International Workshop on Space Education Addressed by Ethiopian State Minister of Science and Technology
His Excellency, the Ethiopian State Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Afework Kassu addressed a gathering of officials, dignitaries, education experts and teachers from Africa and Europe on October 7, 2017 in Addis Ababa. It marked the opening of the Space Awareness High Level Workshop, organized by the International Astronomical Union’s Office of Astronomy for Development (IAU OAD), European Union Space Awareness project, Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI) and the Ethiopian Regional Office of Astronomy for Development.
The workshop brought together stakeholders for an engaged dialogue on using space topics for education and outreach in African countries in order to attract young people to science and technology. Discussions built on the work of the European Union funded Space Awareness project that uses the excitement of space and astronomy to stimulate interest of the youth in science and technology and to kindle a spirit of global citizenship. The discussions were preceded by a teachers’ workshop in the morning where local teachers had the opportunity to explore best practices and innovative uses of astronomy and space sciences for education.
The event was held during World Space Week, the largest public space event on Earth that celebrates the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition. Several students were also be invited to the workshop to present posters on related projects.
Space Awareness has developed hundreds of space-related teaching resources and activities in addition to training teachers. The use of such resources and actions have the potential to play a role in achieving the goals of building indigenous human capacity for high technology projects in Africa. Space and Astronomy outreach to the general public is also an effective medium to promote and communicate African involvement and investment in huge science projects such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the African VLBI Network (AVN), the work of the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI) and others that drive research and technology development on the continent.
The event was funded through the Space Awareness project which received funding from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Programme under grant agreement nº 638653
Space Awareness: Space Awareness strives to inform children and young adults about current research and issues related to space sciences and the numerous career opportunities offered by space, and to show them that space science can be fun and inspiring. The project offers a series of complementary activities and resources to inspire children from 8 to 18 years old, primary and secondary school teachers, teacher trainers, science educators, and families.
IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (IAU OAD): The IAU Office of Astronomy for Development is a joint project of the International Astronomical Union and the National Research Foundation of South Africa supported by the Department of Science and Technology. The office aims to use Astronomy as a tool to further sustainable development and realise its vision of ‘Astronomy for a Better World’
Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI): ESSTI is the government institute responsible for capacity building, research on Astronomy and astrophysics, space science and application, Remote sensing, Geodesy and Geodynamics, Satellite development and operation, space data Management, special training, infrastructure development, international collaboration, inspection, controlling and licensing in all space affairs including both research and communication satellites. Since 2013 Entoto Observatory and Research Centre has been working on space awareness, research and training in space Science and technology. The establishment of ESSTI with wide range of mandate gives Ethiopia to strengthen use of space for peaceful purpose and wide international collaboration. IAU-OAD is our long time collaborators working on use of astronomy for sustainable development. This high level workshop aim to create awareness from school teachers to high policy makers.
World Space Week (WSW): Since its United Nations declaration in 1999, World Space Week has grown into the largest public space event on Earth. More than 2,700 events in 86 countries celebrated the benefits of space and excitement about space exploration in 2016.