In early November school principals and science teachers representing 341 schools of the German Excellence Schools Network MINT-EC met at Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU) for advanced training and vision for their future work.
The conference offered interesting expert keynotes, exciting presentations and over 30 workshops on school management, STEM teaching and networking.
Highlights of the event included the acceptance of four new schools with outstanding STEM profiles into the network, the presentation of new subject clusters for specialist teachers and the determination of the winners of the MINT-EC school competition of the Dr. Hans Riegel Foundation on the topic of "Climate change in and at school." An education market with booths from German companies and universities, as well as presentations on concepts and exciting projects from MINT-EC schools rounded off the two-day program. The Makeathon project, which was developed in collaboration between the GISW and Gymnasium Höchstadt in Bavaria, was very popular and attracted great interest from visitors. Incidentally, the original idea for this collaboration was also developed at a network school management conference in 2019!
In her speech, Brandenburg's Education Secretary Claudia Zinke explained: "STEM education helps to shape young people's understanding of the world, train analytical skills and solve problems in a results-oriented manner. ... The high professional quality standards of MINT-EC with its exemplary didactic concepts in the school network open up excellent career prospects for many young people through training and studies."
Dr. Klaus Höschler, Professor of Engineering from BTU spoke on the topic of "Just interested or already enthusiastic - how STEM highschoolers can become STEM university students." Other speakers emphasized the persistent shortage of skilled workers in the STEM sector, which is also felt outside of Germany, and underlined the importance of better networking among schools, educational institutions and commercial enterprises. STEM education is often associated with great financial expense, which is why support from business and industry must also be improved.
With its extensive STEM programs, the GISW is on the right track here. The Makeathon project will be featured under the heading "Sustainability and Technology - Awakening the Entrepreneurial Spirit in School Lessons" in the MINT-EC publication series at the end of the year.