STEM Education

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education Program (STEM, formerly Engineering and Science Education Program or ESEP) is a science and mathematics-oriented curriculum devised for high schools in the Philippines. It was piloted in 1994 by the Department of Science & Technology (DOST).

It emphasizes on bridging the learning gap by putting the children at the core of experience, making them active learners from passive listeners.

It addresses the concerns that these disciplines or subjects are often taught in isolation while the fact is that they are all intertwined. It is a cohesive inter-disciplinary approach based on hands-on learning. In today’s world, it is impossible to dissimilate these fields from one another. Pick any item from your household or office and try to fit it in just any one of the STEM subjects. You will find it impossible to do so, for everything is integrated with each other.
Science and Math lead to technology development, which is then integrated with engineering to make it useful in our life. STEM encourages kids to experiment, make mistakes and learn from own experiences to reach correct outcomes, rather than relying on what the textbook says. Critical thinking, logical analysis, inquiry and project-based learning are the keystones in STEM education. It boosts the curiosity in the kids, making learning process fun, relevant and everlasting. This is a paradigm shift from traditional education, which vitally lacks in hands-on learning, to a learning that is much better and deeper. A key flaw with isolated learning is that often students are unable to apply the concepts learned to actual problems, lowering their productivity or understandability and hence implementation.
Problem solving is a major skill set and current education system does not address it. If queries or learning gaps are not addressed in early years, things get worse when the difficulty level of the subjects rise over time. This loose end in the basic education leads to fear for the subject going ahead – all due to the inherent lag in the traditional education.
STEM education assures there is no disconnect in the understanding of concepts by helping students work on the applications. Taking a very basic example for initial years, math is introduced to kids with number learning, like 1, 2, 3 and so on. Kids don’t understand why they are being taught numbers and why less/more cannot suffice in place of numbers. On the other hand, asking questions like how much more or how less can immediately get them to understand the sense behind numbers and quantification. What is imperative to understand is how concepts taught are related to the real world and how learning them will help children solve their day-to-day problems. Similarly, playing board games, blending math with arts & patterns from the surroundings can boost kid’s understanding and interest for the subject, leaving no space for anxiety. This is how STEM learning happens for every discipline.