Thousands of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) jobs are going unfilled today. Scratch that – millions of STEM jobs are going unfilled today. 2.4 million to be precise, as of 2018.
It is hard to understand why, though, isn’t it?
While there is a STEM requirement in almost every organization, let’s take a look at a list of some leading STEM employers: Google, Amazon, Facebook, SAP and other such, for many, dream employers. They offer great pay packages, great employee benefits and fulfilling career paths. And yet, they struggle to fill STEM positions.
It is important to understand that the problem doesn’t really stem from the lack of interest or desire to secure these jobs. The problem lies in a massive gap in education systems around the world that leaves graduates unqualified and unprepared to be able to take on these jobs.
Some of the biggest challenges that future generations will face can only be addressed by a highly-skilled workforce equipped with STEM learning. For instance, global warming, hunger and malnutrition, increasing energy demands, population management and other global issues need the attention of more and more experts – experts that at this point, we are failing to produce at a satisfactory rate.
Governments, education authorities, and other organizations the world over are investing big resources into bridging the STEM gap. One key strategy that educators are adopting is the early integration of STEM education into school curriculums.
STEM-studies encourage innovative thinking
This early adoption has an increasingly positive impact on young students. Here are a few reasons why every influencer and stakeholder should encourage the early integration of STEM-learning in schools and learning systems:
Early engagement in practical and enjoyable STEM-related activities and academic exercises fosters innovative thinking. These young minds are tomorrow leaders, and tomorrow’s global challenges certainly need an innovative approach.
STEM strengthens critical thinking and problem-solving
At the core of math and science lies the need to think critically and problem solve. These basic essential skills have a universal and undeniable application for success at life on the whole. In addition to helping create strategic thinkers, critical thinking and problem-solving skills make a solid foundation for the rest of a child’s formative years.
STEM promotes a greater grasping of concepts
STEM education, when done right, and aided with the right tools, is an exciting, hands-on application of science, math, engineering and technological concepts. In one of our blogs on Mobile STEM labs, we talked about how these easy-to-use mobile STEM labs can turn classrooms into innovation centers, bursting with ideas and creativity.
STEM hones 21st-century skills of teamwork, collaboration, and communication
STEM is accessible to learners with different abilities. These different learners work together and discuss issues with different perspectives. They learn to speak out and to listen to each other and come together to create something. Effective communication becomes an essential learning, early in their schooling years. These qualities lead to more meaningful success at school and beyond school.
STEM builds self-sustained learning
STEM labs and other STEM-centered learning methods encourage learners to discover, explore topics and subjects and learn at their own pace. Young, curious minds are immersed in an environment where they feel safe to try new things, to fail, to innovate and to keep learning.
Typically, STEM-based studies include an element of experimentation, problem-solving and logical thinking that allow for a more ‘freestyle’ independent learning style.
STEM engages students and builds a love for learning
Curiosity makes learners want to know more, get on to the next task, the next question or the next challenge. This positive hunger for knowledge leads to a positive, lifelong relationship with learning.
Why futuristic schools are working towards introducing early STEM-learning
STEM studies help to satiate the innate curiosity that makes young learners ask questions. This enables adaptability and expands a student’s capacity to absorb information, internalize it and apply it.
The academic and creative potential and talent that emerge from encouraging creativity so early on helps a school to produce high-achievers that are likely to go on and leave a mark in the world.
Schools all over the world are setting up these creative spaces to foster innovation. Innovative companies are coming up with more affordable, flexible solutions to ensure that STEM-learning is easier to integrate even for remote schools and schools without big science education budgets.
The early STEM-studies movement is hardly just a trend that will pass. Governments and educational institutions are paving the way for STEM-learning because it is not just the pressing current need but also a looming future need, and falling short on providing skilled, qualified STEM-job-ready individuals is going to cost us a heavy price.
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