The present-day needs of developing India require it to adopt several scientific and technological innovations. As a result, education sector is facing a lot of challenges in meeting the skill demands. Offering a solution to this, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is emerging as the new alternative of futuristic education, writes Rashi Aditi Ghosh of Elets News Network (ENN).
Need of the Hour
With the traditional teaching methodology having undergone a sea-change, students can today experience different connotations by ‘doing and learning by themselves’ style. And, this is where STEM education comes into picture.
In India, STEM Education is relatively a new term which has drawn much attention off late. In contrast to the belief that India produces the highest number of scientists and engineers, the growth of STEM education had been slow till few years ago.
But in the last decade or so, with the mushrooming of many STEM education companies in the country, the Indian education system seems to be on the right track for development.
“STEM education is a modern day approach, designed to initiate revolution in the field of education.“
Understanding STEM Education
STEM education is a modern day approach, designed to initiate revolution in the field of education. It holds a lot of significance in today’s world as it enables the students to learn in a systematic and logical manner, be future ready. With the launch of Narendra Modi-led government’s initiatives like “Make in India”, that pledges to make the country a manufacturing hub, the demand to produce skilled manpower trained in the field of science and technology has risen exponentially.
To cope up with developing technology, students have to face lot of challenges and develop their capabilities much beyond expected. They need to update, explore and improve their knowledge by various means. “To compete with modern society students must develop skills such as adaptability, communication, social skills, problem solving, self management etc. Education should provide opportunity for students to develop these 21st century skills,” says S. Ayyappan Nair, Academic Director, BGS Group of Institutions.
Significance in India
Though edu-experts world over have realised that STEM education is the need of the hour, does it hold relevance for India? India has the highest number of students in the world at 315 million, according to Census 2011. Still there is a huge gap between the skills offered and industrial demand. The reasons of this discrepancy could be many i.e. lack of academic infrastructure, innovative and interactive course methodology, qualified teachers etc.
Official data shows that less than one per cent of the students pursuing higher studies choose research-oriented courses. Offering a promising solution to this grim scenario, STEM education is emerging as the new face of futuristic education. Since 2012, with the advent of STEM education in India, science and technology has got a remarkable facelift.
“It intends to facilitate the learning of Science and Mathematics on a robotic platform. It offers a hands-on, enjoyable environment to learn Science, Mathematics and the emerging science of robotics,” according to Vaibhav Kapoor, Principal, Ajanta Public School (Gurugram).
Considering the Indian Education Sector, the advent of STEM Education has acted as “a catalyst and accelerated the development of students’ skills and understanding”
STEM education might have a progressive approach but it faces several challenges as far as its implementation in concerned.
According to Nair, of the BGS Group of Institutions, implementation of STEM has the following hurdles:
- There are no clear guidelines on how to implement STEM.
- It is completely based on technology but some schools in India do not use technology.
- Unsure about qualified STEM teachers.
- Lack of good infrastructure.
Citing the financial backwardness as one of the major challenges, Kapoor from Ajanta Public School, adds: “A majority of India’s population still lives in economically backward conditions. Under such circumstances it is extremely difficult to keep pace with the scientific and technological advancements.
Speaking about the need of the leaders for enabling optimum implementation of STEM, Anuradha Govind, Principal, JM International School (New Delhi), said: “Bigger challenge is actually the conventional mindset and limited exposure of educators to this kind of path- breaking innovation.”
However, under the leadership of “visionary torch-bearers and with the regular practical training of teachers in the well equipped labs, will gradually transform teachers, developing the scientific or we say STEMific temperament in teachers which will certainly be infectious to our students.”