STEM Ondernemers voor de Klas (‘STEM entrepreneurs in the classroom’), or ‘STEM OvK’. Is an initiative of the Flemish organisation ‘Vlaamse Jonge Ondernemingen’ (VLAJO) aimed at engaging students with STEM-driven entrepreneurship at a young age. The programme is a spin-off of the existing ‘Ondernemers voor de Klas’ (‘Entrepeneurs in the classroom’ – OVK) initiative. The programme facilitates guest-lectures by STEM entrepreneurs in STEM courses that provide context to the curriculum, highlighting the practical application and opportunities of STEM in enterprises and the link between STEM and societal challenges like climate change, healthcare, etc. Each guest-lecture is followed by a ‘wrap-up’ and evaluation organised by the teacher (supported by VLAJO).
Guest-lecturers are matched to schools in their geographic vicinity by a matching-programme (supported by a programme coordinator). After a school has been selected, the guest lecturer provides a one-hour guest lecture with time for questions. Each school year is kicked-off by a ‘boegbeeld’ (programme ambassador), a high-level company representative who’s guest lecture is used for broader campaigning purposes (and often covered by national media).
The main goal of the project is to enthuse students (14-18 years) for (STEM) entrepreneurship. On the organisational level VLAJO sets yearly benchmarks for the number of guest lectures, number of lecturers, number students and number of teachers. In addition, the quality of the activities is assessed through a questionnaire among participating teachers and guest-lecturers.