How to make science fun is a loaded question. The quest to entice students to learn and love science is even more elusive. Somehow these questions have been successfully answered by the Children’s University at Bielefeld University in Teutolab. This Children’s University was founded by Prof. Dr. Katharina Kohse-Hoinghaus in 1994
with a goal to promote joint scientific activities between junior to senior high school level students and their undergraduate and graduate student research mentors. The project has been phenomenally successful in raising students’ inspiration in science and in their creation of fun scientific experiments. The students learned to develop their investigative skill, ask probing questions and search for answers themselves. The replica of this undertaking has now been put into action in countries such as China and Egypt.
The idea to implement this project in Thailand stemmed from HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s visit to the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences in 2010 where she noticed a demonstration by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) showing young students engaging in scientific activities under the DAAD children’s university program. HRH was intrigued by the students’ curiosity and their total engagement hence prompted a similar approach be considered and adapted to the local science education in Thailand. This has put forward an idea to start the Thailand Children’s University where fun and inspiring scientific activities are key components. Certainly, an ultimate goal is to attract students to science, and to have science as an integral part of the national identity in improving life quality while enhancing the national security and economy.
The Sirindhorn Science Home (in Thailand Science Park) will be home for this project implementation with over 500 primary and high school students expected to be participating. The three partners of this project are the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
NSTDA will host a 3 days opening event of this project with range of scientific activities offered during October 29-31, 2012 at the Sirindhorn Science Home in the Thailand Science Park, Pathumthani. HRH Maha Chakri Sirindorn will preside over the grand opening ceremony of the Thailand Children’s University Project on October 30, 2012.