The second African European Mediterranean Academies for Science Education (AEMASE) Conference (AEMASE) was held in Dakar, Senegal from the 12th to the 13th of October 2015 with the kind hospitality of the Académie des Sciences et Téchniques du Sénégal (ANSTS). ALLEA participated in the Conference via its Working Group on Science Education.
AEMASE is an intercontinental initiative of science academies in the geographical African-European-Mediterranean (AEM) area, a region that shares strong and ancient political and scientific links. At the origin of the idea of AEMASE lies the strong desire of several national Academies to help improve formal and informal science education (SE) as part of their mission. The partner institutions involved in this initiative are the French, Italian, Moroccan and Senegalese national Academies and the Egyptian Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
The same AEMASE partner institutions, which organised the 1st AEMASE Conference at the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome in May 2014, have decided to hold alternating conferences in Europe and Africa. The second AEMASE Conference in October 2015 was therefore the logical continuation of the Rome Conference.
The President of the Conference was Prof. Ahmadou Lamine Ndiaye, President of the ANSTS. The International Scientific Committee responsible for organising the conference is constituted by Co-Chairs Prof. Ahmadou Wague from the ANSTS and Prof. Giancarlo Vecchio, Chairperson of the and representing the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. Further members include Prof. Odile Macchi (Académie des Sciences, France), Prof. Beno Csapo (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Prof. Mostapha Bousmina (Hassan II Académie des Sciences et Technologie, Morocco), Profs. Doudou Ba and Abdoulaye Samb (ANSTS), and Eng. Hoda El Mikaty (Bibliotheca Alexandrina).
The Conference was made possible thanks to the generous support of IAP, the ANSTS, the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, the Académie des Sciences, the Hassan II Academie des Sciences et Technologie of Morocco, and ALLEA.
The Conference gathered expert scientists on science education from many different countries including Senegal, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Morocco, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa, Tunisia, Italy, France, the UK, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Argentina and Sri Lanka. The Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) was represented by its Chair, Prof. Mostapha Bousmina, who also represented IAP. ALLEA was represented by the Chair of its Working Group on Science Education, Prof. Giancarlo Vecchio. The delegates discussed various topics related to Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE), Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Science–Based Citizenship (SBC).
The Conference was organised into six Sessions. On the first day following the Opening Ceremony, Session n° 2 was dedicated to “The Role of Science Education in Development and Global View on Science Education Programmes”, Session n° 3 was dedicated to “National and International Projects and Programmes in Science Education”, and Session n° 4 to “Methods, Materials and Resources for Teacher Training and School SE Experiments”. On the second day, Session n° 5 was dedicated to “Research in SE and Assessment Methods” and Session n° 6 to “E-learning and SE/WEB Connection between Schools”. Keynote speeches were given on the first day by Prof. Ahmadou Lamine Ndiaye, who spoke about science education in Africa, Prof. Odile Macchi, who discussed science education in Europe, and Prof. Norma Nudelman, whose speech focussed on science education in Latin America. On the second day, Prof. Faouzia Charfi gave a keynote lecture on “The Scientific Way of Thinking”.
The Conference was concluded in the afternoon of October 13th, when a full report on the Conference was prepared by the chairs, the moderators and the session reporters via a conclusive session in which the future of the AEMASE concept was discussed.
The Conference ended with the participants’ unanimous approval of the Dakar Declaration, which called on all countries in the AEM region to urgently implement and consolidate IBSE/STEM/SBC Education programmes and on Academies and Ministries of Education to re-elaborate science education programmes to include new ways of teaching and learning.
This report was kindly provided by ALLEA Working Group Science Education Chair Professor Giancarlo Vecchio.