Since the beginning of this XXI century, IAP seeks to reform and develop science education on a global scale, especially in primary and secondary schools, with a pedagogy based on inquiry (Inquiry Based Science Education IBSE).
IBSE provides opportunities for students to see how well their ideas work in authentic situations rather than in abstract discussions. Students build knowledge through testing ideas, discussing their understanding with teachers and their peers, and through interacting with scientific phenomena.
Practical activity, involving a direct contact with reality, is an essential ingredient of IBSE, as the hands-on approach, combined with a ‘minds-on’ engagement, helps to develop a better understanding of scientific concepts and, even more important, of the nature of scientific reasoning. IAP supports a global action towards IBSE development, in order to foster exchanges and communication between a number of national or regional pilot projects. IAP supports and encourages these projects with specific support and especially through the involvement of science academies. This support has been continuously increasing since the year 2000, after the development of IAP capacity building activities with the Academies.
In order to accompany this growth, in 2011 the IAP Science Education Programme (SEP), led by a Global Council, has defined Terms of Reference , organising its effort on global and regional scales, by designating lead Academies and scientists to be in charge of the projects.