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  • 12th January 2022

Economist Educational Foundation

The Ove Arup Foundation has awarded a grant to the Economist Educational Foundation (EEF) for a programme focused on enabling young people aged 8-14 years to develop critical thinking and communication skills through inspiring discussions about the built environment.

The charity will work with Arup experts to create teaching materials that develop young people’s understanding of the relationship between the built environment and topical issues such as sustainability.

The project will combine STEM education with a grounding in current affairs and news literacy.

The programme’s organisers say that for science and technology to find solutions to global challenges, the next generation of STEM specialists must have an in-depth understanding of the nature of each problem and see a gap where they could help to make meaningful change. This required not only STEM skills, but the thinking and communication skills to solve problems creatively and collaboratively.

Resources used in the project will be freely available to all. Students will have access to a unique online learning platform where they will discuss and debate the topics with peers from around the world. For one week after the publication of each resource, they will discuss the resource topic on the site and receive feedback from EEF’s in-house teachers to help them develop their thinking and communication skills.

Arup staff will join these online discussions, helping students develop their ideas and arguments by offering feedback and asking questions. Resources will support young people to consider all aspects of sustainability, and encourage them to consider the importance of place and opportunities such as the repurposing of buildings or building materials when developing ideas and designs for their local neighbourhoods.

The driving principle behind the project is that this will build 21st century thinking and communication skills which will be essential for all young people and essential for future STEM specialists and drive social mobility by reaching the young people with the greatest need.

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