Ambassador: Cristina Balbás Martínez , Spain
Escuelab started in 2013 with the aim of promoting STEM sciences to school children. Escuelab’s goal is to promote a practical and interactive science education, promoting research vocations and developing tools of the future amongst Spanish students. This is achieved using workshops, extracurricular clubs and holiday camps with an innovative methodology based on the latest neuro-education research, and by providing scholarships for underprivileged children.
Data shows that scientific knowledge in Spain is amongst the lowest in Europe (BBVA Foundation, 2012). Many Spaniards are poorly equipped to actively participate in a society increasingly linked to STEM progress. And as Spain battles to improve its economic system, the current working population will not be able to meet the increasing demand for STEM professionals, estimated to grow by a factor of four compared to other sectors by 2020 (European Commission, 2012). Between 2003-2012 university students choosing STEM degrees went down by 5% (Eurostat, 2013). Students’ attitudes towards science are defined by age 14 and have already decided whether a scientific job is suitable for them by age nine. Therefore, Escuelab targets students in the last year of elementary school, providing them with engaging experiences with role models in the STEM field. To date nearly 3,500 students have received science career advice and 2,507 have received full scholarships.