Why STEM Education and Innovative Teaching Techniques Should be Prioritized in India

Experts in edtech and education stressed the need for India to fully embrace experiential learning during a TechSparks 2022 panel discussion in order to prepare students for a sustainable future, particularly in STEM fields.

STEM education is assisting the future development of the Indian tech ecosystem. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

A panel discussion on “STEM Education: Key to a Future-Ready India” at TechSparks 2022 was obviously timely, as initiatives like the Government of India’s National Education Policy in 2020 recognized the importance of these subjects in developing a future-ready workforce that will power innovation across industries.

Speakers from the edtech and education sectors included Pooja Goyal, Co-founder and COO of Avishkaar; Harish Rawlani, Co-founder and Director MakerInMe Technologies; and Manila Carvalho, Principal of Delhi Public School, Bangalore East. The discussion was moderated by Amit Chatterjee, Startup Program and Strategic Business Initiatives, Intel India.

With a comment on India’s thriving edtech industry, Amit established the general direction of the discussion. “Give or take, there are more than 1.4 lakh schools in the nation, which is a sizable market in and of itself. Additionally, we have all of the recent initiatives that the Indian government is promoting, such as the National Education Policy 2020, which states that education needs to be more activity-oriented, experiential, and practical. And what we want to do today is talk about how we can exactly make that possible,” Amit said.

Making an investment in STEM education

Harish acknowledged that the environment is altering while discussing how the current educational system is centered on textbooks, exams, and the theoretical learning of knowledge rather than the development of skills.

“STEM education is one approach to solving this issue, allowing students to learn through practical projects and activities. One of the main issues with the technology component of STEM education is how to develop something that will enable students to learn technology. According to Harish, all domestic stakeholders – parents, teachers, and students themselves – need to be involved in the educational process for a comprehensive and practical understanding of STEM. “We have to abstract out technology so that students can learn and find it engaging,” he said.

The idea that technology is constantly changing and that edtech products must do the same were also brought up by Manila and Harish. Manila claims that as technology has advanced and students have a better understanding of it, teaching has become more difficult.

“Most of us [teachers] in schools in both urban and rural areas do not come from the digital era. Although we are learning and making an effort, we are moving along much more slowly than the students in the school. Therefore, they unquestionably need assistance, possibly from outside sources, if teachers are not adequately prepared, said Manila, who also noted that children are much more interested in subjects when they involve hands-on activities and creation.

What should be altered?

Dealing with various stakeholders, including parents and schools, is a significant challenge in the STEM edtech space. Since each school has its own curriculum, working with them to incorporate STEM learning takes time, according to Pooja. Going the D2C route with parents results in capex limitations, she continued.

“Since the cost of acquiring customers is so high, you have to raise a lot of money from venture capital. And I’ve seen as much as 50% of that money go exclusively to Google and Facebook for performance marketing and customer acquisition. To build a strong business over time in education, I believe you do need a little bit of patience. And the pace at which it needs to be built is not entirely in line with the current funding model,” Pooja said.

Allowing children to experience failure is just as important as establishing policies that encourage innovative methods of instruction and providing areas for kids to try things on their own. Pooja added that it was crucial for parents and teachers to use STEM and creative learning techniques to help kids understand the fundamental lessons.

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