Lieten launches campaign to promote science and technology

Summary

Innovation minister Ingrid Lieten has introduced a new campaign to encourage young people to study the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths

Role models used for new campaign

Flanders’ innovation minister Ingrid Lieten (pictured) yesterday launched a new campaign called Richting Morgen (Direction Tomorrow) to encourage more students to enrol for degrees in the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The number is already rising steadily, with 18,419 students enrolled in STEM courses in the academic year 2012-2013 compared to 16,405 in 2008-2009. But Lieten says there is still more progress to be made, especially for women who currently represent only 29% of STEM students. 

“It is really important for a small knowledge region like Flanders to focus on science and technology,” Lieten said. “We need all the talent we can get. We face a lot of challenges such as climate change, mobility and providing care for older people. So we need people who can meet these challenges with scientific and technological innovations.”  

Lieten aims to develop strategies that make science seem like a cool option for young people. “Science has to break away from its stereotypical image,” she said. “Young people don’t realise that they can help to make great breakthroughs in science. Just think about research into the use of algae as an alternative to petrol. Or the possibilities of 3D printing.” 

The campaign also introduces four successful Flemish scientists – two men and two women – as role models.

www.dagvandewetenschap.be

Educational system

The Flemish educational system is divided into two levels: primary (age six to 12) and secondary school (12 to 18). Education is compulsory for children between the ages of six and 18.
Types - There are three educational networks in Flanders: the Flemish Community’s GO! network, and publicly funded education – either publicly or privately run.
Not enough space - In recent years, Flemish schools have been struggling with persistent teacher shortages and a growing lack of school spaces.
No tuition fees - Nursery, primary and secondary school are free in Flanders.
1

million school-going children in 2013

30

million euros Flemish education budget for new school infrastructures in 2013

11

percent of boys leaving secondary school without a diploma