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Majority teachers do not believe science education is fit for future

Majority teachers do not believe science education is fit for future

July 16, 2021

Fewer than half of the respondents (46%) who took part in The Evolution of Science Education survey by Oxford University Press believe that the science curriculum in their country prepares children for the challenges our world will face in the future. Only 31% of teachers surveyed believe that science education in their country is fit for the future, according to a report published by Oxford University Press, the world’s largest university press.

The Evolution of Science Education includes insights from 398 teachers in *22 countries and regions—with most respondents from the United Kingdom (44%) and India (19%). While there are local nuances, there are also notable consistencies in key areas such as the science curriculum’s relevance in the future and how well it prepares pupils to navigate and address challenges the world will face, such as climate change and the evolving role of technology.

Sivaramakrishnan Venkateswaran, Managing Director – Oxford University Press India said, “The study of science helps to fuel curiosity in young minds and makes them think about solutions to challenges in everyday life. Its relevance in a pandemic-afflicted world has only grown. It was important to sense check what science teachers felt about how their subject needed to evolve. We are delighted with the strong
participation of science teachers from India in our survey and their belief that the current curriculum is helping students to become scientifically literate and active citizens.”

The research was undertaken alongside OUP’s active involvement in developing the science framework for the Programme for International Assessment (PISA) 2025. Teachers were asked to recommend ways Embargoed until 00.01am BST (04:31 am IST), Wednesday 14 July in which science curricula might evolve in order to remain relevant to today’s world, and that of tomorrow. Their recommendations included:

  • Science education should continue to prioritize practical skills through experimentation in the classroom.
  • Content needs to be up-to-date and prepare learners for the future.
  • There is a need for a greater connection between the science that is being taught in the classroom and what is happening in the world outside.
  • Teachers requested a rebalancing of exams – away from the current focus on knowledge, towards assessing the application of science.

The paper highlights numerous other issues that have been brought to light by the pandemic and need to be resolved.

Teachers surveyed believe the core purpose of science education should be inspiring learners to engage with science, teaching underpinning scientific concepts, teaching skills to enable effective experimentation, and helping learners to achieve a range of desirable outcomes through science. To ensure science education evolves and remains relevant in the future, teachers believe there should be more focus on climate change as well as tackling fake news and adapting faster to technological and societal change.

You can view the report here.

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