Industry wants to collaborate with schools to get more Stem students

Summary

Several industry federations recently introduced a set of measures to help schools teach science and technology subjects

‘We must turn this situation around’

Six industry associations recently discussed a proposal of 20 recommendations to energise education and training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – the Stem subjects – in Flanders. The group wants to ensure not only that an adequate number of young people earn diplomas in the disciplines but also that the quality of the education is satisfactory.

The group of federations, including Agoria (tech innovation), Comeos (retail and wholesale) and Fevia (food industry), were joined by Flemish chamber of commerce Voka for a consultation in the Flemish parliament. Representatives from the secondary school networks were also present, along with education specialists.

“The importance of science, technology, engineering and maths has received too little attention for too long and has typically been seen as ‘difficult’,” said MP Koen Daniëls (N-VA). “That needs to be transformed into ‘necessary and challenging’.”

Flanders is average when it comes to the number of students graduating from secondary school or higher education with a Stem degree, and the federations insist that the situation can be greatly improved. “We must turn this situation around in order to be among the top-producing regions for Stem diplomas by 2030,” they said in their proposal.

The proposal sets out 20 ideas to help schools improve their programmes and to get pupils interested. One idea would be to supply schools and colleges with infrastructure and materials. Another would be to assist in training teachers to teach the skills needed in a graduating student.

Photo: The lab at Flemish sugar producer Tiense Suikerraffinaderij, a member of Fevia