Recently in Greece, electoral fever was at its peak and leading towards a general political upheaval; however, in The Hague, the annual conference of the European Network of Science Centers and Museums (ECSITE) occurred.
In Holland, you wouldn't be able to pick up on any trace of the election intensity. During the conference, almost a thousand delegates from institutions and companies from Europe and around the world were in Holland in order to seek the future of knowledge dissemination. They gathered to find out more about the sector that primarily addresses a young demographic.
The Greek participation was relatively small, with only two private companies and the Eugenides Foundation. Greek participation could be considered a bit larger if Greek executive operators working abroad were included.
“Edutainment,” education and entertainment together, has for the past few decades, been considered a composite, multifaceted, yet extremely interesting and effective way of approaching knowledge and its dissemination. This issue is a broad-based concern and is systemically applied in developed countries, while also attracting developed nations.
In every country there are science centers, museums of technology and natural history, older and more conservative infrastructures and newer, complex ones, which compete and cooperate with one another. They organize permanent exhibitions that become more and more imaginative and interactive. At the same time they organize periodic thematic reports that aim at enticing people into a universal experience and offering a continuous cognitive and recreational communion.
In many countries, the educational process at school is tightly connected and is offered in a more creative, understandable and effective way in order to comprehend even the most difficult concepts. All these are happening thanks to great infrastructure that popularizes and shows the wonderful new world of science, technology and the arts.
Greece may not lag behind in Europe, especially as far as infrastructure is concerned, but falls short in the overall design and the continuous and consistent effort on the part of the state and the educational community. The Greek family is not familiar enough with these new procedures and kids miss the opportunity to play, and eventually learn, through constant contact and visits in these polyvalent and complementary fields of knowledge.
Eugenides Foundation, “Hellenic Cosmos,” GAIA Goulandris Museum in Athens, NOESIS- Science Center and Technology Museum in Thessaloniki, Cultural Foundation of Piraeus Bank Group and several similar facilities in the region, for instance the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest, may be “cells” of a constantly revolving cognitive experience.
In cooperation with the country’s schools, through visits, educational programs, and distance education made possible thanks to technology, these new “cells” can attract and open new horizons that can’t be realized by the sterile, old fashioned educational process defined by the ministries and the teachers’ trade unions.
In a world where research, innovation, science and technology have a leading role which enables European countries to keep the standard of living they have established within the last few centuries, our country has a lot to learn and, at the same time, a lot to offer. While we often send our workforce abroad, this removes some of the vitality from our society. It is important that our highly educated young people are able to inspire, be inspired, collaborate and create in their own country, as well as in Europe and America. However, there are obvious challenges as the world becomes more open and interconnected day by day.
Planetariums, aquariums, museums and science centers that collect human experience knowledge, scientific and technological achievements, and illuminate the history of science can be thought of as modern storytellers. All these institutions are like windows towards a wonderful new world.
In cooperation with several universities and research centers, these organizations can become “cells” for research, innovation and new entrepreneurship. This is an entire sector that can contribute to our society’s development.
The European Union understands the significance of these "cells," and will contribute to them actively with additional funding within the next few years. This funding will enable them to work towards achieving a more creative Europe that supports increased innovation, research and development. The best way to achieve this will be through continuous knowledge deepening and dissemination.
It is known that Greece once offered philosophy, science and the arts to Europe, as well as to much of the rest of the world. Yet everybody in Europe, including Greece, is wondering whether the country can follow a path that will create a new future or if it will fall short as the rest world continues to constantly evolve.
Are there any projects of “edutainment” taking place in the city or country where you live?
Original article, originally published in Greek, here.
Credits: Images and Data linked to sources.