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National Recommendations

Teaching evolutionary biology at schools and universities (2017)

Importance and perspectives

(2017, 56 pages, 10 Figures, 3 Tables, ISBN: 978-3-8047-3739-6)

Biological evolution is the unifying, overarching explanatory principle of the life sciences. Evolutionary biology provides humans insights into perception of themself, their relationship with the environment, their health, their social interactions, their economic dealings, and their cultural development. That is why a knowledge of the basic tenets of evolutionary biology on the development of life on earth combined with a deeper understanding of the mechanisms and dynamics of evolutionary processes, are absolutely fundamental to the teaching of natural sciences at schools and universities.

Although some improvements have been made in recent years, a considerable disparity still exists between the importance of modern insights of evolutionary biology and how the subject is taught at German schools and universities. The status of evolutionary biology at German universities declined in the decades following the Second World War due to the misappropriation under National Socialism of what were purportedly laws of evolutionary biology. As a result, research in the field was temporarily disconnected from international developments, and teaching content was not updated sufficiently. So as far as research and teaching in the subject is concerned, there is a need for a fresh start to be made at universities by recruiting appropriate staff and setting priorities.


Elmar König

Head of Department Science – Policy – Society, Head of Berlin Office

Phone 030 203 8997 - 865
E-Mail elmar.koenig (at)leopoldina.org