A secondary school student in the laboratory of a well-known university - the STEM4youth project will make it possible

phot. BPI

The STEM4youth programme’s main goal is to show jobs available to STEM graduates and to illustrate how the development of such courses results in gains for the economy and society. That's why researchers from several EU countries, coordinated by scientists from the Warsaw University of Technology, are developing an e-learning platform and teaching materials, which will show that it pays to study the sciences.

Even though secondary school graduates are increasingly often opting for engineering studies, the lack of professionals in the sciences is a problem especially abroad. "Europe has neglected this area," says Przemysław Duda Ph.D., D.Sc. from the Faculty of Physics at the Warsaw University of Technology, the project's coordinator. "Engineering studies are difficult and young people see that they can earn good money studying simpler subjects."

At the same time, technological development translates into a rapid increase in demand for people with a STEM education. That's why the initiators decided to start an international project, including universities from the Czech Republic, Greece, Spain, Italy and Slovenia.

Taming physics

Only 9% of secondary school graduates decided to sit physics for the final exam in Poland in 2016. Physics is perceived as a very difficult subject and, what’s more, it's taught in an unattractive manner.

"Mostly, teachers don't have enough scientific equipment to perform experiments together with the students in the classroom," explains Katarzyna Hołownicka, who is evaluating the project. "When students visit our department and we show them a different experience, it often changes their view of physics." They see that physical phenomena have an impact on life, they can be linked and that it's really interesting.

Conduct an experiment in the University of Technology laboratory

STEM4youth is, in a way, a continuation of the e-fizyka (e-physics) project already implemented at the Warsaw University of Technology. Within this framework a free multimedia physics textbook for secondary schools was developed, as well as videos and animations demonstrating certain physics phenomena. Schools registered on the platform can also use a remote laboratory. They are able to control devices in the laboratory of the Faculty of Physics at the Warsaw University of Technology through the Internet and observe the results of the experiment via webcam.

"The laboratory holds actual equipment, which a student from anywhere in the world can use to do an experiment," explains Dr Duda. "They can control it and observe the effects. The device follows the student's orders and this is done automatically, without the involvement of third parties."

Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics 

"Classes" held on the STEM4youth platform will be conducted in a similar manner. It will feature learning materials in mathematics, physics, astronomy, chemistry, medicine, engineering and medicine. At the same time, these issues are intertwined, which will show you how one area affects another. Students will have access to: an e-book, games, multimedia, remote laboratories.

Each of the participating countries will prepare information in their national language and in English. The team from the Warsaw University of Technology will focus on preparing laboratories and materials for teaching physics, as well as developing the main e-learning platform.

Science knows no bounds

The e-learning platform developed as part of the STEM4youth programme will serve not only education, but also be used to conduct joint work by secondary school students from different countries.

"We are planning a competition for students," reveals Dr. Mirosław Brzozowy. "We want them to form international teams and solve set problems. In international corporations remote work is a standard, so we want to challenge them to this.”

The programme began on 1 May 2016 and is set to last 3 years. It will be open to secondary schools. All classes are going to be free of charge.


Monika Bukowska

Office for Promotion and Information