From nur­tur­ing lead­er­ship skills to chal­leng­ing sta­tus quo, STEM sub­jects pre­pare stu­dents to stay ahead of the curve

India Today - - STUDY -

His­tory has shown how a na­tion’s so­cio-eco­nomic growth is strongly cor­re­lated with its tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion cal­i­bre. Our time on Earth is gov­erned by apps. With tech­nol­ogy defin­ing one’s ba­sic choices in when, where, and what to eat, wear or live, STEM sub­jects—sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing, math­e­mat­ics can no longer be seen as op­tions to drop at school. Since 2000, the OECD coun­tries have been mea­sur­ing the school learn­ing out­comes, not based on the tra­di­tional frame­works, but on stu­dents’ per­for­mance on sci­ence, math­e­mat­ics, prob­lem-solv­ing, fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy and read­ing. OECD pub­lishes coun­try-wise re­sults (PISA re­sults) ev­ery three years, rank­ing their youth’s pre­pared­ness to meet the chal­lenges of to­day’s knowl­edge so­ci­eties.

Be­ing STEM-savvy is es­sen­tial to sup­port one’s ba­sic need—of not be­ing left out in a fast paced world. Top three rea­sons why math­e­mat­ics and sci­ence-re­lated sub­jects must be given their due at schools.


The high­est pay­ing and the most in­tel­lec­tu­ally chal­leng­ing jobs of the fu­ture will be up for those who think ab­stractly, com­pre­hend com­plex ideas, learn quickly and don’t shy away from fail­ure—all at­tributes that are sharp­ened by STEM train­ing. Il­lus­tra­tion TANMOY CHAKRABORTY

TO BE THOUGHT SHAPERS One is said to have emerged as a leader from the crowd if she/he is able to com­pre­hend and suc­cess­fully lead the crowd out of tricky sit­u­a­tions. Com­monly re­ferred to as ‘mak­ing sense’ of things, or ‘fig­ur­ing out’ what to do—these are essentials of lead­er­ship, and the key out­comes of nur­tur­ing one’s an­a­lyt­i­cal skills. STEM ed­u­ca­tion at school pre­pares one at prob­lem-solv­ing, a uni­ver­sal life skill. One may ex­per­i­ment or per­ma­nently cross­over to pur­sue a ca­reer out­side of sci­ence.


Sci­ence builds the spirit to ques­tion sta­tus quo, and the courage to ac­cept and man­age change. Its ba­sic tenets in­clude universalism and ob­jec­tivism, an ap­proach that can sort the cur­rent world or­der in a jiffy. Here is a sim­ple self-test to prove that. Pull out a one line def­i­ni­tion of Dar­win’s the­ory of evo­lu­tion, and read aloud to your­self. Does it make you ques­tion the fu­tile ba­sis of the po­lit­i­cal tur­moil in to­day’s world? Does it make you ap­pre­ci­ate hu­man­ism, and re­alise the func­tional ir­rel­e­vance of fac­tors, such as gen­der, race, out­ward ap­pear­ance, dis­abil­ity, na­tion­al­ity, or re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion? STEM ed­u­ca­tion hones an­a­lyt­i­cal ap­ti­tude. This ap­ti­tude is not lived in spir­its and full po­ten­tial if used se­lec­tively at one’s job, and not in one’s out­look to life and the liv­ing.

SHEETAL RANGANATHAN Global VP, Head of Life Sci­ences & Health­care Op­er­a­tions, Eval­ue­serve, Delhi

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