No. 46




We need Young People Who Have Faith in Science

14 December 2022


RiTo No. 46, 2022

  • Hando Sutter

    Hando Sutter

    Chairman of the Board, AS Eesti Energia; Head of Working Group on Education, Estonian Employers’ Confederation; Leader of “Lae end” (“Charge Yourself”) programme

Today, an important role in economy is played by such sectors as energy, ICT, construction, industry, etc., that cannot function without an increase in the number of suitably educated young people. Without engineers, it will be impossible to achieve climate mitigation goals.

At the same time, employers and higher education institutions are watching with great concern the steady decline in interest in mathematics and physics among the next generation, as the education system fails to make sciences interesting for them.

According to the OSKA Education and Research Report, one in four physics teachers and one in five maths, chemistry, geography and biology teachers in Estonian schools are over 60 years old. When these teachers retire, it will be difficult to find replacements, as only ten percent of teachers in general education are under 30.

Tallinn University closed its master’s programme in physics in 2018 because in 2013 and 2014, one student started the studies, and after that, there were none.

Demand for workers is growing in renewable energy, environmental technologies, hydrogen production, waste management, ICT. The transition to a carbon-neutral economic model requires expertise in the implementation and development of green energy solutions. Implementing the principles of circular economy requires technical skills. There is also a growing demand for people who know how to analyse the ecological and social impact of companies.

The OSKA report also shows that the more successful companies and public authorities are in introducing digital technologies, the better we will be able to improve people’s lives and achieve the goals of national green and digital agenda.

I call on businesses, politicians and government agencies to make decisions that support science education in order to motivate young people to find challenges in learning science and building a career.

“Lae end” (“Charge Yourself”) programme

The programme was launched by ABB, LHV, Fermi Energia, Eesti Energia, Nordecon and Metrosert, and offers students an inspiring experience in learning physics, regardless of the teacher’s qualifications.

The programme will bring together the brightest development-minded teachers from Estonian schools, start-ups from the education landscape and representatives of the physics teachers community.

Based on the recommendations, ten teachers were selected for the programme. They will become role models and their stories will be used to reach other teachers and students.

Through the programme, teachers and education start-ups will create learning tools that can be used by all schools and teachers.

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