ESA’s new ESERO office in Spain was formally inaugurated today in Granada. Hosted at Parque de las Ciencias, ESERO Spain joins the existing ESA ESERO network, which, for over a decade, has acted Europe-wide in support of national school education systems with innovative science teaching and learning strategies that use space as a context.
ESERO is an ESA education initiative providing qualified teacher training and dedicated curricular classroom resources and activities, using space to enable Spanish primary and secondary school teachers to inspire their pupils in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), trigger their natural interest and curiosity about the world around them, stimulate the acquisition of scientific know-how and methodology, and help them develop the critical thinking they need to master their own future.
Led by Parque de las Ciencias, Granada, and born under the solicitation and the endorsement of the Spanish Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad, through the Secretaría General de Industria and CDTI (Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial), ESERO Spain is the result of a collaboration between ESA (through its Education Office) and several Spanish institutional authorities across the country: the Junta de Andalucía, the Generalitat Valenciana, the Comunidad de Madrid, the Foundation Centro Astronómico Aragonés, the Generalitat de Cataluña, the Junta de Galicia, the Gobierno del Principado de Asturias, and the Gobierno de Canarias.
The ESERO Spain network of partners will guarantee national coverage while addressing regional curricular and linguistic differences. In its coordinating role, Parque de las Ciencias will make use of its long-lasting experience in the field of science education, and of its access to vast networks of educators, to contribute to the success of the project.
The President of the Junta de Andalucía, Susana Díaz , the General Secretary for Science and Innovation, Juan María Vázquez, the Mayor of Granada, Francisco Cuenca, ESA’s Director of Science, Álvaro Giménez, and the ESA Chief Strategy Officer, Kai-Uwe Schrogl, having overall responsibility for the ESA Education programme, participated in the inauguration event that was chaired by Ernesto Páramo (Director of Parque de las Ciencias) at the presence of more than 100 representatives from Spanish partner governmental institutions.
The President of the Junta de Andalucía, Susana Díaz, confirmed today the institutional support to the ESERO project given its strong educational character and for its high potential “to help young people to link their future professional career to the always evolving field of science and technology.”
“Education is the key to build and nurture a qualified workforce, which is able to address the future challenges of our technology-based society”, said Juan María Vázquez, General Secretary for Science and Innovation at the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness. “This is why, for the Spanish government, the ESERO project represents an effective way to contribute upstream to the advancement of research and innovation in our country and to maintain the high level achieved by the Spanish space sector with the continuous support of CDTI”.
“At ESA, we see that the effectiveness of using the space context in education is very high”, said Alvaro Gimenez, ESA Director of Science, representing ESA’s Director General at the event. “Space is extremely inspirational, and all STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects taught at school can be linked to space activities. We see that using space in the context of education actually sparks pupils’ enthusiasm to pursue STEM studies and careers”, he continued. “Space is also part of the daily lives of citizens and it is important that they understand that from an early age”.
“Through solid national partnerships and a bottom-up approach, ESERO is able to respond to the specific needs of each ESA Member State in the field of primary and secondary school education,” said Kai-Uwe Schrogl, ESA Chief Strategy Officer with overall responsibility for the ESA Education programme. “Each ESERO is also part of a strong European network coordinated by ESA, where the grand objectives are shared, but the activities are tailored to the national needs, and where best practices and resources are exchanged. This is the key to the success of this project”, he added.
“Last but not least, the ESERO project is a remarkable example of the multiple range of tangible benefits space can provide to citizens - a highly visible footprint left by ESA in its Member States and an exceptionally valuable return of investment to society,” Kai-Uwe Schrogl concluded.
With the launch of ESERO Spain, 14 ESA Member States are covered by the project to date: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain Sweden, and the UK. Germany and Italy will join the ESERO network soon, while preparation is on going in Luxemburg, Hungary and Greece.
ESERO is ESA’s flagship educational project in support of formal STEM education in European primary and secondary schools. Through offices established nationally, and an offer tailored to the national language and school curricula, ESERO trains teachers so that they can use space in the classroom and make their lessons more inspiring and effective. ESERO also offers a great variety of information, classroom material, school projects, and privileged access to ESA’s state-of-the-art space facilities, real scientific data, know-how, expertise, and role models.
Modern societies strongly rely on the availability of advanced knowledge, innovation, and continuously evolving technology for the efficient functioning of their economies. One of Europe’s highest priorities – supported and shared by ESA - is therefore to reinforce education, in particular related to STEM fields, to guarantee its own future competitiveness.
The ESERO project started in 2006, with the establishment of the first national office in the Netherlands.
The ESERO network has trained 10 000 teachers and reached approximately 300 000 pupils in Europe during 2016.