Education policies across Europe highlight the importance of the role science education plays in ensuring citizens have the requisite knowledge and skills to enable them to become “informed critical consumers of scientific knowledge”, according to the OECD. Today, society faces numerous global challenges, including climate change, pandemics, pollution, malnourishment, and hunger. Science is embedded in these challenges and science education has a crucial role in ensuring our students – future decision makers – have the necessary knowledge and skills to make sense of these challenges and address them.
For the past thirty years or so the focus of science education throughout Europe is moving from an emphasis on teaching and assessing science content towards the development of students’ and citizens’ scientific literacy. This shift in science education is leading to an increase in the number of students leaving formal education with science qualifications and is starting to address the challenges in life-long learning.