Germany Looking to Kindergarten for Engineering Future

Posted on July 2, 2008  Comments (5)

German groups seek next crop of engineers in the kindergarten

Germany’s shortage of engineers has become so acute that some of its leading companies are turning to kindergartens to guarantee future supplies.

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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5 Responses to “Germany Looking to Kindergarten for Engineering Future”

  1. JH
    July 3rd, 2008 @ 9:44 pm

    I am curious about the materials and suggestions they might have for promoting engineering thinking in kindergarten. What’s in the “discovery boxes”? Do you have any more specific idea of what they have in mind?

  2. Clement
    July 5th, 2008 @ 9:46 am

    John,this is an interesting development. I am sure it will go a long way in ensuring that Germany continues to be a highly competitive Engineering nation.The kids will be able to appreciate the importance of Engineering from a tender age.And as result, a good number of intelligent chaps will opt for Engineering related courses.Great to see German companies taking career guidance to the grass roots.

  3. Chris Gammell
    July 11th, 2008 @ 1:07 pm

    I wish I would have seen this before when I was brainstorming some of my volunteer ideas. I definitely agree with bringing in math and science based creativity as soon as possible. Too much of education these days is memorization and repetition. If kids are given opportunities to broaden their minds at an early age, it will form neural connections that will be useful to them (and possibly the world) later on. Gotta love that German innovation!

  4. Raj Krishnaswamy
    July 18th, 2008 @ 3:10 pm

    I cannot believe what I am reading in this site. This is my first visit here and I am thoroughly impressed. I must have been in a cave somewhere until today! Anyway, I am happy about the route that Germany is taking. But be warned; the major problem affecting engineering graduations both in the USA and Germany is not the lack of engineering talent but rather the affordability of engineering higher education. At a cost of about $50,000 USD per year to get an engineering degree, the cost becomes prohibitive for a lot of students. This is a grave situation and needs immediate addressing. Thank you Sir.

  5. Debra Crawford
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

    As a coach to organizational leaders and professional development consultant, I am particularly interested in talent managment related issues. As a parent, I am truly interested in how to inform a U.S. elementary school of how to obtain the discovery kits. How do you advise we pursue this to be able to bring it to the attention of local schools? This information warrants greater exposure.

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