching sciences in Spanish classrooms does not lead to activities which have been shown to have a high pedagogical value, such as the use of laboratories and carrying out experiments, debates on science and technology or the study of serious environmental and socio-economic problems faced by humanity and their causes.

In view of this situation, the Spanish government, through the Ministry for Education and the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology, launched the Summer Scientists Campus programme in 2010. The programme was aimed at secondary school students and the main objective was to boost the interest of young people in scientific and technological disciplines through their participation in research projects specially designed for the CAMPUS programme and run by teachers from universities and secondary schools. In this study the results obtained are evaluated and an analysis is performed on the effectiveness of these types of activities to increase the interest of young people in the study of scientific-technological subjects as well as their importance in changing the economic model.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

BACK TO TOP