The modern world is changing very rapidly. Year after year, new specializations appear, particularly in science and technology. The task of the education system is to train specialists for these professions. During a STEM Day online event, participants spoke about how Ukraine can train the next generation of technicians and inventors. The discussion was organized by the Ukrainian State Center for Extracurricular Education of the Ministry of Education and Science.
STEM education involves a comprehensive approach to learning. Children do not study individual subjects, but are taught to understand the world in a complex way, develop critical thinking, show creativity, and learn how to develop projects. According to Roman Hryshchuk, head of the Subcommittee on Life-long and Extracurricular Education of the Verkhovna Rada’s Committee on Education, Science and Innovation of the Verkhovna Rada, during wartime, the development of STEM is especially important, because the need for high-quality technical training is growing.
“It is broader than just education. It is a combination of creativity and technical knowledge that forms the person of the future,” Hryschuk explained, adding that it is these people of the future who will restore and develop Ukraine after victory.
Association Noosphere and the Noosphere Engineering School have considerable experience in STEM education. As Dr. Serhiy Veretiuk, head of the Noosphere Engineering School Network explains, ”our work is aimed not so much at systematic education as at creating the necessary conditions to enable a child to be interested in science, engineering, and technology.”
With events and competitions, Noosphere works to create a technological and engineering environment for children. The main focus is on model rocketry, VEX robotics, embedded systems, and drones.
“Our focus is project activity. What is creating a model rocket? Basically, rocketry involves physics, mathematics, chemistry, systemic thinking, and, most importantly, project-oriented thinking and soft skills. Children take responsibility, take initiative, work in a team, and ultimately present projects. Creating a robotic device is a project. And the most important thing is that social development takes place. Children understand that there is a leader, there is a developer, there is a project manager. This is as close as possible to the real world,” Veretiuk argues.
Project-based learning gives children the ability to master multi-stage challenges, experience victories and failures, and to analyze their mistakes. These are skills they will need for any job.
“Model rockets won’t fly right away. It is a difficult and thorny path. Children need to face challenges that are not so simple and see that failures happen. The main thing is not to give up, to keep trying, and to learn from mistakes,” Veretiuk says.
This type of learning helps children to develop initiative and leadership qualities.
“I have experience teaching at a university. 80% are sleepy students, and only 20% are motivated. This happens because, in most cases, it is parents who push their children to be there. We are trying to light that fire in students so that they understand why they need a university education and what knowledge they need to develop,” Veretiuk explains.
The goal of Noosphere Engineering School goes beyond providing knowledge and skills for future specialists.
Instead, Veretiuk says, “we striving areto create Ukraine’s cultivate new technical and engineering elite. We don’t want to create employees – we want to educate people who will be able to create and develop projects themselves.”
Noosphere Association has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Ukrainian State Center for Extracurricular Education. This means that Noosphere hasmany joint events ahead aimed at improving Ukrainian STEM education.