STEM – stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – a term used to denote the most important subjects at school that define a child’s future academic and professional plans. The last few years have seen the rise of a new term in academic circles – ‘STEAM’ – the additional ‘A’ standing for ‘the Arts’.
Traditionally, the USA has been the top destination for Indian students looking to study abroad. After China, it is India which tops the charts in terms of number of international students in American colleges and universities. Over 80% of this chunk of students is enrolled on an engineering or science program and the remaining are enrolled in a management program. A minuscule percentage of these students join an arts program.
Be it the USA, the UK or India the focus has traditionally been on getting a good academic score in the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics and progressing to a related career. The focus has always been to create a stronger scientific thinking group that contributes to national growth. Somewhere in the pursuit of economic progress, science, technology and computing, the space-age and the robotics-wave and the focus on genetics; the humble ‘Arts’ were forgotten.
The sixties and the seventies and the counter-culture movement painted art-lovers and proponents of art to be hippies of sorts, which created an adverse impact on those who aspired to take up art for a career. Things are definitely changing now and for the better!!
The past few years have seen the growth of ‘STEAM’ wherein ‘the Arts’ are receiving their due and schools in the USA are giving a much-deserved push to further the cause of arts and art-lovers.
Two Bit Circus commissioned a study which showed some amazing results. To summarize their study – “35% of parents of girls reported art as their favourite subject, but only 13% of parents of boys reported art as their favourite subject in school. 7% of parents of girls reported technology as their child’s favourite subject compared with 23% of parents of boys reporting technology as their child’s favourite subject in school.”
The images below extracted from the report add clarity and clearly indicate that girls tend to gravitate towards the arts and boys towards technology and computing.
At the end of the day, parents should stop forcing their unfulfilled academic dreams onto their children and allow them to pick a course that the child wants. Children should be guided by both parents and teachers and their skills and talents should be identified and nurtured appropriately. This will help create a secure and safe future for the children and contribute to nation-building as well.
So what do you think?? Do you think STEAM is the right way ahead for schools in India???
Embedded Image Courtesy — Two Bit Circus