Petnica Science Center is the biggest and the oldest independent non-profit organization for extracurricular science education in Southeast Europe. Since 1982 Petnica has organized more than 3,000 programs (seminars, workshops, research camps, summer schools) for nearly 50,000 students and science teachers in 15 disciplines of science, technology and humanities.
Petnica Science Center campus is located in the village of Petnica near Valjevo (Western Serbia). Hotel (170 beds), restaurant (400 seats), laboratory facility, conference facilities, and a library are available at the campus. In 2012 Petnica Science Center campus was reconstructed following a multimillion euro investment, and at this point it probably represents the most modern center for extracurricular science education of young people in Europe.
Majority of programs are designed for secondary-school students although there are a lot of programs for primary-school pupils, university students and science teachers. Main conception of Petnica activities is the model called Learning through Reserach (similar to Inquiry Based Science Education in regular schools). Attendants of regular Petnica programs are coming from all countries of former Yugoslavia and all these courses are being realized in Serbian language. However, Petnica also organizes programs in English for international participants.
The main goals of PSC programs are:
- to identify gifted secondary-school and university students and to give them intensive extracurricular education,
- to enable extraordinary motivated students to learn through research and therefore develop rational, critical and creative thinking,
- to enable best students to do real scientific projects based under the supervision of best scientists and science teachers,
- to instruct young science teachers on how to apply up-to-date scientific concepts, knowledge, educational methods and technology,
- to initiate cooperation and exchange of experiences and ideas among students interested in different science disciplines and
- to establish rich international and intercultural contacts and co-operation among young people, students and teachers.