Programme on Science and Education 2001 - 2007

An outline of previous activities organized by IAP member academies under the IAP programme on science education (2001-2007)

Activities in 2007:

- The Programme carried our many activities at a regional level. These included an international conference on science education in Asia and the Pacific, 28-29 November 2007, in Bangkok, hosted by the Thailand Academy of Science and Technology (TAST). Two regional networks of academies, FASAS and AASA, organized a special session on the IAP science educatiohn programme. The objectives of this special session were to promote the participation and collaboration of national science academies in the Asia Pacific region in science education, and to generate a regional programme to integrate with other regional activities already operating in Africa and the Americas.

- The second meeting of the Evaluation of IBSE International Oversight Committee (IOC) took place in London on 22 October, hosted by The Royal Society. The Committee reviewed areas of cooperation and joint activity in the IAP programme including global activities and the evaluation project. Mention was made of the various networks carrying out activities at a regional level, including IANAS which had recently held a meeting of focal points. For more information on the meeting, contact:
- IANAS - InterAmerican Network of Academies of Sciences: The IANAS Science Education Program held the IV Meeting of its National Focal Points in Mexico City on July 2-3, 2007. Key issues in the agenda were the discussion of the IANAS/OAS Science Education project, the national science education activities developed by the Academies in 2007 and the proposed action for 2008. For more information, see:

 Activities in 2006:

- The IAP Working Group on International Collaboration in the Evaluation of Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) programs has released a Report building on the discussions of the international workshop on “Evaluation of Inquiry-Based Science Education” convened by IAP in Stockholm in September 2005. At its first meeting in Washington, on 16-17 March 2006, the Working Group members and observers planned and began work on the preparation of a proposal for an International Platform that could provide assistance in the evaluation and comparison of the kinds of practices and student-learning outcomes that characterize the classrooms where Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) projects and programmes are carried out in different countries of the world.

-  The second Focal Point Meeting for the IAP-NASAC Regional Science Education Program of Africa was successfully organized on 11-12 December 2006 in Nairobi, Kenya. Twelve academies from Africa were represented.  Participating academies were expected to develop proposals for activites to be undertaken under the Regional programme for the Teaching of Science and Technology (S&T) that was launched at an IAP-NASAC symposium held in Dakar, Senegal in March 2005. The NASAC intended to use the opportunity to showcase specific activites to improve teaching of science done by individual member academies, such as the Senegalese and Ugandan national academies.

Beside African science academies belonging to the NASAC network, participation included also Academies from outside Africa with a view to provide networking opportunities. These included among others: the Inter-Academy Network of Academy of Science (IANAS), the National Academy of Chile, the US National Academy of Sciences (US NAS), the Academy of Science of France, the US National Science Resource Center (US NSRC) and the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).

- Regional Africa meeting on Science Teacher Accreditation, organized by ASSAf (Academy of Science of South Africa), Pretoria, 23-24 March 2006. The Meeting was sponsored by the IAP and ASSAf. Seven countries were represented: Uganda, Ghana, Senegal, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Kenya.
The main objective of the workshop was to find ways to ensure that teachers have the necessary content knowledge to teach science competently. The first step was to concentrate on senior schooling, viz. Grade 10-12 examinations. In order to accomplish the objective, it was important to understand and know what the most frequent factors were preventing/prolonging the attainment of the set objectives. In the respective countries, situations such as: the learner's background, the syllabus covered, the type of school, language barriers, and ineffective teaching methods were found to be the main factors. All these had an impact on the level of understanding of learners, and also on how quickly they learned. Another matter that was highlighted was whether to require/induce teachers to write content knowledge tests/exams (this issue is currently under debate in South Africa). It was agreed that a lot more has to be done in regard to the teaching of science, and that existing policies needed to be changed regarding science teaching in Africa as a whole. The Science Educators agreed that the African countries could work together on this, but they also acknowledged that this will be a massive task.

