STEM education emphasises science, technology, engineering, and math fields in education. It was associated with higher education levels earlier, but as education evolved, it has made a significant place at all education levels. STEM education helps students solve real-world issues, think critically, and innovate and prepares students for tech-driven dynamic environments.
STEM education also helps students have an awareness and understanding of 21st-century issues, including climate change, healthcare, energy, and cybersecurity. Since technology is at the heart of everything, STEM education ensures that students today have the knowledge and skills to be future-ready. It is designed in a manner that helps students develop essential skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, and cooperation, which are crucial for success in any sector.
India has seen significant growth in STEM education in recent years. There has been a sustained rising focus on STEM education to develop essential skills in students right from the early years of education. As for higher education levels, the country is focused on creating a skilled workforce that can contribute to the country’s economic growth.
The current state of STEM education in India is a mixed bag of efforts and potential. For instance, Government initiatives like Digital India and Skill India aim to provide the masses with vocational training and digital literacy. Additionally, government institutions that hold national importance, like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs), offer quality higher education in STEM fields.
However, several challenges exist that need to be addressed. There is a lack of STEM-focused education at the school level and a significant gender gap in STEM education, as girls are underrepresented in STEM fields.
On a good note, we must recognise the recent initiatives to improve STEM education. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and the Union Budget 2022-23 emphasise the importance of STEM education in India.
The NEP 2020 intends to create a holistic multidisciplinary system that can help students develop critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving skills with a focus on STEM education. NEP encourages experiential learning, and to cater to this, the policy has envisioned introducing STEM from the foundational stages (at age 6). It also recommends integrating coding and mathematical thinking from 6th grade (age 11).
Now that the world is familiar with online education, the NEP 2020 addresses the role of digital and online learning in promoting STEM education. It recommends using technology to provide qualitative education in STEM fields and make it accessible for learners across the country. It recommends schools create a digital repository of easily accessible content, including coursework and other play/activity-based learning material.
As per the Union Budget 2023, education was allocated Rs 1.12 lakh crore, the highest-ever allocation to date. The budget emphasises some points for the growth of the edtech sector. The launch of “Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0” (PMKVY) aims to bridge the skill gap and equip lakhs of youth with industry 4.0 skills like coding, AI, robotics, soft skills etc., in new-age courses, among other skilling and education-focused programmes. Setting up Centers of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence in top educational institutions, 100 laboratories in Engineering Institutions for developing applications using 5G services, and a National Digital Library for children and adolescents has also been mentioned.
The government has also introduced Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) under NITI Aayog Yojna to foster curiosity and innovation among young minds. The target is to establish 10,000 ATLs across India for students between grades 6th to 12th. The labs are equipped with emerging technologies like 3D printing, robotics, IoT and more. These labs would work as innovation play workspaces for students. The labs have helped over 70,00,000 students to actively engage in ATL activities, enhancing their STEM skills.
Overall, the NEP 2020 and the Union Budget 2022-23 have stressed the significance of STEM education in supporting innovation, research, and economic development in India and made valuable initiatives to encourage STEM education and research.
While the government has planned its course of action to improve the state of STEM education in India, we’d like to talk about Designability, which creates innovative STEM products that offer hands-on learning experiences for students. They focus on creating educational products with fun value making STEM education engaging and accessible for all.
Their team is a mix of designers, engineers, and educators that ensure that all quality and education parameters are checked. Designability offers a range of fully resourced projects with student and teacher notes, video, project materials, equipment and training that can help schools align with the NEP 2020 goals of STEM education. The kits are designed to help educate kids on STEM topics and can be adapted in every classroom. Schools can select from over 30 STEM kits available, from comprehensive kits like Downforce Racer to minimal kits like Tealighter; you’ll find something that would fit your learning needs.
Designability’s STEM products can support the STEM education initiatives in India as they encourage creativity, problem-solving, and innovation, all of which are at the heart of NEP and STEM education. Another critical reason Designability Kits fit the Indian education sector is that the kits are ‘fully resourced projects’ and come with teaching materials, project materials, equipment and professional development support and therefore do not stress out the institution or its resources.
Introducing these products into the Indian education system can help leapfrog the STEM solution demand-availability gap. It can further help students develop valuable skills early, helping to address the skill gap through hands-on learning. Designability’s STEM products also align with the Digital India Initiative as they introduce students to digital technologies and help them develop digital literacy skills.
Businesses and individuals in India can now partner with Designability to bring cutting-edge STEM education with the latest technology and engaging hands-on learning experiences for students. If you are looking for innovative ways to engage students in STEM education, Designability can help you achieve your STEM awareness and education goals.