What Is STEM Education And Why Is It Valuable?

What Is STEM Education And Why Is It Valuable?

girl experimenting with robotics and engineering

The career paths for children interested in science or math may not always lead to the traditional roles associated with them. In present times, the demand for skills taught in these courses have extended beyond their industries. One such example is STEM.

STEM is a relatively new education curriculum that incorporates subjects under science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  Despite its lack prevalence, the demand for its skill set has been steadily increasing over time. In order to help you understand what makes STEM a viable pursuit for your child, we have crafted this article. In it, we will be explaining the importance of STEM, its various aspects and the career prospects.

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

Being a blended programme, STEM brings your child on a journey through its four main pillars. Here is a preview of each.

Science in STEM

Science in STEM incorporates its fundamental subjects of biology, chemistry and physics. In addition to which, there is a focus using technology, engineering and math to aid these subjects. For example, rather having the discussion around the theory of states of matter, students will also cover the technology required to bring drastic changes to it.

Technology in STEM

Technology in STEM covers topics such as digital modelling, prototyping, 3D printing, programming, Internet of Things and machine learning. These topics equipped your child with the knowledge to implement technology as a medium for problem solving.

Engineering in STEM

Engineering in STEM includes a various segments of engineering – civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and robotics.

Math in STEM

Math in STEM helps to empower the other subjects in STEM. Familiar topics such as algebra, geometry and calculus are key to understanding advance solutions for the real world.

The Importance of STEM

The STEM curriculum or path was created in response to the demand for cross-trained individuals. It shines brightest in an ever volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world. As our world has advanced, more and more tricky questions are arising. Many of which require an inter-disciplinary approach to problem solving.

Originally, organizations responded to such challenges by assembling multi-functional teams. These teams would comprise of talents from varying specialities and backgrounds. The idea here was to gather input from individuals that represented the different subjects on a matter. From there, a more complete solution could be derived.

STEM is an extension of this approach, where each student is trained in a multi-faceted curriculum. The hope is that they will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to tackle complex problems that transcend STEM’s individual fields.

Skills Acquired in STEM

doctor using advance science technology

Other than studying the various subjects under STEM, students can also expect to be trained in a variety of skills. These would include:

  • Critical thinking and 360 problem solving
  • Ability to communicate and work with specialists in their individual fields
  • Digital literacy
  • Creativity

This is list by no means exhaustive, with many other useful skills being available to graduates from STEM programs. Most importantly, these skills are placed at a premium due to their association with organizational productivity and innovation. Essentially, with these skills, your children will be highly valued in any industry or organization, thus granting them career mobility.

Fields that Benefit Most From STEM

For many parents such as yourself, up to this point, you may not be clear on the exact careers that your child could have after following STEM. As such, here is a list of different fields that have a strong demand for STEM:

  • Aerospace engineering
  • Astronomy
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemical engineering
  • Civil engineering
  • Computer science
  • Psychology

On one hand, a graduate might take a straightforward career path of joining the aerospace engineering industry as an aircraft designer. His or her knowledge in science, technology, engineering and mathematics allows for strong communication with specialists on the team. Your child would be the central command or coordinator that allows for the efficient design of a new state of the art aircraft.

On other hand, the same graduate could be joining a giant in the sportswear industry, helping to design functional yet fashionable sports apparel. Soon, the newest running footwear which provides stability, cushion and speed all while being highly attractive in appearance could be designed by your child.

Fuelling the Demand for STEM

Up to this point, we have repeatedly mentioned how the current rapid changes in the world has led to the rise of complex problems. It is now time to explore the nature of 3 of these issues and how STEM is related to them.

Big Data

Big data has become a buzzword in the current century. For years, we have gathered large amounts of data with no real means of efficiently analysing and utilising them. This has changed with the advent of big data.

Big data is a field in which gigantic sums of data are analysed, systematically extracted, understood contextually and used for solution implementation in real time. Given the enormous amount of processing power required to achieve such, traditional data-processing application software are insufficient.

Given the void of suitable technology, STEM professionals are in demand to help create effective platforms for this cause. In addition, where data specialists fall short is the inability to fully contextualise data at times. STEM professionals are thus highly suitable to fill this gap due to their crossed trained background in multiple areas.

Global Warming

global warming leads to cracked ground with single flower

Global warming is the ongoing rise in average temperature around the world. Based on scientific studies, it has potentially catastrophic effects on both the natural and human world. For example, island nations are highly exposed to rising seas levels that come about from the melting of the world’s ice caps.

The complexity of global warming requires multi-faceted solutions. Be it the implementation of green energy or technology to better understand the effect of global warming on different environments.

STEM professionals are thus well placed to help conceptualise and breakdown the complex issues posed by global warming. After which, clear communications and discussions can be held with the specialists in each field in order to put forth a coordinated effort.

Job Automation

robots automation for job

Automation has brought about increased productivity and organization resource efficiency. However, current automation technologies have much room to grow. Smarter technologies will allow organizations to produce results with increased precision and lower costs.

STEM professionals are well suited for this field as they are able to deliver automation solutions to a whole range of different industries. Furthermore, their cross-training empowers them to create customised solutions that are required at enterprise levels.

Einstein’s Takeaway

STEM is a highly viable career path for your child to pursue. In Singapore, STEM like pedagogies are offered at university level. If you and your child are keen on pursuing this pathway, then we recommend that you cultivate a love for science and maths within your child from an early age.

Often times, we have seen students give up on science based careers due to less than ideal results during their early years. We feel that this is a waste as not everyone is able to shine from an early age.

One way to help your child to deal with the challenges of primary school science, would be to enrol them in primary 5 science tuition and primary 6 science tuition. Science tuition classes gives your child more time and expertise in order to explore a difficult topic. In doing so, confidence can be built and a love for science cultivated.