International Council of Associations for Science Education


Brief History

A Brief History of ICASE: 40 Years
February 2013

The Beginning

In June 1972, a strategic meeting sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was held in Singapore. This meeting, hosted by the Science Teachers’ Association of Singapore (STAS) and the Singapore National Academy of Science, aimed to establish an international organization linking national science teacher associations across Asia to facilitate the exchange of information and promote research collaborations amongst scientists, teachers, and students. Representing UNESCO, Mrs. Sheila M. Haggis led the meeting. Many have referred to Mrs. Haggis, who passed away in April 1995, as the "Mother of ICASE". The meeting was attended by representatives from science teachers’ associations in Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. This innovative meeting led to the founding of the International Council of Associations for Science Education (ICASE).

The organizational constitution of ICASE was approved at the second meeting held at the University of Maryland, USA, on 15 April 1973. This inaugural meeting resulted in an interim Executive Committee under the Chairmanship of Professor David Lockard. Professor Dennis Chisman was appointed as the first Executive Secretary and Treasurer. He remained a leader in many projects for more than 30 years with ICASE and other international organisations. Dennis was twice presented with ICASE Awards and is affectionately known as “the Father of ICASE”. ICASE itself had no funds and no immediate funding source, however this obstacle was overcome in an interesting manner. Characteristic of the friendly atmosphere of ICASE meetings, one of the representatives from the Ghana Association of Science Teachers, Mr. John Kusi-Achampong, passed around a plate during the meeting and asked representatives to give whatever they could individually contribute in order to provide an immediate cash balance to launch ICASE. The first funding base for ICASE was therefore established and $250US was collected.

Today, ICASE membership spans the world led by an international executive committee and regional representatives from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Greater Middle East, and North America. ICASE closely follows its Constitution and Strategic Plan, and UNESCO continues to be involved in ICASE at a very high level.

The ICASE Executive Management Committee
The first Executive Committee Meeting, under the Chairmanship of Professor David Lockard, was held at UNESCO in Paris 1974. During the meeting, Dr. Victor Showalter, from the University of Maryland, USA, designed the five hexagons that represent the ICASE logo. The logo was later modified by adding color and also by creating both French and Spanish versions.

ICASE does not have individual members; rather it is governed by its member organisations which elect an Executive Committee, currently made up of 17 members. The day-to-day management is handled by an ICASE Executive Management Committee comprising the President, Immediate Past President, President-Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer. In addition, regional representatives, as well as the Chairs of several standing committees, also serve on the Executive Committee.

ICASE Past Presidents and Current Leadership
1973-1995: Dr. J. David Lockard (University of Maryland, USA)
1975-1978: Mr. B. G. Pitre (All India Science Teachers’ Association—AISTA)
1979-1981: Mr. Robert Silber (National Science Teachers Association of the U.S.—NSTA)
1981-1985: Mr. Brian Atwood (Association of Science Education of the UK—ASE)
1985-1989: Dr. Winston King (St. Vincent Science Teacher Association, Barbados)
1989-1993: Mr. Bob Lepischak (Canada Association of Science Education (ASE)
1993-1997: Dr. Brenton Honeyman (Australian Science Teacher Association—ASTA)
1997-2001: Ms. Anna Garner (Iceland Science Teacher Association—ISTA)
2001-2004: Dr. Robin Groves (Australian Science Teacher Association—ASTA)
2004-2007: Dr. Janchai Yingprayoon (Sc. Soc. Thailand – Sc. Teacher Sect.)
*2008-2011: Dr. Jack Holbrook (Hong Kong Association for Science and Mathematics Education—HKASME/EACT)
2011-2014: Dr. Ben Akpan (Science Teacher Association of Nigeria—STAN)
2014-2017: Dr. Teresa Kennedy (National Alliance of State Science & Mathematics Coalitions of the U.S.—NASSMC; the Texas STEM Center Coalition of the U.S.—T-STEM)
2017-2020: Dr.Bulent Cavas (Dokuz Eylul University - DEU)

*Dr. Peter Spratt, from the New Zealand Royal Society, was elected as President-Elect in 2004 but unfortunately passed away before he could take office as ICASE President in 2007. Since the position of ICASE President-Elect was vacant, the Executive Committee appointed Dr. Jack Holbrook to assume the presidency in February 2008.

ICASE Publications
ICASE operates internationally and includes member associations and organisations from around the world. Since it is difficult to bring teachers together for conferences and discussions on an international scale due to travel costs and accommodation expenses, ICASE has worked on developing networking opportunities through regional and world-wide projects as well as newsletters and publications that bring experiences from many countries to the attention of science teachers at the local, regional and international level.

