Opening of Europe’s first space education resource office
The first European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO) was opened at NEMO, the National Science and Technology Centre (NCWT) in Amsterdam on Monday 10 April.
This important pilot project, which will pave the way for similar offices in other ESA Member States, was officially opened by Mrs Maria van der Hoeven, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Mr René Oosterlinck, ESA Director of External Relations, and Prof. Dr Annemieke Roobeek, the President of the NCWT.
Also present were Michiel Buchel, Director General of the NEMO science centre, the Dutch ESA astronaut, Andre Kuipers, Mrs Michele Bond, the US Consul General to the Netherlands and four students representing the first schools to take part in the DELTA Researcher Schools Programme, a collaboration between ESA, NASA and the Dutch Ministry of Education.
“From the beginning, ESA recognised education as one of its tasks, and in the last few years it has really got off the ground,” commented Mrs van der Hoeven. “It is a good thing that ESA has taken the initiative of establishing the ESEROs in all ESA Member States.
“Its educational activities (in the Netherlands) will be coordinated from these offices and special syllabuses will be developed to promote knowledge of science in schools, linked, of course, to space exploration. Teachers who would like to use space exploration in their lessons can also come to the ESERO directly for information and advice.
“I really do hope that many of our teachers will use this possibility.”
Mr René Oosterlinck explained how there has been a lack of young people applying for courses and jobs in science, engineering and technology during the last 15 years. ESA is very eager to change this situation, but the Agency cannot do it alone.
“We need to do this at national level,” he said. “We need to establish a link between the national education systems and ESA, so we have decided to create this ESERO principle. The Netherlands was the first to make a proposal. Spain and Belgium will be next.
“These three countries will be pilot cases and we will see how it works and what can be done. I’m very optimistic that it will become a success.”
“By having the first ESERO here, we think we can attract teachers to know more about what it takes to stimulate children, but also to attract more children and students to experience what’s important for them in space,” said Prof. Dr. Annemieke Roobeek. “We are particularly proud that we can accommodate the ESERO here.”
During the launch event, the Minister and other guests were able to enjoy a tour of the new centre on the top floor of NEMO. Other highlights included the announcement of the publication of the new ESA International Space Station (ISS) Education Kit for Primary Schools, and the start of the second phase of the ESA-NASA-Dutch Ministry of Education initiative known as the DELTA Project.