STEM for Girls is an initiative launched by the tech giant IBM with the aim to foster a robust STEM ecosystem that encourages critical thinkers, problem solvers and the innovators of the upcoming generation. This is expected to have a tremendous impact over the narrative of girl education and will help build a knowledge-based society in our country. This blog will help you get an insight of the STEM for Girls program and why it is the need of the hour!
Also Check Out DST Collaborates with IBM to boost STEM Careers for Girls
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STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. ‘STEM Education’, known for its focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, is relatively a new term in the Indian education sector.
Integrating computational and problem-solving skills in the national curricula of the Indian school system is getting more and more essential as the digital transformation of our country is taking place at a rapid rate. This will empower and build a future ready next-gen workforce; and change the dynamics of the entire ecosystem.
STEM for Girls
STEM for Girls is an initiative launched in India by IBM (International Business Machines) in 2019 to improve education and career pathways for girls in government high schools. This initiative was launched with a vision to prepare over 200,000 high school girls in India, looking to pursue careers in Science and Technology, across multiple states, through a 3-year program to provide them with an opportunity to understand their potential in STEM careers.
“The success of India’s digital roadmap will be defined by its ability to stay inclusive and diverse. With the STEM for Girls program, IBM aims to nurture a holistic skilled talent pool, while contributing positively towards the country’s Skill India and Digital India mission.“— Sandip Patel, General Manager, IBM India and South Asia
More than 78,000 girls in Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Haryana, Assam, Bihar, Rajasthan and Gujarat are currently part of the three-year STEM program. This curriculum trains the students in ever-evolving technological skills that allow them to innovate, create solutions, and drive growth in all areas.
What is the Need of STEM for Girls Program?
According to various surveys conducted by The National Science Foundation it was estimated that “80% of all jobs created in the next decade will require STEM skills”
Education in India drives the economy and has the potential to transform the landscape of society. But we have a long way to go to ensure gender equality when it comes to imparting education and providing jobs. The following statistics are a clear example that points towards the dire need of the STEM for Girls initiative in our country.
- According to the World Economic Forum, India is expected to have 10-12 million new graduates across the country every year, making it the biggest emerging workforce on the planet.
- But it’s not all good news: while girls often outperform boys at the high school level, only about 25% of them currently go on to become part of the workforce.
- Women only contribute 18% to India’s GDP, one of the lowest of such rates in the world. The major reason for this is the inequality in work distribution when it comes to house chores. The belief that only women are responsible for taking care of the house duties, is still prevalent in our country, due to which women are not able to take up the additional load of another job.
- According to the UNESCO report “Cracking the code: Girls’ and women’s education in STEM”, only 35% of STEM students in higher education globally are women.
Objectives of the Initiative
IBM STEM for girls initiative aims to equip young girls with the essential skills to bring about a change in outlook of not only the communities they belong to, but also the world, as a whole. With these skills sets, students will be masters in solving challenges and driving stewardship with good tech. The following list contains the main objectives that the initiative focuses on:
- Computational thinking and coding
- Digital fluency including cognitive and AI
- Future skills—21st century skills
- STEM support
- Leadership and recognition
- Career guidance, education and experience sharing
- Counseling, mentoring by IBM leaders
- Gender awareness and equality consciousness
- Personal competencies and agency
- Social and interpersonal skills
- Training for teacher
- Including boys in the journey, computational thinking and coding
- Community/parents’ awareness
Innovations in India
Although there are a few hurdles that the country is facing when it comes to the implementation of the STEM Education system, that includes lack of infrastructure, curriculum. limited funding,etc, there has been some enhancement in the Indian education sector that is slowly and steadily reaching towards Digitalization in our country. Let us take a look at these;
- Smart classrooms have been implemented to aim towards hands-on learning and STEM enhancement on their current smart-class platforms.
- Many STEM companies have been working relentlessly with schools to help them set up STEM centres, and upcoming technologies like Virtual Reality (VRs) and Augmented Reality (ARs).
- The government is trying to help institutions to upgrade their library infrastructures with more engaging learning assets and management tools, and implementing Learning Management Systems.
- New ‘entry level’ coding devices are coming to market that provide schools with the ability to teach simple coding and bring STEM to life in the classroom.
Being the second most populated country with high academic capabilities, India needs to rise to the challenge and develop a culture of application-based learning and innovation among educational institutions. Stay tuned at Leverage Edu for more such informative blogs!