STEM Learning is an approach to learning and development that integrates the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. STEM learning over the years has evolved as a philosophy of multi-disciplinary approach that is critical for imparting new-age skills of problem solving, creativity, critical analysis etc. among students.
The need and importance of STEM learning has been recognised for a long time now but all-pervasive technological advancements have made it a critical requirement for any modern education system.
In India, there have been many discussions for popularisation of science and developing scientific temper but STEM education has not got its due importance in our education system. We have seen many advancements like smart classes, e-learning, assessments tools etc being implemented on a rapid pace but spread of STEM education has not happened at the pace that it deserved.
STEM learning at schools continues to struggle for lack of basic elements like availability of curriculum, teaching and learning resources, dedicated lab infrastructure, Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Kits, etc among others. STEM education in fact, has been seen like a diversion in a system that has always had an exam centric and rote learning-based approach. This approach in a way ensured that learning took a back seat and culture of research could never flourish.
While, in general, this gap has been recognised and some steps have been taken in the past few years, the much-awaited Nation Education Policy 2020 (NEP) may finally prove to be the catalyst that was required for boosting STEM learning in India.
“In India, there have been many discussions for popularisation of science and developing scientific temper but STEM education has not got its due importance in our education system”
NEP was approved by the Union Cabinet on July 29th, 2020. NEP was expected to fill the many gaps that our education system currently has and it has indeed not disappointed on most parameters. It lays down a broad framework for many reforms to address the gaps.
One of the major focuses for NEP is to change the current education system of rote learning to evidence based and hands-on learning. NEP recognises and sets a path for a multi-disciplinary approach to education which is philosophically aligned to STEM learning.
NEP emphasises on schools to have more experiment-based classes and hand-on learning. It also recognises that evidence-based learning, scientific temper and coding skills should be imparted in the students.
Introduction of coding from class 6 onwards is a very welcome step which will strengthen STEM learning. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Block Programming will be incorporated in school education that will lay a solid foundation for key skills required for 21st century careers.
Many other initiatives from government as well as EdTech companies to set-up STEM Labs with upcoming technologies like tinkering labs, 3D printing, electronics, IoT and sensors are bringing STEM to life in school classrooms.
With various countries, such as South Korea, Japan, Germany, focusing on STEM learning for their educational and economical growth, quick implementation of STEM learning in India can prove to be a great initiative for the students and societies. NEP is going to put in place the desired framework for proliferation of STEM learning that will prove to be key for the government’s clarion call of Atma Nirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India).