Scientix | Future of STEM | #20 Evarist Bartolo, Minister of Education and Employment, Malta

I think today as the planet becomes even smaller
and smaller and our education is becoming more globalised, that this will not become a top down exercise. Because all our realities are different. All our realities are quite complex. And for education to make sense and to be meaningful, it must rise out of its own ecosystem according to the different realities in which we live. I think that the marvelous thing about Scientix is that it is exactly not top down. It is getting people together and showing what they are doing. And there is a lot of practical wisdom in what our teachers are do everyday in their lives. To get people from different countries to work together,
to share their problems, to share their solutions, to share what they are doing is a very, very
good programme that needs to be supported. And I hope that in the new budget now, the
European Commission says it has found money. So if it has found so much money for people
to discover countries, it should find money for programmes like Scientix so that they
can discover more about life, about what is going on around them, understand the problems that exist and try to find solutions for them. STEM is important for life. If STEM for us means the culture of discovery, the culture of asking, the culture of doubt, the
culture of uncertainty, the mystery of life and how to discover more about how
life works, we need to make sure that the way we teach it, the way we assess it and
the syllabuses we have in schools, are relevant for what happens in life and in employment.
If we want our education to be healthy, that what happens in school is relevant, that our young people are really enjoying it, they have to see that it is meaningful, that it makes sense. We might teach them how to pass exams, how to pass a test, but would that be what we want to? Or do we want them to be cultivated and educated in a way that they enjoy science, they enjoy technology, they enjoy engineering, they enjoy maths? And for
that to happen, there must be a collaboration between what happens in schools, what happens
at work and what happens in society. Real education is about asking, learning to learn
and keep asking questions. And actually, we have had some of the greatest scientists who have failed formal education. Either left school early or were so bored with what was happening at their schools that they dropped out and then started studying
again later on. So I think one of the biggest challenges is this. Not to make formal schooling
so boring that it kills the joy of discovery and also not to punish mistakes, and not to
punish failure and not to punish doubt. It is very important that we don‘t see STEM in isolation from education. If you are going to have a good education, you are going to have a good STEM education. If you have a poor education, you are going to have a poor STEM education.

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