Advisory Report 23: STEM Agenda 2030
VARIO welcomes the STEM Agenda 2030, but at the same time sounds the alarm and wants to raise the bar
On 15 July 2021, Deputy Minister-Presidents of the Government of Flanders Ben Weyts and Hilde Crevits asked VARIO for advice on the STEM Agenda 2030. The Agenda has a double ambition: (1) to aim for a higher enrolment into STEM and (2) strengthening STEM competences.
VARIO formulates the following recommendations:
- VARIO is very pleased to have a successor to the STEM Action Plan, as the demand for STEM remains very high;
- At the same time, VARIO is sounding the alarm: hardly any progress has been made. VARIO therefore advocates a genuine new Action Plan that sets the bar high;
- More effectiveness measurements and more practice-oriented STEM research should be encouraged;
- Technical and vocational education is still too unattractive. What can we learn from countries like Switzerland?
- VARIO reiterates the importance of sustained, integrated and large-scale actions with binding commitments;
- Attracting international STEM talent should be a separate strategic objective;
- The frequency of the STEM Advisory Committee should be increased to facilitate possible adjustments to the Agenda;
- A realistic budget and a multi-annual budget plan should be linked to the Agenda;
- Besides monitoring the outflow (30% STEM graduates from Higher Education (Eurostat)), VARIO asks to monitor how well Flanders attracts STEM talent from abroad;
- VARIO supports the extension into competences and Lifelong Learning, but at the same time calls for a bold commitment to a higher availability of STEM profiles and to establish the link with the Sustainable Development Goals;
- VARIO hopes that there is still sufficient margin to make adjustments to the current Agenda, together with the stakeholders.