A survey by the Oxford University Press (OUP) of science teachers in 22 countries on their respective national science curricula found that fewer than half of the respondents (46%) believe that the science curriculum in their country prepared children for the future.
Only 31% of teachers surveyed said science education was fit for the future. In India however, 80% of respondents agreed that the curriculum enabled students to become scientifically literate and active citizens, as opposed to 59% in the U.K. and 67% in Hong Kong. Of the 398 teachers that responded in the report, 74 were from India.
Sivaramakrishnan Venkateswaran, Managing Director – Oxford University Press India said in a statement: “The study of science helps to fuel curiosity in young minds and makes them think about solutions to challenges in everyday life. Its relevance in a pandemic-afflicted world has only grown. It was important to sense check what science teachers felt about how their subject needed to evolve. We are delighted with the strong participation of science teachers from India in our survey and their belief that the current curriculum is helping students to become scientifically literate and active citizens.”
The research was undertaken alongside OUP’s active involvement in developing the science framework for the Programme for International Assessment (PISA) 2025, a global evaluation exercise to compare learning assessment of school-going children.
Teachers were asked to recommend ways in which science curricula could evolve to remain relevant. Their recommendations included:
Ensuring that science education prioritise practical skills through experimentation in the classroom, updating content regularly, increasing the connection between the science that was being taught in the classroom and what is happening in the world outside.
Teachers also requested a “rebalancing of exams” — away from the current focus on knowledge, towards assessing the application of science.
COVID-19, teachers said, had an impact on science teaching in the last year, in making them unable to perform practical experimentation in the classrooms.
The science teachers and educators were from the U.K., India, Hong Kong, Pakistan, the U.S., Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, U.A.E., Estonia, Greece, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, Portugal, Sweden and Thailand.