What is a STEM Education and Why Is It Important?
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are fields that form the backbone of all progress in India and abroad. STEM education is vital for everyone and is the path that transcends into future. All development and research is possible only with the use of STEM fields that shape our everyday experiences. Science is about everything around us, be it natural or man-made. Technology is the science that strives to make lives easier through inventions that can be of general or specific use. Engineering is the application of those concepts to solve real world problems and is the basis of all development. As far as Mathematics is involved, every other STEM field encounters mathematics at some point or other. Hence, STEM is important as it pervades every aspect in our lives.
The technological era in which we live, it is prudent for every child to grasp the basics of STEM education and if interested, to explore a career in it. In 2009, the United States Department of Labor listed the ten most wanted employees. Eight of those employees were ones with degrees in the STEM fields: accounting, computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, information sciences and systems, computer engineering, civil engineering, and economics and finance. According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, while others are growing at 9.8%. Health care workers with associate degrees to doctors of medicine will average 20% more in life time earnings than peers with similar degrees in non-health care. A glance at 2010 starting salaries for engineers with $47,145 for civil engineers to $60,054 for chemical engineers is strong evidence that STEM related jobs can be financially rewarding careers for our children.
STEM education is most effective during middle school when it is easier to imbibe and implement. A way of encouraging it is to foster a link between STEM and their own experiences, such as explaining how technology enhances their life, and how STEM is literally all around them but often gets taken for granted, such as electricity and cars. Regularly talking about science news, and the amazing discoveries and strides that are being made will also inspire them to explore these fields.
Apart from the benefits involved in these interesting and lucrative fields, it is the need for exploration that should motivate students to pursue careers in them. Even those who don’t wish to opt for a STEM based career, should at least have some idea about its components, as they form a crucial part of all technologies and devices used in our day-to-day life. High quality STEM experiences develop critical thinking skills, increase science literacy, and enable the next generation of innovators. By increasing youth’s science attitude, identity, and engagement, we can have a positive & lasting impact on the youth. STEM skills are needed for navigating the modern world and competing in the 21st century job market.
Some people are so passionate regarding Science and technology that they love their jobs in these fields and always look forward to more. So, the gist of all interests is to do what you love. Even if your grades weren’t the best, even if your pay isn’t as high as you’d like, pursuing what you love is a reward all its own. STEM education enhances creativity and decidability of an individual and should hence be encouraged, if not as a career then at least through hobbies and activities that promote them.