Member since 1991 of Académie des sciences (Paris), Pierre Léna has centred his scientific work on infrared astronomy. This work led him to organize the European Very Large Telescope as an interferometer. His interest in educational matters led him to become President of the Institut national de recherche pédagogique (1991-1997) and to be one of the 3 founder members of the La main à la pâte (Hands on) action renovating scientific education in schools since 1996. Until 2007, he has been President of the Comité d’éthique des sciences from Centre national de la recherche scientifique and vice-president of the Association Bernard-Grégory. Since 2005, he is Delegate for Education of the French Académie des sciences.
Science for all, a reasonable goal?
Fifteen years ago, the plea for a high quality science education for all pupils was an exercise which seemed an issue for specialists only. Today, scientists, engineers, politicians, media are strongly argumenting in favor of this, while in many places worldwide pilot projects, reforms, reports express the will to place science education as one of the main avenues of XXI century schooling ambition. How is such a move justified? The need of economies, of democracy, an intolerable decline of the quality of teaching, a better understanding of the cognitive process of learning in a child's brain, a feeling of justice to better share the formidable advances of science, a blind trust in technology to save a future which everybody feels more or less full of worries? Education is probably a good mirror of how a society sees itself, as education contains whatever we feel worthwhile to transfer to the next generation. This presentation shall attempt to unfold these many reasons which are, more or less implicitly, contained in the choice of an inquiry based science education.
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