The objective of the research and technology pact entered into today is coordinating and enhancing the activities of various parties in ensuring that young people want to learn and later also work in the field of research, technology and engineering. Its activities are being implemented in cooperation between the state, local governments and the entrepreneurship, education and third sectors.
Firstly, a comprehensive view will be formed of the activities of parties in generating interest in research and technology, improving skills in exact and natural sciences and technology (hereinafter ENT) and increasing the attractiveness of studying these specialties and working in these fields.
“The efforts being made in the education system alone aren’t enough to ensure that a sufficient proportion of young people decide to study in the ENT field,” said Minister of Education and Research Jevgeni Ossinovski. “The activities of these various parties have to be made to function more effectively and with more coordination in the name of this common goal, which is why the research and technology pact was entered into.”
Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Urve Palo said that the biggest challenge for the Estonian economy in the future is resolving the labour shortage and re-training underqualified people. “We need more engineers, information technologists and good skilled workers,” she said. “Change doesn’t come fast, which is why students, teachers and employers must be brought together now – so we have people with the necessary skills in the years to come.”
Various parties have drawn attention to the low popularity and value of ENT specialties in the past and a lot has been done to improve the situation – the founding of AHHAA and the Energy Centre, the development of teaching materials and efforts to popularise ENT specialties and science in schools and the media. Experience shows that more new partners need to be involved in order to bring about decisive changes.
Initiators call on others to join pact
The pact was entered into on the initiative of the Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. In addition to these two ministries, the signatories to the pact include the Estonian Research Council, the Estonian Association of Engineers, the Collegium Eruditionis knowledge centre of Viimsi Upper Secondary School and Kadrina Upper Secondary School, which have noticeably contributed to promotion of the field.
The pact and its action plan are open to anyone who desires to join it and contribute ideas, activities and resources. The initiators invite the public and third sector to take part, including representative organisations of entrepreneurship, specialty and professional associations, local governments, companies, academic and educational institutions and volunteers. As each ministry is responsible for organising the research and development activities in its field pursuant to the Research and Development Organisation Act, all ministries are expected to join the pact.
An action plan is being developed in three main directions within the framework of the research and technology pact: popularising the field in society, primarily among young people; increasing the quality of the education in the field at all levels of education; and valuing work in the field. The implementation of the pact will be coordinated by the Estonian Research Council.
The pact was signed by:
Jevgeni Ossinovski, Minister of Education and Research
Urve Palo, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure
Andres Koppel, Estonian Research Council
Arvi Hamburg, Estonian Association of Engineers
Peeter Sipelgas, Viimsi Upper Secondary School knowledge centre
Raimo Maasik, Kadrina Upper Secondary School