Education

Innovation is the key

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths, collectively known as STEM, are the four primary academic disciplines currently responsible for driving the entire world’s economy and maintaining our general well-being. STEM education is the need of the hour to help students make the leap from users of technology to innovators.

As a result, it has found application in a wide variety of industries and job roles including aerospace engineering, astrophysics, biochemistry, chemical and civil engineering, computer science, nanotechnology, robotics, and more.

A robust STEM education creates critical thinkers, problem-solvers, and next generation innovators. Taking into consideration that India is one of the countries that produces the highest number of scientists and engineers, the growth of STEM has picked up significantly over the last few years.

Today, India needs education systems that help prepare the next generation of talent in India. Currently, there is a growing demand for STEM education in India which is putting a lot of pressure on the academic institutions to churn out highly skilled graduates.

According to the National Science Foundation, 80% of the jobs created in the next decade will require more of math and science skills. A robust STEM education creates critical thinkers, problem-solvers, and next generation innovators. Over the few years, the growth of STEM has picked up significantly in India. It has reached a stage, where the number of STEM jobs is outpacing the number of STEM graduates.

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, and entrepreneurship is evidently missing in India.

Many STEM companies are working with schools to help them set up STEM centres, Tinkering and Innovation labs with upcoming technologies like artificial intelligence, 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, and so on.

New ‘entry level’ coding devices are coming into the market that provide schools with the ability to teach simple coding and bring STEM to life in the classroom.

Challenges

One of the biggest challenges involved in the implementation of STEM education is designing infrastructure, curriculum and equipping children with the best guidance, pedagogy and support. Another challenge could be funding. Schools require money for construction of Maker spaces, DIY (Do it Yourself) tools, and best computers, which are some of the basic aspects of the STEM education.

Countries around the world are adopting this methodology by introducing national curricula that set frameworks and projects which apply the STEM methodology.

Several countries, upon realising the potential of a STEM-incorporated programme, have risen to the occasion and persuaded their respective governments, districts and schools to make the transition.

Being the second most populated country with unmatched talent and culture, India needs a combined support from government and other education societies to avail of the opportunity and benefits of STEM education. Now, with the Government of India also focussing on projects such as Atal Tinkering Labs, focus on quality in Sarva Shikhsha Abhiyan and the soon-to-be unveiled New Policy of Education(NPE), there is a greater 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 STEM-focussed learning and innovation among academic institutions, students and teachers.

The writer is Founder, STEMROBO Technologies.


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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 8:53:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/innovation-is-the-key/article30887262.ece

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