Kolkata, January 12: Integrating the four STEM - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - disciplines for a holistic education experience can level the playing field in student exchanges between India and other countries, an American education activist said Saturday.
STEM also promotes discovery, problem-based learning, and project-based learning and is crucial for growing education and industry together, said Mike Glanton, who is a democratic member of the Georgia House of Representatives.
"It (STEM) is as important in India as it is in America in growing education and industry together. It will also level the playing field in terms of student exchanges between India and the US and also other countries," Glanton told IANS over the phone while talking about the STEM World School near Barrackpore, the first in eastern India.
"I don't think we can operate in a vacuum any longer. There are more than 30 million Indians working worldwide. There are numerous American companies doing business in India and vice versa," said the education activist who is on school committees in his district and is also a board member of the Indian STEM school.
STEM schools are those that promote a curriculum of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Glanton however said STEM is not a separate education system "but inter-relating the disciplines".
In the US, there is a projected increase of around 20 percent to 62 percent jobs in various STEM related fields between 2010 and 2020, while countries like Turkey, Qatar and Britain have taken serious initiatives in STEM education.
A recent study by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) revealed that in India, just four out of 1,000 young students opt for a career in science, technology or research.
Highlighting the relevance of STEM, Paddy Sharma, an Indian-origin American education activist said that by integrating the various fields, students can relate what they have studied in the past to what is actually going on in the present.
"Since India has a huge young population, STEM will help them in acquiring the skills and selecting a suitable career and contribute to the country's economy," Sharma told IANS.