Education International, Vol. 3, Issue 1, AN-4, Received April 22,
IN THE 1999-2001 BIENNIUM
Report to IUPAC
Council: 7-8 July, 2001, Brisbane, Australia
J D Bradley
E-mail: [email protected]
biennium has been a period of accommodation. Firstly to the new
project system, secondly to recognition of CTC as an Operational
Committee with a place on the Bureau, thirdly to the awareness of
a probable larger role for education in the future IUPAC. This third
point reflects the recommendations of the Education Strategy Development
Committee which are currently still being considered. Communication
with other IUPAC bodies is improving, and cooperation with UNESCO
continues to strengthen, particularly in projects involving developing
countries and countries in transition.
Activities within the Framework of the IUPAC Strategic Plan
1: IUPAC will serve as a Scientific, International, Non-Governmental
Body in Objectively Addressing Global Issues involving the Chemical
is generally understood that the gap between rich and poor countries,
and/or between developed and developing countries, is widening rather
than diminishing. The chemical sciences are a small but important
part of this global reality, so that the gap between the chemical
sciences (research, teaching, industry) in these two categories
of countries is also widening. IUPAC is not a funding agency but
can function as a conduit of ideas and experience that may make
a difference to the chemical sciences in less-fortunate environments.
In the educational domain CTC has developed active programmes in
cooperation with UNESCO (Basic Sciences Division), which illustrate
global issue involved here is what might be loosely described as
scientific literacy. Two specific points of relevance are
absence of practical chemistry experiences from the majority of
school classrooms and even some first year university courses,
absence of good quality, reliable teaching resources for most
chemistry teachers at school and for many university chemistry
two realities undermine national programmes of education and, thereby,
socio-economic development, in the majority of countries. As described
below, in cooperation with UNESCO, CTC is actively addressing these
realities. It is hoped that the International Chemistry Council
will also lend its weight to this programme, with particular reference
to its interest in chemistry in Africa.
6: IUPAC will Utilize its Global Perspective to Contribute towards
the Enhancement of Education in Chemistry and to Advance the Public
Understanding of Chemistry and the Scientific Method.
have been the principal means by which CTC has contributed to this
Goal. Some of these, established years ago, continue vigorously,
as briefly described below.
International Newsletter on Chemical Education (27/85) is now electronic
thanks to the efforts of Professors Takeuchi and Ito. We are at
an early stage with this, and will need to assess its impact and
ways of enhancing this. If we work steadily at this in the next
biennium we should have a valuable mechanism for global enhancement
of chemistry education.
Source Books for Teaching of Chemistry project (44/91) is reactivated
following a long period of indecisiveness. Following extensive investigations
by Professors Bucat and Lagowski, it is now proposed to publish
the two volumes of Selected Papers in Chemical Education Research
electronically, making them available free. These will be one of
the underpinning resources for the proposed new project A
Glossary of Chemical Concepts: a Pedagogical Content Knowledge Resource
for Teachers .
Education in Chemistry and Human Health project (47/96) continues
in active collaboration with Commission VII.C.2. being lead by Professor
Duffus, the Division Representative. Draft versions of Introduction
to Toxicology informally referred to as Toxicology for Teachers
have been quite widely circulated and a workshop conducted
at the 16th International Conference on Chemical Education.
The feedback is being digested, and meanwhile UNESCO has expressed
interest in global dissemination.
Small-Scale Chemistry project (43/91) continues with particular
vigour, in collaboration with UNESCO. During this biennium, UNESCO
IUPAC/CTC workshops have been conducted to introduce and
to advocate the benefits of small-scale, low-cost practical chemistry
in Armenia, Belarus, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad,
Estonia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Guinee, Guyana, Iran, Jamaica,
Lesotho, Lithuania, Mali, Mexico, Niger, Senegal, Trinidad and Yemen.
