The Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) has signed an agreement with the Secretariat of Rural Schools of Catalonia to bring bioengineering to places in the Catalan territory with lower population densities. IBEC, which is in this way contributing to democratising knowledge and uniting the territory, has already begun its innovative project at several rural schools in Solsonès.
The “Rural School Zones” of Catalonia (ZER) are public school institutions, formed by the grouping of nursery schools and primary school education centres, which offer children an education in areas where demographics are extremely low compared to urban nuclei. This has several advantages, such as the small groups of schoolchildren, but it also has the difficulty of gaining access to the educational services and facilities that tend to be concentrated in large cities.
For this reason, the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) signed an agreement in 2021 with the Secretariat of Rural Schools of Catalonia, but it’s not the only one.
With this project, IBEC not only intends to guarantee access to the latest research in bioengineering for schools throughout the country, but is also pursuing other objectives: democratising access to scientific education and establishing links between children and researchers. However, no less importantly, it also seeks to provide children with female role models in science, develop collaborations between schools and research centres, and make the resulting educational resources available to the educational community.
A pioneering project that is starting out in Solsonès
The Rural School Zone of Solsonès, made up of 7 rural schools with between 8 and 33 students each with a total of 135 students, represents a region with a scattered population, strongly conditioned by the distances between the schools. That is why the decision was made to take advantage of the joint school trip that the 7 schools take in the fall to launch this educational project.
On the first session of the programme, which took place on September 29th, IBEC bioengineering experts travelled to Sant Climenç, a small rural municipality 12 km from Solsona, where they held multilevel workshops for nursery school and primary school students (from 3 to 12 years old). These schoolchildren were the first to receive the support of researchers in science projects in the classroom, and to learn first-hand about the most cutting-edge research in bioengineering, the discipline that searches for solutions to health problems through research that integrates traditional forms of science with engineering, and to have access to the science education materials prepared by IBEC.
With this project, we are committed to bringing science education to the entire territory and contributing both to the democratisation of knowledge and to sustainable development.Pilar Jiménez, IBEC
During this academic year, IBEC aims to carry out various support actions in rural schools, covering a large part of Catalonia. The project, which wants to consolidate itself this year, is looking to obtain private financing for the upcoming academic year in order to reach the entire territory.
The activities will be carried out during the course of the 2021-2022 school year and will be done online and in person. Schools and institutions interested in joining the programme can contact the IBEC science education area.