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, from climate change, pollution to 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 and address them.
For the past thirty years or so the focus of science education throughout Europe has moved from an emphasis on teaching and assessing science content towards the development of students’ scientific literacy. This shift in science education has led to an increase in the number of students leaving formal education with science qualifications. However, this increase has not been reflected in the numbers pursing science-related careers. Europe faces a dearth of science – knowledgeable experts at all levels of society and the economy, as recent EU surveys show.