Brussels, 07 Feb 2003
The Commission is funding a two year initiative to create an ongoing training programme for biology teachers and scientists, and to develop, archive and distribute the best available teaching resources throughout Europe.
The project is entitled 'continuing education for European biology teachers', and will be coordinated by the European molecular biology organisation (EMBO) in cooperation with the European molecular biology laboratory and the European federation of biotechnology.
The initiative will receive 710,000 euro under the quality of life and management of living resources section of the Fifth Framework Programme.
A core element of the project is the organisation of one international and eight national teacher workshops, during which training materials and teaching resources will be developed and disseminated. The national workshops will be held in Hamburg, Copenhagen, Madrid, Prague, Hinxton, Warsaw, Szeged and Jerusalem, and the series will start with an international event in Heidelberg aimed at increasing European cooperation and exchange.
'Improving the training opportunities for teachers is critical, and should occur increasingly at international level because of the vast benefits that can be gained by an exchange of experience and best practice between nations,' says Andrew Moore, EMBO science and society programme manager. 'As Europe becomes increasingly integrated at a scientific and economic level, it also has to become more integrated at the educational level [...].'
The collaboration aims to create a training programme that will bring teachers into laboratories for hands-on activities with qualified scientists in order to develop new assets for biology teaching. A dedicated facility will be established at the EMBL in Heidelberg for this purpose.
The project will also result in an online resource centre and archive that offers practical classroom materials to teachers and students. On top of this, the resource centre will also address current ethical and social issues connected with the impact on society of advances in science, and suggest how these topics can be introduced into a classroom setting.
'We believe this initiative will contribute significantly towards establishing a pan-European platform that will raise the standards of biology education through the exchange of best practice and the latest media aids. It will also strengthen collaborations between schools, scientists and companies to develop new teaching resources for science,' added Mr Moore.
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