‘STEM Education’ stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, and is relatively a new term in the Indian education sector. A robust STEM education creates critical thinkers, problem-solvers, and next – generation innovators. The growth of STEM has picked up significantly over the last few years, considering the fact that India is one of the countries that produce the highest number of scientists and engineers.
Currently, the number of STEM jobs is growing at a fast pace in our nation, outstripping the number of STEM graduates. As per the National Science Foundation, it is predicted that 80% of the jobs created in the next decade will require some form of math and science skills. The exam-focused education model of the past has limited these students despite having the top quality talent when it comes to innovation, problem-solving and creativity. This is where the STEM players come in to fill this gap.
Verizon, a communication technology giant recently announced the winners of their annual Innovative Learning App Challenge. In the challenge, middle and high school students across the U.S. were challenged to develop mobile app concepts that solve a problem in their local communities. It promoted teamwork, critical thinking, problem-solving, STEM skills and coding, and attracted over 1,800 submissions, with awards available at state, regional and national levels. In our homeland too, there is a lot of innovation taking place with regard to STEM:
- The education sector is looking beyond smart classrooms towards hands-on learning and STEM enhancement on their current information and communications technology and smart class platforms.
- Many STEM companies and schools are working towards setting up STEM centres and tinkering labs with upcoming technologies like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.
- The government is looking to help educational institutions to upgrade their library infrastructures with more engaging learning assets and management tools, and implementing Learning Management Systems, assessment systems, language labs, library management system, gamification, etc.
- New ‘entry level’ coding devices are coming to market that provides schools with the ability to teach simple coding and bring STEM to life in the classroom.
India, the second most populated country with unmatched talent and culture needs a combined support from government and other education societies to avail the opportunity and benefits of STEM education. With the focus on ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ campaigns, this is the right time to rise to the challenge and develop a culture of application-based learning and innovation among the schools, students, colleges, and teachers.