7th International Seminar on Science in School, by La main a la pate June 6-12, 2016, Sevres-Paris, France
7th International Seminar on Science in School based on Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) approach was held in Paris-France from 6-12 June 2016. The Seminar was organized by La main a la pate (LAMAP) Foundation of France. The seminar has been organized annually since 2010. On the invitation of the organizers, the undersigned also attended the seminar along with other 40 participants from 22 different countries (25 men and 16 women) including 4 participants from two ECO countries (Pakistan and Turkey) attended the seminar. Objectives of the seminar were:
- To share and transfer expertise gathered by the LAMAP towards, educational systems and scientific partners abroad.
- To provide foreign participants with some insights into the inquiry based science education approach and its implementation in the educational system.
- To share free methodology and scientific resources elaborated in France.
- To make possible an intercultural adaptation of the approach and contents proposed by LAMAP.
- To foster international cooperation between the foreign partners of LAMAP.
The seminar was opened by Dr. M. Daniel ROUN, President of LAMAP at the Headquarters of the Institute de France on 6 June 2016. He welcomed all the guests and wished a great experience ahead. During the opening session, Madame Pascale COSSART, Secretary of the Institute made a presentation and briefed about the history of the Institute which was established in 1795. The Institute has five Academies (Academy of Science, Academy of Fine Arts, Academy of Humanities, Academy of French Language and Academy of Moral and Political Sciences), two Divisions and five Missions which are actively contributing to the society locally and internationally.
Later on, Ms. Anne Lejeune of LAMAP presented the brief history of her Foundation. She said in her presentation that the La main a la pate programme was launched in 1996 by George Charpak (1992 Physics Note prize Laureate), Pierre Lena and Yeves Quere with the support of the French Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Education of France and became a Foundation in 2012. Since then, the scientific activities grew slowly and gradually in France and other countries of the world. The LAMAP has 40 countries in the network and partnership with many countries in the world and pursues and develops the activated carried out in France and rest of the world.
The education is global issue going beyond national boundaries which can be strengthen by exchange and international cooperation. In realization of the importance of science education and demand by the international partners,
After the opening session, the presentation regarding teaching was made and a hands-on scientific activity was also carried out by formulating different groups.
On the second day of the seminar, the participants were taken to visit the school system run on Inquiry Based Science Education approach of La main a la pate Foundation in a suburb of Paris, named Chatenay Malabry. The participants experienced the live classes where science education was taught through inquiry. The performance and interest in science of the pupils was also witnessed which was exemplary.
Later on, the participants were guided to visit Pilot Centre fully equipped with scientific materials established by the LAMAP with the support of local administration. The Pilot Centre facilitates local primary schools of the area with the scientific techniques to be taught to the pupils and provide scientific materials to the schools for conducting scientific activities. It was informed by the management that the Pilot Centre of Chatenay was established in 2007 and there are 20 Pilot Centre of same kind in whole France established by LAMAP. The Pilot Centres help schools to establish scientific laboratories and train the teachers with the support of local administration. The teachers can borrow scientific material from the Centre to conduct any scientific activity in the school.
During the whole period of the seminar, a range of presentations, group discussions, exercises were performed, focusing on the inquiry based science education (IBSE) in schools. It was learnt that IBSE is an approach to teaching and learning science that comes from an understanding of how students learn the nature of science inquiry. The IBSE draws heavily from experience and research that is providing a clearer understanding about how students learn science. A well thought framework of science inquiry prepared by LAMAP was also studied which covers six main phases i.e. Discuss, Debate, Cooperate, Record, Reflect and Share.
The LAMAP management also shared that the focus of science education has been broaden from primary education to secondary. For this purpose, a three year project has been launched by establishing the Houses of Science. The House of Science is similar as Pilot Centre but having advanced scientific facilities/equipment for the students of Secondary level.
A poster presentation on IBSE was also arranged and one poster of each country was displayed. ECOSF also prepared and displayed a poster covering the activities on IBSE and future plans.
The science is a key for development and prosperity. The nations such as Europeans, USA, Japan, etc. who realized the importance of science and formulated a comprehensive plan to learn and implement it in their societies well in time, are enjoying a prosperous life and called the developed world. In recent times, we have also examples of China, Korea, Malaysia, Brazil, etc., who also followed the developed world by adopting science culture, have a significant change in their societies.
All ECO countries are developing countries, thus, there is a dire need of developing science culture in the ECO Region. The science culture can be developed through implanting Inquiry Based Science Education in the schools of ECO countries. Although, Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) is a long term approach but it is a result oriented approach. ECOSF being a science, technology and innovation promoter can facilitate with the support of its international partners such as LAMAP, ISTIC, IAP-SEP, etc to its member countries by adopting IBSE in their schools so that a strong science culture can be developed in ECO region to compete other nations of the world.