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Irish project highlights science education needs – MEP Kelly

Published: Wed, 18 November 2015

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An Irish-led education project across 12 countries has demonstrated how teaching methods can be improved for secondary level science students, according to Seán Kelly MEP, host of a conference in the European Parliament, Brussels today (Wednesday).

Today’s event brings together educators from across 12 countries, including Ireland, to review the four year €3.7 million EU-funded SAILS project (Strategies for Assessment of Inquiry Learning in Science).

“Over 2,500 teachers have been involved in SAILS workshops and activities meaning that over 50,000 students in 12 countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden, Turkey and the UK) have already benefited.

“The next generation will require scientific skills and competencies in addition to being scientifically knowledgeable and informed. To meet this challenge, we need to implement the most effective curricula and teaching assessment strategies across Europe. The SAILS project is a brilliant example of how we can make improvements,” Mr Kelly, a former teacher said.

SAILS focuses on supporting the development of four inquiry skills: developing hypotheses, working collaboratively, forming coherent arguments, planning investigations as well as the competencies of scientific reasoning and scientific literacy.

“Science is a vital subject area for young people. As an EU priority, science and research is highly supported with funding of €80 billion allocated under Horizon 2020. Out of that fund, we hope Irish researchers will secure at least €1 billion,” Mr Kelly added.
Today’s speakers include Dr Odilla Finlayson, SAILS Project Coordinator at Dublin City University, Robert Clarke, a SAILS Teacher from Ireland and Dr Martina Roth, Director of Intel’s Global Education Strategy, Research and Policy.

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