Extending creative and critical thinking to all levels of education and training have been identified as key elements for a competitive Europe. This own-initiative opinion looks into the need for a paradigm shift from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) to STEAM (including Arts) education.
The CoR opinion led by EPP-CoR member Borboly Csaba, President of the Harghita County Council, on “Strengthening STE(A)M Education in the EU” was unanimously adopted today in the SEDEC Commission meeting and will be presented to the Council of Ministers of Education on 22 May.
The opinion focuses on the growing need to better prepare citizens with the skills and knowledge they will need to be successful innovators in a 21st century workforce. The importance of further developing STE(A)M skills in Europe is recognized by the various EU institutions. Local and Regional authorities can play a major role. As empowered in many different ways through multi-level governance and decentralization of educational policy in the EU and in member states, they have become main actors in the process and are called to find new ways of thinking about the future of education, taking over new concepts and finding new financing sources for the soft and hard investments in order to support the change.
“We need to break the silos between disciplines, incorporating arts and introduce more project-based multidisciplinary education approaches” said EPP-CoR rapporteur Borboly Csaba.
The rapporteur encourages the European Commission, in agreement with local and regional partners, to frame universally-applicable standard curricula for STEM and STE(A)M subjects at different levels of education. He points to the need to close the gender gap in STEM courses and professions, and proposes non-gender biased approach to STEM and targeted measures for girls of all ages such as career guidance programmes and study and apprenticeship programmes. In view of the future programming period beyond 2020, he considers that the Commission and Member States must give priority to supporting STEM related initiatives with EU and Member State Funds, as should the Commission in its direct management of relevant EU programmes post 2020.
The final adoption of the opinion will take place during the June Plenary Session of the CoR.