College of Slavonski Brod, Dr. Mile Budaka 1, 35 000 Slavonski Brod, Croatia
Učilište Moneo, Ul. Dobriše Cesarića 46, 35 000 Slavonski Brod, Croatia
European Union today represents technologically advanced, yet dependant society, facing many social and economic challenges. It is therefore essential for the citizens of EU to develop, from the earliest age, transversal and basic skills in the STEM field (STEM-Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), also recognized in the European Commission’s paper on education. Although, knowledge and competencies in STEM field are increasingly important component of the set of skills needed in today’s economy of knowledge, still, in the most of the EU countries, interest for the STEM field is decreasing. As a direct result, there is also decreased interest of students for STEM oriented studies and carrier in the STEM field, which represents threat to the competitiveness of the EU economy on the global scene. It is considered that, until 2020. there will be lack of more than 800.000 technological experts, and even on the lower positions, increased level of STEM competences, will be essential. Therefore, this issue is extremely important for the future of EU.
Current educational plans and programmes are often outdated, focused on reproduction instead on learning outcomes and students. Practice shows that educational programmes and teaching methods, as well as technical conditions, are not following technological development or modern society needs. Teachers are often oriented to the transmission of large quantity of information without concrete application, innovation, creativity or freedom of expression, which leads to the lack of development of social skills and expression of student’s own attitudes. PISA results show that Croatian’s 15-year old are falling significantly behind their peers in the world, clearly proving negative impact of such a practice to the students’ results.
Project „STEM geniuses“, funded by European Social Fund, is developed as a tool in the process of finding the solution to the detected problems. Starting point was encouragement to the stronger cooperation of high-school institutions with Faculty, Scientific institute and Scientific-technological Park, introduction to the best EU practice and education of teachers in the field of modern, student-oriented educational methods. Capacity building of teachers of both Gymnasiums in the field of application of didactical-methodical systems allowed more creativity and autonomy in the selection of learning content and methods with adequate equipment, as well as clearly defined standards and evaluation criteria focused on learning outcomes. In addition, students, parents and the public have raised awareness of the importance of STEM competences for future competitiveness in the labor market.
As a precondition for implementation of new learning contents, innovative curricula were developed focused on competences in the field of STEM and ICT and, in order to assure its successful implementation in the educational system of Gymnasiums, teachers increased competencies while the facilities were equipped with modern equipment. Students, parents and general public were informed about significance of STEM competencies and entrepreneurship was introduced as an innovative element and one of the basic components necessary for successful life and learning in the modern society.
STEM competencies, Secondary education, Tertiary education, Brod-Posavina County
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