STEM Teacher Academy is a programme of the Dutch national STEM platform aimed at improving the content of STEM courses (and the way it is taught) in secondary education through cooperation with industry. The programme was launched in 2014 for a three year period and contributes to objectives set in the Dutch national Technology Pact and several government programmes aimed at reducing teacher shortages.
The programme's main ambition is to provide the most up-to-date teaching tools to STEM teachers in secondary education, now and in the future. This ambition is implemented through various activities, including guest-lectures by industry professionals and short-term 'internships' for teachers in technology companies. The programme is structured to build lasting links between technology companies and classroom and builds on existing regionalised networks and programmes, including the VO-HO netwerken (pre-university secondary education) and Toptechniek in Bedrijf (VET).
The STEM Teacher Academy programme was part of a 3-year government 'impulse', and was completed in 2017. The programme achieved near 100% coverage by realising 19 regional networks that involved 227 companies, and trained 814 STEM teachers.
The programme achieved nearly 100% geographical coverage. In addition, the programme also sparked pilots for the inclusion of company traineeships in the curriculum of teacher training programmes in eight universities of applied science (UAS).
The STEM Teacher Academy programme was funded by government as a fixed-term 3 year programme, as part of a broader effort to reduce teacher shortages and increase the quality of teaching. Companies contributed to the programme 'in kind' (e.g. by allowing their employees time off to give guest-lectures etc.).