Today, in the United States alone, job opportunities for STEM-educated people is on the rise, at over 17%, while other forms of occupations trail behind, their number reducing. In Africa, Rwanda has become the first nation in Africa to have its own phone manufacturing company, with parts made within the country.
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics have proven to be active drivers towards sustained growth and economic stability around the world. The world is on a steady inclination towards a more STEM powered future, with major breakthroughs in the fields of science and technology. Thus STEM education is critical. It creates an enabling environment for the next generation of innovators and problem-solvers, promotes science literally and sharpens minds to become more critical thinkers.
These attributes — critical thinking and innovation — , lead to new needed products and processes that are necessary for boosting and sustaining economies. Critical thinking allows for radical out of the box ideas that solve daily problems and problems that reoccur or seem to be without solutions. Beyond any doubt, it is obvious that the world in the future would revolve around STEM. Prior to now, most technological advancements and innovations were seen as some sort of science fiction or deemed to be too futuristic but we are living in that future already and advancing deeper. However, with the importance and necessity of STEM education, in Africa, STEM education is not as inclusive as it could be.
What exactly does STEM mean?
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It encompasses every part of our daily lives and our environment. The world around us is a scientific wonder. From the earliest creation of fire to the first human flight, technology has been on a nonstop expansion into every aspect of our lives, improving in various ways. Technology allows you to read these words right now. Engineering of the simplest roads and the most intricately designed buildings and bridges have become more than just the creation of things but also a means to tackle issues of our rapidly changing ecosystem and provide environmentally-friendly changes to our home and daily life. Mathematics exists in every activity of our lives; the calculation of our ages, height, shoe sizes is math. Even our idea of time and space is based on math.
In an all Inclusive STEM educational environment, more minds are exposed to explore STEM-related concepts and seek out opportunities. With knowledge of STEM, a wide range of people has a chance to develop a passion for it and carve out a niche for themselves, finding a purpose in life and also facilitating positive change in their communities.
Why STEM education should be Inclusive.
The gender, economical and ethnic gaps that exist in the fields of science, math, technology, and engineering could be bridged with the help of STEM education. Traditional gender roles are broken thanks to inclusion initiatives and projects that have been implemented to increase the ratio of women and minorities in STEM-related fields.
Any state or nation that seeks to progress beyond its current socioeconomic status, must be ready to provide an environment of equal opportunities for its citizens regardless of sex or background. If STEM education is not improved to be more inclusive, the opportunities for the progress of a nation in the future would be reduced or even hindered.
The government and private organizations don’t share all the burden of facilitating an inclusive STEM education. Parents, teachers, guardians, and even peers should encourage the interest in STEM as there is a whole lot that is to be gained through STEM. Increased awareness and campaigns help promote the knowledge of STEM. It is already around us and more is needed to be done to facilitate its acceptance and increase the awareness rate of STEM Education.