Besides permeating the school curriculum in a way that other subjects taught in isolation cannot, STEM imparts students with skills that can benefit them beyond formal education. However, STEM programs take a lot of instructional time, often providing students with experiences that traditional classrooms cannot.
If you’re wondering if integrating STEM education in schools is important, here are some reasons why:
What is STEM Education?
Before looking at why STEM education is important, it is worth understanding what is STEM education? STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Science is everywhere, and technology is rapidly becoming a part of most facets of human life. On the other hand, modern engineering practices provide basic designs of buildings, roads, and other constructions while ensuring that they are environmentally friendly to minimize global weather changes. Lastly, math is applicable in almost every occupation and activity.
Exposing learners to STEM education and allowing them to experience various STEM-related concepts, either in class or through educational software, enables them to develop interest and hopefully pursue careers in the STEM field. However, the STEM curriculum should reflect real-life situations for better learning outcomes. STEM activities should be both minds-on and hands-on for students to learn better.
Why STEM Education?
According to a report by the National Science Foundation, scientific and technological inventions are becoming increasingly important, especially in the 21st century, as the world faces challenges and benefits of knowledge-based economies and globalization. For students to succeed in the highly technological era of information, they should improve their capabilities through STEM. Below are some general impacts and benefits of STEM education.
1. Prepares STEM Experts
Introducing students to STEM education gives them skills that make them employable in the current labor market. Each component of STEM significantly contributes to providing a comprehensive education.
For instance, science enables learners to understand the world better, improves their critical thinking and research skills. Technology prepares them for a future environment full of technological innovations. Engineering helps improve students’ problem-solving skills and apply their knowledge to new projects, while math enables them to analyze data.
Generally, STEM education combines all these disciplines cohesively, putting learners in a position to transform society through innovative and sustainable solutions. Apart from these fundamental disciplines, the approach to STEM education also fosters divergent thinking and creativity.
2. Helps Learners Develop Sustainable Solutions
All STEM subjects focus on providing sustainable solutions to current challenges faced by society. For instance, the world is currently grappling with the reality of worldwide vaccinations in a bid to mitigate the CoronaVirus pandemic. Fortunately, it is through STEM that new robots that perform vaccinations without needles have been developed.
That aside, many other issues affect the general health and well-being of living organisms in the world. This is why finding sustainable solutions is currently the most urgent goal of STEM disciplines. For instance, more than 70% of youth are worried about global warming and its effects. Fortunately, STEM education can provide answers to their worries by enabling them to devise relevant solutions to steer sustainable development.
Proper education is important in ensuring the development of a STEM-literate society. Educated members of society can easily find alternative practices that are environmentally friendly. Note that every nation’s economic and social growth is highly dependent on the environment.
3. Improved Social Awareness
Advancing technology means that the demand for STEM skills is continually on the rise. In the years to come, STEM skills and experience will be a key requirement for anyone looking for employment opportunities, whether or not the target job is closely related to tech. STEM education also allows learners to venture into exciting careers.
Currently, the demand for individuals with STEM skills cannot be matched with its supply. Besides, the BLS estimates that the U.S. alone will require more than one million STEM experts in the future. Fortunately, among the many STEM initiatives is encouraging broad participation, especially by women and minorities. This will fill not only the available demand for a qualified workforce but also bright long-standing gender and ethnic gaps.
The world is changing, and everyone should keep tabs on these changes. Introducing STEM education to young learners is breeding a new society full of valuable skills for most professions.