The importance of STEM-B education
Ten or so years ago STEM was the next big thing in education. Unfortunately like many ideas in education it had a lot of traction initially but due to innovation and new policy overload it quickly disappeared to the fringes. But with the on-set of Brexit in one form or another, and the information & technological age allowing other, once poorer economies to compete on a more level playing field, it is the perfect time for us to look once again at the potential economic benefits of us delivering a high quality STEM education.
STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering and Maths. The aim is for these subjects to be taught with an interdisciplinary and applied approach focusing on real world uses as oppose to teaching them as discreet independent subjects.
STEM is currently a real buzz word around the world because of the changing global economy. It has been suggested by Price Waterhouse Coopers in Australia that converting just 1% of the workforce in Australia to STEM roles would add tens of billions to GDP. It has further been suggested that up to 60% of the growth in the global economy is currently linked to STEM careers and that figure is only going to rise over the coming years.
I was recently lucky enough to spend several weeks in China visiting lots of schools. All of them had a large focus on STEM and the teachers and students were passionate about the excellent work they were producing. It was clear that China had invested in STEM education in a big way and there is certainly a direct correlation between China’s emphasis on STEM education and its advancement and dominance in this sector of the economy.
At Myddelton College we have introduced our own version of the program called STEM-B. We have looked closely at how to provide the advantages of a STEM education while also improving certain aspects of it, such as making it equally appealing to both boys and girls.
We teach the discreet individual subjects as part of our curriculum but also have STEM-B taught as an independent subject in its own right. We have a focus on technology and computer science and are leading the way in providing an education that will equip our students to thrive in the 21st Century economy.
The ‘B’ in our STEM-B program stands for Business and Finance. This is because there is little point in our students having the creative and practical ability to develop new technology if they do not possess the business and entrepreneurial acumen to market that product and to make it economically successful.
We also encourage STEM-B development not just for profitable purposes but for the solving of problems for humanitarian causes. Incorporating moral principles into the teaching of STEM which will often increase its appeal to both male and female students. We also ensure equal staffing of male and female teachers in our STEM-B departments to act as role models for all students.
At Myddelton STEM-B is part of a broad and balanced curriculum. We take great care to not neglect the arts, music and sports. The innovation and creativity required for a student to be successful in the STEM-B subjects is fostered and developed in young people who have broad and open minds. Therefore creating time and space to allow students to explore these areas of the curriculum are also a vital ingredient in delivering a successful STEM-B program