The European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO) in Greece was officially launched on 29 November 2021. ESERO Greece will be led by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and joins the growing network of ESA ESERO offices, currently operational in 19 other ESA Member States.
ESERO Greece is part of the ESERO network, ESA’s flagship project in support of school education in Europe. The project uses the inspirational power of space, and the immense wealth of knowledge and competences generated by it, to boost the teaching and learning of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines at large.
ESERO Greece was inaugurated during a dedicated launch event hosted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki with the participation of Maria Antoniou, Head of Prime Minister’s Office in Thessaloniki and Athanasios Staveris-Polykalas, Secretary General of Telecommunications & Posts at Government of the Hellenic Republic, Ministry of Digital Governance, and Gunther Hasinger, ESA Director of Science.
“ESERO Greece is a long-term educational project that, by starting with the education of the youngest generation, is set to respond upstream to the growing demand of Greek’s society and economy for qualified specialists and professionals in the STEM sectors, space in particular” said Maria Antoniou. “This is especially important at a historical moment of rapid societal and economic transformation and pressing global challenges, such as climate change, which call for innovation and rapid responses more than ever. The space sector is able to provide such responses to society, also by means of education.”
“We have started our journey in space activities on a step by step approach, with the motto Space as an enabler for Digital Transformation,” said Athanasios Staveris-Polykalas. “We are being pragmatic in our choices and aspirations, while capitalising on the new space era. In order to achieve our ambitions for a sustainable future we need to prepare the next generation, not only university students but also those that are in primary and secondary education today.”
“ESERO is a fundamental component of the ESA Education Programme which always accompanies, contributes to, and benefits from, ESA’s strategic vision for Europe in space,” said Gunther Hasinger. “For many years this vision has built on the key role of space in our daily lives, for society and for humankind. Space is a strong societal and economic driver and enabler, and a large part of contemporary culture. Education is needed to attract the best talent to the space sector and to society and, reversely, the space sector itself is a great asset in support of education,” he concluded.
ESERO and the ESA STEM Programme
ESA has a rich education programme targeting students from school to university levels. Its school level branch – the ESA STEM Programme – largely focuses on curricular school education and aims at sparking interest in science and technology, nurturing STEM literacy, skills and competences, core values and attitudes, and supports the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
At national level the ESA STEM Programme is implemented through ESERO – a consolidated network of national offices coordinated by ESA in close collaboration with national space agencies. The winning recipe for ESERO, run under the coordination of ESA, is the contribution to the project of multiple organisations and institutions at national level, each bringing their own expertise and capacity. Each ESERO is able to tailor activities to the national STEM education curricula, needs and context, while benefitting from the continuous exchange of best practices and resources within the ESERO network.
Overall, ESERO focuses on bridging the gap between the STEM theory taught in school and the real practice of science. In doing so, over the past 15 years, ESERO has successfully reached and supported hundreds of thousands of teachers, as well as millions of school students, across Europe.
ESERO in Greece
Under the leadership of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh), and with the continuous support of ESA and the Greek space sector, ESERO Greece can rely on the innovative educational and pedagogical expertise of key national partners, such as the Laboratory Centers of Physical Sciences (EKFE) Community, the Hellenic digital earth Centre of Excellence (HCoE), the Hellenic Education Society of STEM (Ε3STEM), the ATLAS Research Group of AUTh and many others.
In-service and pre-service teacher training will form the backbone of the ESERO Greece activity portfolio and include MOOCs and an online learning platform. The educational approach will use real-life space contexts to set the scene for innovative curricular activities in the classroom. ESERO Greece will also provide free classroom materials, interdisciplinary school projects, information on STEM careers, as well as access to role models from the national space industry and academia.
ESERO in Europe
With Greece joining, the European network of ESERO offices now covers 20 ESA Member States: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.
ESERO is part of the ESA Education Programme, an ESA mandatory activity explicitly mentioned in the ESA Convention. In particular, education occupies a special place in the current programmatic manifesto of ESA, Agenda 2025, which – reinforced by the recent recommendations of the High-Level Advisory Group – is stressing the virtuous transformative influence of space on society, and identifies inspired STEM education as a fundamental enabler to form, attract and retain the best talents to the space sector in favour of society at large.
ESERO Greece: [email protected]
The Greek space programme: http://www.minidigital.gr ; https://digitalstrategy.gov.gr
ESA and the European Space Programme: www.esa.int
ESA Education Programme: www.esa.int/education