Germany Looking to Kindergarten for Engineering Future
Posted on July 2, 2008 Comments (5)
Groups such as Siemens and Bosch are among hundreds of companies giving materials and money to kindergartens to try to interest children as young as three in technology and science.
Many European countries from Switzerland to Spain suffer shortages of graduates. But the problem is especially acute in Germany, renowned as a land of engineering. German companies have 95,000 vacancies for engineers and only about 40,000 are trained, according to the engineers’ association.
“It is a new development in that we have seen we need to start very early with children. Starting at school is not good enough – we need to help them to understand as early as possible how things work,” said Maria Schumm-Tschauder, head of Siemens’ Generation21 education programme.
Siemens has provided about 3,000 “discovery boxes” filled with science experiments for three- to six-year-olds to kindergartens throughout Germany, at a cost to the company of €500 (£395) a box. It also trains kindergarten teachers on how to use them as well as providing similar boxes around the world to pre-schools from China and South Africa to Ireland and Colombia.
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