Science Education International (SEI) is the quarterly journal of the International Council of Associations for Science Education (ICASE). Our journal provides a means for our member associations, institutions, centres, foundations, companies, and collaborating individuals concerned with science education to share perspectives, concerns, ideas, and information that will foster cooperative efforts to improve science education, and which will serve as a chronicle of the advancement of science education throughout the world. Further information can be found on the

The first ICASE Newsletter was published in November 1973 under the editorship of Dr. David Cohen, from New South Wales, Australia. Further editions were produced by Dr. Jan Vaernivijck from VeLeWe, from the Belguim Science Teacher Association. The newsletter editorship then passed to Dr. Jack Holbrook, representing HKASME, at the same time as he was appointed as the Executive Secretary, with Dr. Chisman continuing as honorary Treasurer. The newsletter was distributed biannually and continued until an official ICASE journal, Science Education International (SEI), was launched in March 1990 under the editorship of Dr. Brenton Honeyman representing ASTA. When Dr. Honeyman became ICASE president in 1993, the editorship was taken up by Dr. Robin Groves from ASTA, and later by Dr. Nicos Valanides, from Cyprus. The journal appeared online beginning in 2009 which allowed greater access to the publication. A second ICASE newsletter, Stepping into Science (STEP), with its first issues released in 1992, focused on primary science teachers. The STEP Newsletter, initially edited by Lady Sue Tunnicliffe, representing the the Association of Science Education (ASE) of the UK, was published twice per year and distributed to member associations as well as to a small band of subscribers. Successors included Dr. Lynda Paznokas, representing the Council of Elementary Science International (CESI) of the U.S., who also served as the Chair of the Primary Science Standing Committee, and Dr. Ian Milne, from the New Zealand Association for Science Education (NZASE). An online version of the ICASE newsletter, incorporating both the original concept and the primary newsletter, was initiated in 2008 and is currently edited by Dr. Jack Holbrook, under the Publications Standing Committee chaired by Dr. Bulent Cavas from Turkey.

ICASE has produced a range of publications, in addition to the Journals and newsletters, including conference and seminar reports, resource notes for teachers, a series of commemorative issues, research papers and a yearbook. Examples of commemorative booklets include:

• Halley’s Comet and the 200th Anniversary of Man’s First flight
• Experiments and Activities on the Three Laws of Dynamics
• Apollo 11
• Pasteur and Microbes
• The Status of Science-Technology-Society Reform Efforts Around the World
• ICASE The First 20 Years: A Brief History
• Who’s Who in Science Education Around the World
• Promoting Students’ Scientific and Technological Thinking
• The Training of Trainers (TOT) Manual for Promoting Scientific and Technological Literacy (STL) for All, supported by UNESCO
• Scientific and Technological Literacy: Supplementary Teaching Materials

ICASE Regional Meetings, Symposia and World Conferences
From 1977 to present, ICASE pioneered regional meetings in different parts of the world. The Asian region has been particularly active in this regard, hosting ICASE meetings in India (1977), Philippines (1979), Singapore (1981), Hong Kong (1982), Malaysia (1986), Brunei (1989), China (1991), Sri Lanka (1992), Thailand (1994), and Pakistan (1997).

In 1993, UNESCO, in collaboration with ICASE, convened an international forum entitled
Project 2000+: Scientific and Technological Literacy for All (STL). The purpose of this event was to establish a global agenda encouraging governments and all stakeholders to work on reforming science and technology education for all. Project 2000+ continued after the forum under the chairmanship of UNESCO resulting in articles published in UNESCO newsletters and workshops promoting the development of teaching materials for STL in a number of countries around the world. In 1999, a World Conference on Science was held in Budapest. This important event was sponsored by UNESCO, the International Council for Science (ICSU—formerly called the International Council of Scientific Unions, founded in 1931 as an international non-governmental organization devoted to international co-operation in the advancement of science), and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS). The conference negotiated a new social contract for science education in the 21st Century, identifying the efforts that needed to be made in response to social expectations and the challenges posed by social and human development. ICASE representatives from around the world were active participants in this conference and the resultant documentation.

Likewise, the International Experts Conference on Science, Technology and Mathematics Education for Human Development, held in November 2001 in Goa, India, was organized by UNESCO and the Commonwealth Association of Science, Technology and Mathematics Educators (CASTME), a professional organization located in London, England, focused on linking Science, Technology and Mathematics (STM) Educators across the Commonwealth, with Regional Branches in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Europe. Discussions at the event concluded that “the distinctive feature of Science, Technology, Mathematics and Education (STME), in its attempts to encourage scientific and technological literacy, is the emphasis on societal needs and the importance of developing an ethos of social responsibility in the development and application of science and technology.” ICASE put forward a background paper during this conference entitled “Statements on Policies, Standards, Relevance and Links for Science and Technology (and Mathematics) education.” This paper formulated the organizational structure for future ICASE world gatherings. In the early years of the 21st century, ICI (a Chemistry Industry, formerly known as Imperial Chemicals Incorporated) teamed up with ICASE and supported several workshops as well as the first ICASE World Conference, held in Penang, Malaysia, in 2003.

