By Dr. Andreani BAYTELMAN (PhD Science Learning, University of Cyprus) and Dr. Anastasia DIETI (PhD Immunology, University of Cyprus)
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has overturned decades of progress, reveling inequalities and highlighting the need for more effective global strategies to promote public health. Raising awareness and preparing the world’s population for pre-empting future epidemics and other public health risks has become a societal priority. Understanding the inherent relationships between humans and other living organisms, as well as their environment, has become an important priority that needs to be considered by educational authorities and the communities with which they interact.
Education for the promotion of public health provides a framework within which to re-evaluate our commitment to community preparedness and sustainable public health. The project Partnerships for Science Education (PAFSE), which is funded by the EU under the program Science with and for Society, aims to raise public awareness and strengthen the preparation of schools and communities for future epidemics, chronic diseases, and a diverse range of public health challenges, thus contributing to the promotion of sustainable development goals. The PAFSE project is implemented by a consortium of 9 academic institutions, including the University of Cyprus (UCY), within the thematic Priority of Open Schooling and Collaboration for Science Education.
To promote these objectives, PAFSE intends to involve schools, research centres, enterprises, public health authorities, libraries, associations and other non-governmental organizations, to create a local community of educators and a support network for promoting sustainable health education and community preparedness for pre-empting and managing risks. PAFSE’s work-plan includes the creation of partnerships between schools, universities, non-formal education institutions, businesses and civil society organisations, and their involvement in the efforts to enrich Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, through multi-disciplinary project-based-learning approaches on public health issues.
The PAFSE educational activities have been designed based on three main pillars:
The educational scenarios designed by PAFSE aim to enhance:
The PAFSE project also aims to develop an openly accessible platform for online collaborative project work with digital educational resources and interactive learning objects covering a wide range of public health issues. The collaboration platform, educational scenarios and related digital learning objects can be freely used to support the work of teachers and students to promote public health education in collaboration with local community stakeholders.
Project activities are publicized on social media under the project acronym, PAFSE. Teachers, schools, NGOs and other institutions interested to participate in the project can find additional information at https://pafse.eu/ and can also contact us at: [email protected] and [email protected].