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STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and encompasses a vast array of subjects that fall into each of those terms. While it is almost impossible to list every discipline, some common STEM areas include aerospace engineering, astrophysics, astronomy, biochemistry, biomechanics, chemical engineering, chemistry, civil engineering, computer science, mathematical biology, nanotechnology, neurobiology, nuclear physics, physics, and robotics, among many, many others. As evidenced by the multitude of disciplines, it’s clear that STEM fields affect virtually every component of our everyday lives.
Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders. Occupations in STEM-related careers are some of the fastest growing and best paid of the 21st century, and they often have the greatest potential for job growth.
Students are extremely curious and impressionable, so instilling an interest at an early age could spark a lasting desire to pursue a career in any of these fields. By the time a student is ready to enter the workforce, they must have enough knowledge to make invaluable contributions to our nation’s STEM industries. It is also important that schools have an ample amount of teachers who are experts in STEM, and these subjects should always be considered as high demand subjects.
We are now at a stage where the number of STEM jobs are growing at a fast pace and currently outstripping the number of STEM graduates. According to 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. Despite having the top quality talent, the exam-focused education model of the past has limited these students when it comes to innovation, problem-solving and creativity. This is where the STEM players come in to fill this gap.
Research shows that children develop interest in STEM fields at an average age of eight. This is due to the fact that technology, gadgets and gizmos fascinate them. But, the leap from being a user of technology to an innovator rarely happens and, if at all, it is a very slow transition. The link between engineering-technology-entrepreneurship is evidently missing in India.
It is essential that schools are provided with the tools and funding to build STEM into their curriculum and bring it to life in the classroom, inspiring the next generation of coders. Since the last few years, STEM developers have been incorporating innovative techniques to ensure that children are more inclined as well as interested in the ‘do it yourself’ method.
One of the biggest challenges involved in the implementation of STEM education is to design infrastructure, curriculum and to equip children with the best guidance and support.
Being the second most populated country with unmatched talent and culture, India needs a combined support from government and other education societies to avail the opportunity and benefits of STEM education. Now, with the Government of India also focussing on campaigns such as ‘Make in India’ Innovation Mission, there is focus on developing innovation and manufacturing right from schools. This will be the right time for India to rise to the challenge and develop a culture of application-based learning and innovation among the schools, students, colleges, and teachers.