The University of Tartu (UT), founded in 1632, is the oldest, largest and major university in Estonia. The Centre for Science Education within the Faculty of Science and Technology is involved in teaching pre-service teachers and in conducting in-service teacher courses at interdisciplinary levels and in the separate subjects. The Centre is the only research centre for science education in Estonia, having 2 full professors specifically having expertise in science education. The Centre has 14 PhD students and a number of international scholars (incl. postdoctoral scholars). The Centre has chaired a number of research projects between three major tertiary institutions in Estonia on sustainability of science education at all levels and most recently on gymnasium student’s scientific literature. The centre has a long tradition of collaborating with the University of Helsinki in the framework of joint schools for PhD students across Nordic Countries.
The Centre staff has been heavily involved in developing teaching-learning materials in Estonia, having published 4 books and produced resources for UNESCO, based on IBSE related material-writing workshops in a range of countries. The Centre has been the national coordinating centre for a number of European project such as introducing biotechnology in the secondary schools – European Initiative for Biotechnology Education (EIBE); FP6 project BIOHEAD-CITIZEN; FP6 project PARSEL, FP6 PENCIL, FP7 project on Scy-Science Created by You, FP7 project ESTABLISH and FP7 project PROFILES. The Centre is chairs the ongoing network for
collaboration in science education and is leading curriculum development in science education for the Ministry of Education. Since 2000, the Centre has been coordinating the work by Estonian science teachers associations (for Chemistry, Biology and Geography).
Prof. Miia Rannikmäe is the head of the Centre for Science Education and has considerable experience in science education in Estonia, Europe and worldwide (Fulbright fellow – University of Iowa, USA). She has a strong school teaching background, extensive experience in pre- and in-service teacher training and has strong links with science teacher associations worldwide. She has been a member of the EC high level group associated with the publication of the 2004 report on ‘Europe needs more Scientists’. She is running a number of EC funded projects and is the grant holder for an Estonian research grant determining the change of levels of students` scientific literacy at gymnasium level. Recently completed grants are on modelling science education for relevance, exploring teachers’ understanding of the Nature of Science, and Stakeholders views on the goals of science education and its impact on students’ career choices in science. Her PhD students are involved in research areas such as scientific literacy, relevance, creativity/reasoning, inquiry teaching/learning and the nature of science – stakeholder (incl. industrialists) interactions with the science education community. She has supervised 3 international postdoctoral students. She is a member of international research organisations – ESERA; NARST, IOSTE and a member of the editorial board for several science education related journals (e.g vice editor for the Journal of Baltic Science Education). She was the organiser of a 2010 ICASE & UNESCO World Science Education Conference on innovations in science and technology education and the organiser of the next Eurovariety conference in 2015. She is the past secretary for ICASE (International Council of Associations for Science Education) and is currently a member of the exec. committee, chairing a standing committee for University liaison.
National MultiCO-website in Estonian.