Making sense of STEM Education:Science Technology Engineering and Math
STEM or Science Technology Engineering and Math education is the education policy and curriculum choices adopted by schools across the world to increase competitiveness in technology development. The focus is on these areas together not because the skills and knowledge in these disciplines are essential for students’ success, but also because these fields are intertwined with the real world and in the process of how students learn most effectively.
The STEM is essentially an interdisciplinary and applied approach that is coupled with hands-on, problem-based learning. It directly affects workforce development, immigration policy, and national security concerns.
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National Science Foundation (NSF) of US has given a broader definition of STEM subjects that includes all subjects in the fields of computer and information technology science, chemistry, geosciences, mathematical sciences, life sciences, astronomy, and physics as well as social sciences like anthropology, psychology, economics, sociology etc.
Need for STEM subjects
World over, it is agreed that students are graduating from schools without being sufficiently equipped and prepared to continue to enter the STEM workforce. Presently, there are more jobs available in STEM fields than qualified job seekers. Alongside our need for a skilled workforce specializing in the STEM, it is crucial that all young people regardless of their career pathway in the future, have the STEM skills and knowledge they need to be proactive and informed citizens in an increasingly technological and scientific society.
A STEM-literate student is considered to be not only an innovator and critical thinker, but can also make meaningful connections between school, work, community, and global issues. A student literate in STEM subjects during high school can enroll in an undergraduate course of study in science, technology, engineering, and math easily. STEM skills are necessary to engage in our knowledge-based economy. There are strong pieces of evidence to suggest that the highest-wage and fastest-growing jobs in the near future will be from STEM fields and all employees will thus need to utilize STEM skills for problem-solving for a wide range of industries.
STEM supports broadening the study of engineering and related sciences within each of the other subjects, along with beginning engineering studies at younger classes, even elementary school. It is believed STEM education should be brought to all students rather than only the gifted and scientifically inclined students.
The STEM Crisis
The United States National Academies expressed concerns about the declining state of STEM education in the United States in 2006. Their committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy developed a list of ten actions and their top three recommendations were as follow -
- Improve the skills of teachers through additional training in science, mathematics, and technology i.e. STEM subjects.
- Increase the talent pool of US by improving science and mathematics education in schools, beginning from Kindergarten right till the end of high school.
- Enlarge the talent pool STEM subjects by increasing the number of students prepared to enter college and graduate in STEM degrees.
A qualified STEM workforce is crucial to business and industry in the world presently and in future as well. STEM graduates can expect to receive the highest salaries among all new recruits. STEM studies also develop the type of numerical and analytical skills that are prized across career pathways. Fresh graduates with STEM qualifications are therefore better prepared for employment in non-STEM fields, as well as STEM jobs.
Showing students the range of opportunities from STEM studies
Careers-related learning includes formal careers information like advice and guidance, and informal careers information like the interaction with employers during education or training/work experience. A young person’s broader life experience through informal learning, interaction with STEM professionals in everyday life, to ideas drawn from peers, family, and media all play an important role in showing them the kind of lifestyle options STEM offers.
It should be essential that all young students have access to high-quality careers advice and guidance to illustrate the range of career opportunities that STEM studies opens up to them. The best careers-related learning is provided by a clear approach across schools and colleges towards raising awareness of potential career routes. Activities within the curriculum, work experience, and informal discussion between teachers and parents, all contribute to this experience.
Teachers who teach STEM subjects are an important pathway to careers information for young people. Additionally, well-produced resources are available in western countries, which the teachers may integrate into their teaching in order to increase students’ awareness of potential career routes.
Also read: Reasons Why You Should Study STEM Subjects
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