Dubai: If there was any doubt or debate till now as to the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and how deeply entrenched it is in our lives, the pandemic has swiftly pushed all fence-sitters over to the side of conviction. Never before in modern history, and we talk of just the last 40 odd years, has mankind relied so utterly and completely on technology to help survive a catastrophe of such magnitude that it has impacted almost every human being on earth in some way or the other.
When we refer to STEM, it’s not just coding and lab coats. It’s the underpinning of manufacturing, food production, health care, and so much more that we take for granted, but surely can’t live without.
The future has arrived and it requires a STEM-literate generation. STEM-based education teaches children more than science and mathematics concepts, it teaches 21st-century skills. These include media and technology literacy, productivity, social skills, communication, flexibility and initiative. Other skills attained are problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, decision making, leadership, entrepreneurship, acceptance of failure and more.
Explorers, Investigators, Innovators
"It wasn't a long time ago when people thought of STEM as part of a plant, python as an aggressive reptile and raspberry as a delicious fruit - times have changed" says Sunita Chadha, Founder & CEO of Science Xplorers. “At Science Xplorers we help children to understand science in a way that bring science to life. We set our students on the path of wondrous exploration and as they progress they become instinctive investigators, they acquire the ability to think critically and become creative, which is the basis of Innovation. It is an established fact that Innovation is the basis of economic growth.”
STEM is growing so fast that we can’t even imagine what tomorrow brings. In the late eighties and early nineties data was transported on floppy discs, limited in capacity to 1.2MB. Then came Compact Discs which revolutionised data porting as they could carry 600MB. Before we knew it in the 00’s CDs were a thing of the past and now all data is on the cloud, unfathomable quantities of it driving the heart and engines of technology all over the planet. Children today can’t imagine how their parents survived without laptops or iPads. The next generation of children will probably not know how to write with pencils because learning would have become completely digital!
The thing about STEM is that it won’t stop evolving. AI and machine learning? Cybersecurity? Shopping apps? A watch that monitors your oxygen levels? These were all “unbelievable things” till just 10 years ago, but they are reality now. All powered by path-breaking work by STEM experts. STEM jobs are ubiquitous and growing and as educators we have an obligation to train our children to be prepared for a knowledge and technology driven world.