Regard for and promotion of STEM is global. It has nothing to do with repressive politics. Long-standing democracies such as German, Israel, New Zealand, and Australia and other countries have heavily invested in technical and vocation education.
A section of stakeholders in Education have expressed concern that the government is giving undue emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). They claim that the government is doing this at the expense of Arts humanities disciplines, to ascend to and retain in power.
The priority the government is giving mathematics and science in educational institutions is not an affront to the Humanities and the Social Sciences. It is not promoting STEM to kill interest in the Arts and the Humanities.
Regard for and promotion of STEM is global. Governments are responding to an environment that needs a STEM education can help those students to prepare to meet challenges that affect our global population.
It has nothing to do with repressive politics. Long-standing democracies such as German, Israel, New Zealand, and Australia and other countries have heavily invested in technical and vocation education.
For example, the German vocational education and training system, also known as the dual training system, is highly recognized worldwide due to its combination of theory and training embedded in a real-life work environment. This has not supplanted academic or professional education and needs of the country.
Integration of STEM in the curriculum is driven by an environment that is permeated by technological advancement, which is predominantly informed by knowledge and skills of Mathematics and Science. A thorough understanding of mathematical and scientific principles is necessary for life in such a technologically dominated world.
Education has come to mean, in addition to a thorough understanding of the human condition, as represented in arts and humanities, an appreciation for mathematics, and the basic sciences.
The world now needs men and women with functional knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Maths and Sciences to work with or on the scientific and technical equipment that makes human beings to live with least physical discomfort.
Governments are promoting STEM in basic education institutions because it at this level that the foundational knowledge to enrol in STEM disciplines is laid. They extend the same support to Higher Education to ensure those enrolling in STEM disciplines get quality education and training to effectively prepare them for the world of work.
The support is driven by the exigencies of a changing environment that is increasingly coming to rely on and need people with functional knowledge and skills in Mathematics and Science.
STEM nurtures the innate potential in children that enable those with proven ability in Mathematics, and Science and who have the inclination to successfully undertake studies in Basic and Applied Sciences in Colleges and Universities. It also enables those with proven abilities in the Arts and the Humanities to appreciate the world of Science which impacts on their lives at the workplace, at home and society in general.
The arts-oriented subjects that the students who opt for STEM in college studied in high school guide them later in life in making meaning and connections in what they do as scientists and technologists. They carry with them the imagination, the creativity, and a deep sense of the contingency and ambiguities about life into their studies, and later, into their careers.
Investment in STEM education does not in any way neuter the role and place of the arts and the humanities. The two broad areas of disciplines are not exclusive to each other. Students are being exposed to a balanced curriculum in primary and secondary education—that is they are exposed to arts, humanity and science – without any bias.
The idea is to provide all possible opportunities to all students so that those with the ability and inclination to can take optimal advantage to choose careers in STEM can do so without the disadvantages of poor knowledge.
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