ICASE World Conferences

Since 2003, ICASE has held a World Conferences on Science and Technology Education every 3-4 year period in order to provide opportunities for practitioners, from national and regional science teacher associations, and other interested groups, to share experiences, skills, and knowledge, within a networked community and in a collegial atmosphere. These conferences also enable delegates from all member organisations to work together to further the ICASE Strategic Plan, and to identify structures and initiatives to be undertaken to meet the future goals of ICASE. During these events, ICASE holds a General Assembly meeting, the decision making forum for ICASE, and also the time when new ICASE officers are elected. The ICASE General Assembly provides an opportunity for Presidents, Chairs, and CEOS of science associations to share ideas and issues. All member organisations are welcome to send delegations to attend each ICASE General Assembly, with one (1) voting representative, and additional delegation members attending as observers. Each member organisation may allocate one (1) proxy vote to another conference delegate if a member is unable to attend. The Chisman Oration, the major evening address at International Council of Associations for Science Education (ICASE) World Conferences, is named in honour of Dennis Chisman (1928 - 2008). ICASE World Conferences have been held in the following locations:

• First ICASE World Conference: Penang, Malaysia, 2003, held in conjunction with the South East Ministers of Education Regional Centre for Science and Mathematics Education (SEAMEO-RECSAM). A major ICASE outcome for the conference was a Way Forward document endorsed by the participants, promoting the initialization of national developments towards the creation of stakeholder partnerships for the promotion of meaningful and relevant science education. UNESCO took a leading role in this conference.
• The Second ICASE World Conference: Perth, Australia, 2007, held in conjunction with the Australian Science Teachers Association of Australia (ASTA) and the Western Australian Association for Science Teachers (WAAST). During the event, ICASE assisted UNESCO to run an international policy forum for science educators.
• The Third ICASE World Conference: Tartu, Estonia, 2010, held in conjunction with the University of Tartu and the Estonian Association of Chemistry Teachers (EACT). The featured Keynote Speaker was from UNESCO.
• The Fourth ICASE World Conference was held in Kuching, Malaysia, located in the state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo, 2013. The event was hosted by the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS). Once again, UNESCO took a leading role in the conference and provided the opening for the conference, a highlighted key note speech as well as assisted with the declaration resulting from the meeting. The event brought together science teachers, professors, and researchers, scientists, policy makers, and leaders from science teachers associations around the world.

• The Fifth ICASE World Conference will be held in Antalya, Turkey on September-2016 (Detailed information will be available on the )

Additional Conferences and Symposia have been held around the world either solely by ICASE or ICASE in conjunction with others. Examples include:
• Sustainable Development for a New World Agenda, Winnipeg, Canada, 1990.
• Empirical Research in Mathematics and Science Education Symposia were held biannually in conjunction with the University of Dortmund Germany, under the chairmanship of Dr. Hans-Jurgen Schmidt, from 1986 until 1996.
• A series of Industry-Education Liaison Meetings were first held in Brussels in 1990, in conjunction with European Federation of Industry Associations (CEFIC), and culminated in an Industry-Education Partnership Conference in York, UK, in 2000, sponsored by CEFIC.

ICASE World Conference Declarations
World Conference Declarations are prepared at each conference by ICASE delegates. These declarations are intended to assist science teacher organisations in lobbying governments in regards to policy. All declarations are listed on the ICASE website, along with the ICASE Constitution and Strategic Plan.

UNESCO and ICASE: Forming links with organisations around the world
ICASE is dependent on its member organisations that form the Governing Body of the organization. ICASE also maintains important relationships with many organisations around the world to ensure that a collaborative international community of science educators can thrive. Partnership with UNESCO, the founding organization, remains an important objective of ICASE. Since the first meeting of ICASE members in 1973, UNESCO has been very supportive and involved in ICASE activities, and has also assisted with many research projects and activities undertaken by ICASE membership.
ICASE is recognized by UNESCO as an official collaborating Non-governmental organization (NGO) and important stakeholder. Members of the ICASE Executive Committee, as well as representatives from ICASE member organisations, are frequently invited by UNESCO to take part in consultation meetings and as well as the Collective Consultation of NGOs on Education for All CCNGO/EFA, a key mechanism within the UNESCO Education Sector created to facilitate reflection, continuous dialogue and joint action between NGOs and UNESCO in the area of Education for All (EFA). ICASE regularly receives documents pertaining to UNESCO science education initiatives and disseminates these materials to the international ICASE community through the ICASE website, at all ICASE world and regional conferences, as well as through the ICASE Newsletter.

ICASE is listed on the UNESCO website on the restricted area only for UNESCO NGO Section:

The role that ICASE plays with UNESCO is outlined on the following page: 

UNESCO and ICASE further the goal of extending and improving scientific and technological literacy for children and young people throughout the world through their respective networks.

ICASE extends sincere thanks to UNESCO, and to our member organisations, for their continued support.