Activities in 2005:

Inquiry Based Science Education: A large number of countries have ongoing Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) Projects in primary schools. Many other countries have groups of scientists and educators that are seriously considering to initiate similar projects.
The Academies of Sciences of the World, represented by the Inter Academy Panel on International Issues (IAP) have selected the problem of the improvement of the quality and pertinence of Science Education as one of the priority issues in which they can work in close collaboration with each other. This decision has resulted in the establishment of an IAP Program on Science Education. This program is undertaking the generation of regional efforts in the Americas, Africa and Asia to stimulate collaboration among the Academies of each region. These regional efforts are concentrating on the application of the IBSE methodology as a way of raising the quality and the meaning of science education.
At the global level, the IAP Program of Science Education has decided to address the problem of evaluation of IBSE projects and to explore the possibility of the establishment of an international instrument that would provide assistance to those projects that would like to undergo evaluation and that fulfil the minimum requirements to implement such an evaluation exercise.
As an activity to discuss this topic the IAP Science Education Program, a Workshop on Evaluation of Inquiry-Based Science Education Programmes was convened. This workshop which included 60 participants from different countries met in Stockholm, from 21-23 September 2005. See links to:



List of participants

Copies of presentations are available from the IAP Secretariat. For information on the programme, contact Professor J. Allende, Coordinator: email:

Other Activities in 2005:

- IAP and the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) organized a regional symposium on the teaching of science and technology in Africa. The symposium, hosted by the Senegalese Academy of Sciences, took place in Dakar on 10-11 March. Representatives of science academies in Cameroon, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda were present; so, too, was Senegal's Minister of Science and Technology. The agenda to which participants agreed included:

- Two workshops on inquiry-based methodology and teaching for countries in Africa: (1) in Anglo-phone countries sponsored by the Uganda National Academy of Sciences, Smithsonian Institution and the US National Academy of Sciences to be held in Uganda in September 2005 and (2) in Francophone countries to be organized by the Madagascar Academy of Sciences with support from the French Academy of Sciences and La Main à la Pâte, that will be held in early 2006 in Madagascar.

- The Academies of the Americas integrated by the Inter American Network of Academies of Sciences (IANAS) held their Second Meeting of Focal Points for Science Education in Edmonton, Canada on September 26-27, 2005. Full details of this meeting with the participatns, programme and conclusions can be obtained from:

- A meeting to establish a regional qualification process for science teachers. The meeting, which is scheduled to take place in March 2006, will be organized by the Academy of Science in South Africa. 
For additional information, contact:


The objective of this programme is to mobilize the academies of science of the world to improve science education through the introduction of inquiry-based methodology and the collaboration of scientists, teachers and educational authorities.
The strategy drawn up is to organize the work of the academies in regional consortia that plan and implement joint activities and facilitate the generation of new national projects of inquiry-based science education in which the respective academies participate.
At the global level, regional selected coordinators will meet to plan inter-regional cooperation and to organize a virtual global forum on science education through the website of the IAP.
Actions to implemented during 2004 are: fund-raising activities; organizational and initial activities.

- InterAmerican Network of Academies of Sciences (IANAS), created in May 2004 under the IAP programme on capacity building for academies, has also launched a programme on science education for the Latin American region. Members of IANAS include science academies in both Latin America and the US and Canada. For more details on the planned activities, see the IANAS home page (via "capacity building for academies").

- The International Council for Science (ICSU) and IAP web portal "Teaching Science" has been officially launched. The portal is a joint ICSU-IAP project. It was produced by a team from the French "La main à la pâte" group and developed out of an initiative by ICSU's former Committee on Capacity Building in Science (CCBS) to provide a single comprehensive source of information on primary school science education across the world. It includes information on education systems and 'hands on' science education programmes from many countries and should be of interest to all those interested in the policy aspects and implementation of science education.
For more on the release, see:
which includes a direct link to the science education portal in English, French and Spanish.


