EPCA wants to increase the chemical sector’s attractiveness to young people and therefore decided to foster better links between the chemical industry and educational establishments. In this context EPCA concluded a partnership with European Schoolnet (EUN) – a network of 30 Ministries of Education in Europe and beyond. The objective of this partnership is to promote chemistry as a field of study among students aged 12 to 16.
Based on its pedagogical expertise of inquiry-based science education methods, European Schoolnet developed guidelines that show teachers how they can integrate societal aspects in chemistry education and concrete applications of the discipline in the school programme. The guidelines propose an innovative and multi-disciplinary approach to chemistry teaching and will confront youngsters early on in their chemistry education with real life cases (http://chemistryallaboutyou.eun.org).
A further tool to illustrate chemistry’s link to real life is the film “Chemistry : All About You” – developed and produced by EPCA, together with UNESCO and IUPAC. With the help of EUN, EPCA will further disseminate the film in schools in 11 European countries (Belgium, Croatia, France, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, UK, Spain, Switzerland and Norway). The film explains how chemistry provides the global population with access, in a sustainable way, to drinking water, food, clothing, health and health care, energy- and emission-friendly building, transport, communication and education.
Moreover, EPCA already organized a students’ workshop on the occasion of its Annual Meeting in October 2011: EPCA invited 14 award winning students in chemistry and related fields from all over the world to join representatives of the chemical industry. The workshop opened new horizons for their careers as the students understood that they could enjoy wide-ranging and varied careers in the chemical sector.
Both initiatives underline EPCA’s commitment to raise the profile of the chemical industry among the general public and more specifically among youngsters. They create a bridge between the chemical industry and the educational world helping youngsters to potentially prepare for a future in chemistry.