An agreement was signed by Mr Volodymyr Kovtunets, First Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, and Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on 1 March 2018 to place the Junior Academy of Sciences under the auspices of UNESCO as a Category 2 Centre.
The Junior Academy of Sciences (JAcS) was created in Kiev in 1963. It now has several branched in Ukraine, carrying out scientific development and support to students. Annually, the JAcS organizes nearly 70 methodological trainings and more than 40 large events with youth to give them opportunities to get involved in Science, Technology, Math and Engineering (STEM) fields. There are now 250,000 students involved in research activities through the Junior Academy of Sciences at the municipal, districts and regional levels, in close collaboration with schools. The JAcS now counts with 12 scientific departments.
The signing ceremony was attended by H. E. Mr Oleg Shamshur, Permanent Delegate of Ukraine to UNESCO; Mr Stanislav Dovgyi, President of the Junior Academy of Sciences, Ms Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director General for Natural Sciences Sector and Mr Juste Jean-Paul Ngome Abiaga, Scientific Adviser in the Office of the Director-General of UNESCO.
As a UNESCO category 2 centre, the Junior Academy of Sciences joins the “network of knowledge”, a network comprising of category 2 institutes and centres coordinated by UNESCO’s International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP). This new status will reinforces its role as an educational platform that provides resources and opportunities for STEM education. The centre will play an important role in the promotion of innovative tools for experimentation and scientific practice in the education systems of Ukraine and of Eastern Europe. It will also aim to ensure that these innovative methodologies for science teaching are available to developing countries in Africa.
International cooperation in the basic sciences and science education encourages capacity building, research, and innovation, which is the corner stone of sustainable development. Education is a priority in Ukraine, where enrollment rates have reached 80% following an investment of 2.2% of the GDP towards education. It is also worth noting that Ukraine is good example of gender equality in science, especially in the field of medicine, where women comprise 65% of the workforce. Ukraine is well on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal on Equality for Women and Girls (SDG 5) as well as the goal of Quality Education (SDG 4). The Junior Academy of Sciences Centre will contribute to these efforts, and to the achievement of the goal related to Innovation and Scientific Infrastructure (SDG 9) within and beyond the region.
The mission of the Centre remains to improve the quality of science teaching and learning procedures in schools and universities, prepare youth to enter the challenging world of entrepreneurship, and to provide them with the values of solidarity and knowledge sharing in science.