Activities in 2014: The IAP Global Science Education Programme biennial Conference on Challenges and Opportunities of Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education” took place in Beijing, China from 28-30 October 2014. Follow the link to the Events page for more information, and to the Beijing Declaration, endorsed by the IAP Executive Committee and released after the event.

Activities in 2013:

  • February 2013: An International IBSE Policy Roundtable in Khartoum, Sudan together with a training program for teachers from Sudan and other African countries. This event was hosted by the Future University Sudan and supported by the Federal Ministry of Education Sudan and the Ministry of Education, State of Khartoum. IBSE trainers were from the Regional Education Centre for Science and Mathematics (RECSAM), and Penang Malaysia of the South East Asia Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO).
  • May 2013: An International IBSE Policy Roundtable was held during the ISTIC 5th Anniversary Conference, Kuala Lumpur. The Conference was officiated by Her Excellency, Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General. The IAP SEP Council also held its 2013 Council meeting.
  • July 2013: ISTIC held a high level IBSE Roundtable in Jakarta at the Ministry of Education, Indonesia. UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia Pacific was a supporting partner. The keynote speaker was Dr. Bruce Alberts, US President Obama’s First Science Envoy to Indonesia.
  • October 2013: ISTIC together with La Main a la Pate (LAMAP) will hold a week long IBSE training program for teachers from ASEAN countries and Timor Leste in Bandung, Indonesia. The training workshop is hosted by the SEAMEO Centre for Improvement of the Quality of Education in Science (QITEP).
  • November 2013: Conference on “Assessment of Science Learning: Trends and Challenges” organized by the US-Mexico Foundation for Science (FUMEC).
  • End 2013: The Arab Academy of Sciences intends to hold a high level IBSE roundtable in Beirut, Lebanon. ISTIC is partner together with LAMAP.

Other activities undertaken:

The 2012 IAP-SEP Helsinki Global Conference. A Global Conference was held in Helsinki from 29 May – 1 June 2012 on the theme Developing IBSE: the roles of assessment and the relationship with industry. Most of the Conference was devoted to the first topic (Assessment) and especially the formative assessment of students when the goals of IBSE are to be fulfilled. The exchanges were fruitful for the over 100 participant from over 58 countries, plus a strong local participation of Finnish teachers and scholars. These exchanges showed how important, for the progress of IBSE worldwide, to have proper protocols of student’s assessment and even before, to have properly defined what should be assessed and how.

The full Report of the SEP 2012 Helsinki Conference is available HERE.

The Conference discussions encouraged the SEP Council to go ahead with the preparation of the guide Assessment and Inquiry-Based Science Education : Issues in Policy and Practice. Published in January 2013 by Wynne Harlen with the support of an Editorial Committee composed of Derek Bell, Jens Dolin, Pierre Léna, Shelley Peers, Xavier Person, Patricia Rowell and Edith Saltiel, this guide is available in various forms:

1. Assessment and Inquiry-Based Science Education : Issues in Policy and Practice (in English) (E-book version)

2. Order one or several printed copies from LULU with postal delivery

Other language versions are available in French, Serbian, and Spanish. Follow the links below in "More on this" to download the translations. Chinese and German language versions will be available in due course.

The 2010 IAP-SEP York Global Conference. An international conference was convened in York, UK (27-29 October 2010) to discuss the many issues involved in beginning or extending the use of Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) in the secondary school. In many countries IBSE is being implemented in primary schools (schools for children up to the age of 11/12). In some cases this has resulted from projects initiated through the IAP science education programme which has been promoting inquiry-based teaching and learning in primary schools since 2004. One of the reasons for extending IBSE into secondary schools is to provide continuity in the experience of students as they move through school. Equally there are many challenges to be met in making the changes in secondary school science practice. Cases studies and presentations of on-going work in 12 of the 38 countries represented at the conference can be found on the conference website ( In preparation for the conference a background paper was produced, following a Eurolatinamerican workshop held in Santiago, Chile, in January 2010. This report builds on the background paper making clear what is meant by IBSE and why it is important that it is implemented in secondary as well as in primary schools. It also considers what changes may be needed in secondary science education if all students are to have the benefits of learning through inquiry, the challenges in making these changes and how these challenges can begin to be addressed.  Download the full report of the 2010 York Conference HERE.

Science education in Science magazine (AAAS) ...

Several editorials have outlined the role of Academies and given visibility to the IAP-SEP Program in front of the international scientific community. Since 2009, Science devotes a significant space to science education issues in the US and worldwide. 

  • Science, 340 of 19 April 2013: Bruce Alberts, Editor in Chief, Science focuses on the connection between learning science in school and the acquisition of language and communication skills, emphasizing the benefits of teaching science and literacy in the same classrooms whenever possible.
  • Science, 330 of 29 October 2010: Yves Quéré, former IAP Co-Chair, pays tribute to the Founder of La main à la pâte, Georges Charpak (1924-2010)
  • Science, 324 of 23 October 2009: Pierre Léna, member of the IAP-SEP Working group, analyses the on-going efforts within the European Union to rethink science education and to foster pilot projects, with the science Academies playing a leading role.
  • Science, 323 of 23 January 2009: Bruce Alberts, Editor in Chief, pleas for a redefinition of science education, including active participation of scientists and Academies, as well as a new vision on student’s assessment procedures.
  • Science, 321 of 29 August 2008: Jorge E. Allende, Coordinator of IAP's Science Education programme, writes in an Editorial in Science on how member academies of the IAP Network are actively engaged in science education and in promoting inquiry-based science education, at a national and regional level, in order to instill in future generations a fascination with scientific discovery.
  • Science, vol 319 of 21 March 2008: Bruce Alberts, the new Editor-in-Chief, illustrates in the Editorial why he considers science education critical to science and society, and refers to the inquiry-based science education methods, an integral part of the IAP Programme on Science Education, currently being implemented in many countries worldwide, to gradually change the approach of science teaching.

An IAP-related contribution to IBSE content and pedagogy: Big ideas of science and on science.

At the invitation of Wynne Harlen (UK), member of the IAP-SEP Global Council and Purkwa Prize laureate 2009, an international team including several members of the Global Council met in 2010 to prepare a book on Principles and big ideas in science education.
Several of the authors of the book (D. Bell, R. Deves, H. Dyasi, G Fernandez de la Garza, P Léna, R Millar, M Reiss, P Rowell, Wei Yu) are active contributors to the IAP Global Science Education Program. Download Principles and big ideas in science education, in English. Translations of the Book are available in the following languages:

French (Dix notions-clefs pour enseigner la science, Le Pommier, Paris, 2011)

Links to science education actions implemented at a Regional level:

• Africa
• The Americas
• Asia-Pacific
• Europe

In addition to the above, IAP Members/Observer organizations implement a number of activities in science education at a national level, for example the National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka, Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF). Follow the links below: