COVID-19 Pandemic – Time to speak about STEM education, sustainable development and conspiracies
Ovidiu Florin CALTUN, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania
Rolf HEMPELMANN, Transfercentre Sustainable Electrochemistry, Saarland University and KIST Europe, and LernortLabor – Bundesverband der Schülerlabore (Berlin) , Germany
Evangelos VITORATOS, Department of Physics, University of Patras, and Patras Museum of Science and Technology , Greece, Greece
International organizations and NGO’s drawn attention to the level of civic education which is essential to ensure a sustainable development. For most of the world's population the internet has become the main source of information. The latest global assessments known as PISA, TIMSS & PIRLS, PIAAC have shown that scientific and digital literacy are at scary low levels. Recent surveys demonstrate relatively large number of people doubt the aggressivity of the COVID – 19 virus, believe in conspiracy and manifest against vaccination. But sustainability and STEM education are essentially for all societies.
Pandemic with COVID-19 raised unprecedented problems and imposed physical distancing and lockdown of many economic activities. In modelling the virus outbreak and impact on nations’ life, epidemiologists work with various hypotheses; as input parameters for their models, however, they do not include the degree of literacy in reading, numeracy, scientific, digital or civic skills. In present worldwide pandemic crisis scientists and educators need to understand the correlations in between key competencies for life-long learning, education for sustainability and ability of the countries to handle a such sanitary crisis. The present contribution is an approach to this issue.
Based on the available data we will try to found correlations between youngsters’ literacies assessment and adults´ assessments and behaviour patterns in social practice. The STEM education of young people at schools induces, in long-term education aims, scientific, numeracy and digital literacy of adults. This implies a certain resilience of citizens against conspiracy theories which, of course among other reasons, substantially supports a countries capability to overcome a pandemic crisis like the present COVID-19 catastrophe.
?In many countries the youth education was moved in online and a greater challenge born. On a short-term, internet learning tools have to be developed in order to facilitate online learning; this is indispensable in the present critical situation, but it certainly will be also very helpful in the normal situation in the not-too-far-away future: The learning situation will not be the same as prior to the present crisis.
?All out-of-school educational stakeholders must become more actively involved in the development of internet learning tools. Associations of educators and non-governmental organizations representing various cultural groups, as well as popular structures of informal education, such as Science Centres or Science Museums, could equally contribute, by language adaption (translation) and by cultural adaptation of these online resources, in order to better address educationally disadvantaged young people.