Government

The Basque Government

The Basque Government (Eusko Jaurlaritza/Gobierno Vasco) is the regional Government of the Basque Country (Euskadi). Its degree of autonomy in policy areas including education, industry, culture, health and social security and services has led the Basque Country to achieve a high rating in the Human Development Index: eighth place in the world. Industry is the driving force of the Basque economy, accounting for 24.1% of GDP, and it aims to lead the fourth industrial revolution: 128% productivity per employee. Commitment to innovation is the hallmark of the Basque Country, commitment that brought in recognition and resources at European level. The Basque Country is the autonomous community in Spain that assigns the highest percentage of its GDP to R&D, 1.89%.

 

Regarding education, schooling in the Basque Country is compulsory from age 6 and free from 3 to 16 years old. Euskadi has the lowest dropout rate (7.7%) for young people between 18 and 24 years old, and 48.9% of people aged between 30 and 34 with have higher education The Basque Country directs its efforts toward implementing a clear, close educational model, providing value and quality assurance. Its commitment to developing talent in people, concentrated in a nursery for highly qualified professionals, who are prepared to take the reins of the future, both locally and internationally, has been reinforced. In this sense, an increasing need in qualified professionals in science and technology is foreseen in the coming years. Therefore, the Basque Government is currently developing the STEAM-Euskadi Strategy, using an integrated and collaborative approach between the education and industry, with the following goals:

 

  1. To guarantee education in the scientific and technological areas in the curriculum and the literacy needed by the society in an increasingly complex, changing and highly technified world.
  2. To inspire students professional vocations and aspirations in STEM areas in order to have more, better and versatile professionals.
  3. To attract less represented groups such as girls to scientific and technological fields
  4. To favour education in science and technology in students facing social inequality situations.

 

Ministry of Education and Science

The Bulgarian education system has been traditionally supportive of STEM, providing students with numerous opportunities to broaden their experience in the STEM fields outside the curriculum. Currently several non-government and academic organisations are responsible for the bulk of the STE(A)M initiatives in Bulgaria and most of them work closely with policymakers, trying to ensure the sustainability of their initiatives, some of which have been standing for decades and have turned into an institution of their own.

 

The longest standing form of extracurricular STEM activities have been the various olympiads – mathematics, informatics, information technologies, physics, chemistry, astronomy, mathematical linguistics etc. Bulgaria has been a founding member of most of the international olympiads in these fields and last year founded EJOI (European Junior Olympiad in Informatics). Bulgaria is also one of the few countries, where students receive direct support and mentorship from active researchers. Every olympiad has three rounds- school, district and national, with the more popular fields, such as mathematics and informatics also having additional national competitions. Schools are encouraged to provide extracurricular courses, preparing the students for the olympiads through various funding programmes such as the Operative programme “Science and Education for Smart Growth”.

 

High school research is another well-established traditional STEM activity, due to the tradition of research organizations in mentorship and access to resources to talented high school students. The High School Students Institute of Mathematics and Informatics has been functioning since 2000, initially modelling its structure and activities after the US Center for Excellence in Education and then – gradually expanding and diversifying its methods. Currently it organizes two annual high school conferences, an interview-based grant initiative supporting high achieving students to participate in international research programs, and an international summer school, which gathered 45 students from ten countries in 2017. The summer school is three week long and each participant is provided with a personal mentor and research topic in the field of mathematics, computer science, ICT or astronomy.

 

The Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science's current priorities include:

  • Involvement of the three interests’ parties in STEM skills intensification – kids/students, parents, school/education authorities.
  • Funding for STEM education innovations and interdisciplinary projects development aimed at foster collaborations for sharing and co-creation of new knowledge among High Schools or/and Education Institutions.
  • Better STEM through better STEM teachers: fostering change management in education and development of education change management strategies for each High School/education institution.
  • Improvement and digitalisation of STEM infrastructure (STEM Labs), facilities, and libraries (digital STEM libraries at High Schools/education institutions).
  • Overcoming the inequality and better integration through learning communities and development of STEM knowledge map and paths (STEM BUS Bulgaria).
  • Pragmatism, transparency, and visibility of STEM efforts: ideas and contributions of all interest parties can be achieved through the development and sustainability of Open Data STEM portal Bulgaria. 
  • Integration with the foreseen EIT community hub in Bulgaria

 

 

Nat. Centre for Science Recruitment

The National Centre for Science Recruitment is the Ministry of Education and Research’s national resource centre for recruitment to science and technology subjects. The centre works with everyone involved in recruitment to science and technology. The National Centre for Science Recruitment (NSR) is an administrative agency of the Ministry of Education and Research.

Government of Catalonia

The Government of Catalonia (Generalitat de Catalunya) is the regional government of Catalonia. It consists of ministries and other bodies such as public companies and autonomous organisations that employ more than 200.000 people. It has responsibilities, among other areas, in: education, employment, universities and economic development. Secretariat  for Telecommunications, Cibersecurity and Digital Society is responsible for boosting the deployment and integration of digital technologies in each area of Catalan society.

 

The Catalan economy boasts a significant level of industrial activity in sectors such as automobiles and accessories, chemicals, and state-of-the-art computer and office IT equipment. The publishing industry and construction are also of crucial economic importance. 

 

The lack of students choosing studies in the STEM-related subjects, high rates of youth unemployment and sustained labour demand growth in some STEM-related sectors such as IT, robotics, automobile and mechanics industry, have driven the Government of Catalonia to aprove in February 2017 an Agreement to develop the STEMcat plan (national STEM strategy).This plan promotes vocations in STEM among youth, and has to be deployed in the Catalan schools during the next school year (2017-18). The plan is currently being developed by the Government of Catalonia and will cover four main focus areas:

 

  • enhance teacher training in science, technology and mathematics;
  • enhance STEM skills among students and develop strategies to globally assess them;
  • encourage participation in school of companies in STEM sectors;
  • promote science, technology, engineering and maths in society

Flemish STEM Platform

The STEM platform is an independent group that advises the STEM Steering Committee and the government of Flanders about the STEM Action Plan. The members of the STEM Platform are appointed by the government based on their expertise and their ability to create a broad support base for STEM. These members share the concerns about the too short amount of youngsters that are interested in STEM studies and are willing to share their knowledge, experience and network in order to meet the set goals of the STEM Platform. They do so by giving advice and suggest priorities for the STEM Steering Committee.

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