- Asean La Main a la Pate (LAMAP) Workshop on Science Education took place from 15-17 September 2003. The event, co-organized by the French Academy of Sciences and the Akademi Sains Malaysia, was held in Kuala Lumpur. The workshop demonstrated that the French programme LAMAP with its well developed website is by far the most advanced national programme on science education. It is being adopted by many countries, notably China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia. For a detailed brochure, click here, or contact the local organizer via email:

- A Science And Mathematics Education For The 21st Century conference was held from 20-23 June 2003 at The Library of Alexandria, Egypt. For information on the conference, contact: Mrs. Hanan Abdelrazek, email:

The programme is available here.

- 2nd International Conference on K-12 Science Education held in Monterrey from 11 - 13 May 2003. IAP members involved in the initiative included the Academia Chilena de Ciencias, ACAL (Academia de Ciencias de América Latina), US National Academy of Sciences and the Academía Mexicana de Ciencias. More information can be obtained directly from the US-Mexico Foundation for Science. Contact: Y. Sierra (

Links to:
Final Report
Programme Announcement

- ICSU has released the Science Education and Capacity Building Report, no. 5 in the WSSD Series for Sustainable Development. The report can be downloaded from the ICSU Library at or by contacting the IAP secretariat.


- The French Academy of Sciences has agreed to take the lead in coordinating an ICSU-CCBS (Committee on Capacity Building in Science) proposal to launch a website dedicated to science education initiatives worldwide. The site will be designed for teachers, scientists and policy makers. A prototype of the portal will be presented at the ICSU-CCBS International Conference on Science and Mathematics Education in Rio de Janeiro in September 2002. For more information, contact the French Academy of Sciences (email: For information on CCBS and its science education activities, see

- Asian Regional Seminar on Science Education was organized by the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) as part of the IAP science education programme to focus on issues related to science teaching and learning at schools. The seminar was held from 24 - 25 October, 2002 in New Delhi. Participants shared experiences in science teaching/learning and methodological and experimental models, curriculum development, testing and evaluation, science talent search and popularization of science. The meeting also gave an opportunity to understand the problems faced in other regions of the world and decide on the core message of science to be imparted to make this region scientifically literate. Links to:
Detailed report (downloads a word document)

- The French Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Ministry of Education have launched an exchange programme based on the French La Main à la Pâte and Chinese Learning by Doing initiatives. Meetings have been organized both in France and in China. In April 2002, a French delegation paid a 3-week visit to schools in Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai, to exchange ideas and lay the ground work for additional collaboration. For more information, contact the French Academy of Sciences at the above email address, or visit the official website available in a number of languages at:

- A report has been made available by the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) on the results of a seminar organized in New Delhi on 16-17 May on Science Education: trends and future initiatives. See here for more.
List of Participants, 16-17 May 2002.


Some 300 teachers attended the International Conference on Primary and Secondary School Science and Mathematics Education, organized by the Akademi Sains Malaysia. The conference took place in Kuala Lumpur from 21-24 October 2001. The Malaysian Minister of Education and Minister of Science, Technology and Environment participated in the event. For a short summary on the meeting, click here.

An international activity - "International Working Conference of Science Academies: opportunity for the international scientific and engineering communities to work together to address the critical challenges for science education in schools", was held in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, 10-12 September 2001. The US-Mexico Foundation for Science, the Mexican Academy of Sciences and the government of the State of Nuevo Leon organized the Conference on Research Related to Science Education with the support of the US National Academy of Sciences and in close collaboration with the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), IAP and the Latin American Academy of Sciences.
The conference provided the opportunity for the scientific and engineering communities to work together to address critical challenges of science education in schools and to focus on the role of these communities in understanding and promoting effective science education reform.
IAP co-chair, Professor Quéré, was among the speakers from all over the world who agreed on the importance of a respectful and productive collaboration between science and technology communities and educators in order to develop an agreeable scientific and pedagogical curriculum coupled with improved material support. Professor Quéré remarked on the importance of the science academies participating in education because: 1) they provide a more stable platform that guarantees continuity in science-teaching programmes which transcends political changes, 2) they allow a more direct and cordial link among scientists and educators, and 3) they support research and development projects in science education with the seal of excellence that accompanies these academies.
For a detailed analysis, click here. More background information is available in the Conference outline and agenda (English); Introduccion y programa (Spanish).

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