Scientists, educators and students collaborating to rebuild and transform science education in Puerto Rico

Mónica Ivelisse Feliú-Mójer's picture

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, aggravating a decade-long fiscal crisis that had already weakened Puerto Rico’s educational, social, and economic infrastructure.

For the past year-and-a-half, Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR) has been hard at work on a new strategic direction to focus on an area of ​​great need and of vital importance for the future of Puerto Rico: transforming science education to promote a culture of science, critical thinking and problem-solving.

The historic devastation caused by Maria has made the implementation of our new strategic direction more urgent. In response, CienciaPR is launching a pilot project that brings together scientists, educators, and students for the co-creation of science lessons that encourage creativity, resilience, entrepreneurship, and the development of problem-solving skills. The initial set of science lessons focuses on renewable energy, environmental sustainability, clean and potable water, and terrestrial ecosystems—topics that are not only relevant immediately after Hurricane Maria, but to rebuild a stronger and more resilient Puerto Rico. This pilot will serve as the foundation for our bold 10-year plan to transform science education. You can support this project through a donation!

The Challenge

Science education in Puerto Rico is failing. In 2016, only 4 in 10 eight grade public school students were proficient in science and 97.9% of middle school students who took the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test, where Puerto Rico ranked 64 out of 70, exhibited low abilities interpreting scientific information and working on complex problems. In both science and math, the highest drop in academic performance is observed in middle school.

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