In a number of countries they have been inspired to initiate pilot
projects to assess the local applicability of the concept using
individual student kits. Some countries have gone beyond this stage
and embarked on wider, national implementation in the school system.
A leading example is Cameroon, where a Centre of Excellence has
been established recently in Yaounde to underpin this implementation
and to support its diffusion in the CEMAC region.
is very clear from the responses of individual school teachers and
inspectors as well as from university lecturers, that the small-scale,
low cost chemistry approach is like an answer to a prayer in developing
countries. To facilitate local development workbooks with example
experiments have been, or are in process of being, translated into
French, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Persian and Estonian. Strong
cooperation with UNESCO (Basic Sciences Division) in this programme
has made it possible and hopefully will continue to do so.
COCI project (17/98) Assessment of DIDAC as an Aid for the
Toxicology of Chemistry Around the World is one in which
CTC cooperates and again involves UNESCO. It has been possible to
introduce the DIDAC materials to educators in most of the countries
mentioned above, within the framework of the arrangements made for
the small-scale chemistry workshops. Whilst the reaction of most
educators is very positive, it is not possible to say what the wider
impact may be. The costs are fairly high and in some countries,
the electricity and overhead projector requirements may not be readily
met. Classroom posters created from the original transparencies
are an interesting possibility for such situations.
the new system gets under way, additional, new projects are beginning
to emerge. Two have been approved and are proceeding. The first
focussed on the holding of a Conference on Chemical Education for
Sustainable Development in Moscow (October 11-13, 2000), with follow-up
gathering and generation of educational resources. We see this initiative
linking up with the Green Chemistry Education initiative of Division
III and hope to play a part in their forthcoming workshop in Venice.
The second continues a line of development established some years
ago in Division II in Collecting, Testing and Dissemination of Experiments
in Solid State and Materials Chemistry. Both these projects are
being led by CTC members (Professors Tarasova and Kizilyali, respectively).
number of other project proposals have been reviewed, some in conjunction
with other Divisions, and have been rejected or returned for re-working.
International Conference on Chemical Education (ICCE)
ICCE remains a regular, important responsibility of CTC. The 16th
ICCE was held in Budapest in August, 2000 and attracted more than
500 delegates, including 200 school chemistry teachers from the
region. The event was well organised by the Hungarian Chemical Society
with the theme Chemistry for a Healthier Planet. With this theme
for inspiration we were able to secure a plenary lecture from Professor
Miyamoto (Past President, Division VI), a workshop on Toxicology
for Teachers led by Professor Duffus (Chairman, Comm. VIII.C.2)
and symposium lecturers by Dr Parry Norling (Chairman, CHEMRAWN).
CTC was well represented by 6 of its 8 Titular Members, 2 of its
7 Divisional Members and 7 of its then 16 National Representatives
contributing lectures, workshop and/or poster papers.
an informal meeting of CTC, held during the conference, the invitation
of the Chinese Chemical Society to host the 17th ICCE
in August, 2002 in Beijing was approved.
scheduling of ICCE in relation to BCCE (USA) and ECCE (Europe) remains
problematic, and requires our urgent attention.
international and regional events are being explored with a view
to inclusion of an appropriate educational component. We are grateful
in this regard to the organisers of the World Chemistry Congress
for agreeing to a CTC satellite symposium on Chemistry Education.
the biennium, CTC has been continually aware of change. At the beginning,
it was already clear from Dr Hayes Vice-Presidential Critical
Assessment that significant change was to be anticipated. The Educational
Strategy Development Committee, chaired by Professor Peter Atkins,
was constituted and worked hard and constructively to recommend
actions and policies to bring about the change. The recommendations
are appropriate, far-reaching and ambitious and CTC endorses them.
The conclusions of the Executive Committee are eagerly awaited.
One concern will be however, that the resources committed are commensurate
with the plans. Given the concerns most of us have about the need
to sustain the vitality of education in chemistry and to advance
the public understanding of chemistry, there is every reason to
make the necessary resources available.
7 May 2001