Do young people really hate science?

Anyone interested in scientific education cannot help but see a paradox. While science has never been more visible or open than today, with a plethora of scientific TV programmes, magazines and exhibitions, there is insufficient funding for formal education and all too often it cannot keep pace with changes in society. As a result, science is sometimes reduced to the most extreme and abhorrent clichés.

We must awaken children’s innate curiosity and introduce them to the scientific approach. …This would allow science to be practised from the earliest age and science education would help young people to become wellinformed and genuinely free citizens.

The Rocard report, which was submitted to the Commission in 2007, recommends a radical change in science teaching, moving from a deductive to an inductive approach based on awakening natural curiosity.

Indeed, this is advocated by numerous associations that have been striving for decades to provide young people with opportunities to discover, practice and explain science. Such complementary activities, which bring teams of young people together to work on joint projects, are a recognised way of reinforcing and enlivening science teaching.

For the past 22 years, MILSET (International Movement for Leisure Activities in Science and Technology) has been working to group together these associations in order to develop synergies and opportunities for young people. It is high time that the added value of nonformal education was properly recognised and given the means to fulfil its Europe-wide role.

In fact it is high time to (re)discover science through a child’s eyes!

Antoine van Ruymbeke, President of MILSET EUROPE