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2 June, 2021 05:52:30 PM
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Why is STEAM learning so important for the future education in Bangladesh?

To succeed in the 21st century, STEAM learning needs to be the focus of next-generation students. Incredible innovations in cyber-physical systems, the internet of things, automation, the use of computers in artistic endeavours, etc, are fundamentally changing the way we learn, work and live.
Liton Chandro Sarkar
Why is STEAM learning so important for the future education in Bangladesh?

At present the world is entering the era of Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) which is closely related to information technology. With changes, of course the world of education must also immediately respond to them. The steps that can be taken are by integrating information technology with innovative learning models. In the era of IR4.0, learning is no longer confined within the classroom. We should develop our universities with world-class facilities for nurturing creativity and innovation. Industrial-grade infrastructure is built to provide real-life exposure to our students, cultivating their practical skills aside from academic knowledge. We have also redesigned our teaching and learning methods to stimulate critical thinking, decision making, teamwork and building confidence. New technologies mean new expertise, while this translates into a new need of talents in new areas. We should address the needs of the industry, to help to build talents who can manage, operate and innovate under the new IR 4.0 environment, by carefully designing new programmes of the future.
New waves of technological disruptions and the emergence of advanced technologies have resulted in the IR4.0, where Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Virtual Reality (VR), Cloud Computing, big data and analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are going to transform the way businesses operate – routine, mundane jobs will be replaced and there is a growing need to develop “smarter” talents that can ride along the wave of Digital Transformation. These technology advancements, when adapted in the workplace, are enabling new ways to execute work, bringing new opportunities for value creation to businesses and organizations, paving the way for the formation of digital ecosystems and collaborations as well as engagement with consumers at a greater scale. Technology today is indispensable in every aspect of life. The combination of technology and education has brought huge benefits to teachers and learners with much more engagement and excitement.

Over the past few years, industry leaders and tech experts have been emphasizing the preparedness amongst organizations and sectors for the IR4.0. Undoubtedly the adoption of technology by organizations has expedited over the years. Especially the Cocid-19 pandemic has surged this adoption so that organizations can sustain their operations. However, the industry has witnessed a dearth in the required skill set to handle disruptive technologies. A report by the World Economic Forum indicates that more than 8.5 lakh jobs in Europe will be left unfilled due to a lack of technical skills between 2021-2022. The skill gap is a major determinant thwarting the industrial revolution. By the year 2022, at least 133 million new roles will be generated due to labour division between humans, machines, and algorithms. Bridging this gap is paramount. Henceforth, educational institutes will play a key role in relieving organizations from the skill gap
We are at the beginning of a 4th industrial revolution and educators are faced with preparing a generation of students for many jobs that don’t even exist yet. As global industries increasingly shift from version 3.0 to 4.0, educators will need to follow the trend - and science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (or STEAM) education offers the way forward. For underrepresented groups, fab labs and other STEAM learning projects can play an important role in changing the narrative around science and technology.
To succeed in the 21st century, STEAM learning needs to be the focus of next-generation students. Incredible innovations in cyber-physical systems, the internet of things, automation, the use of computers in artistic endeavours, etc, are fundamentally changing the way we learn, work and live. But despite these developments of the so-called IR 4.0 Fourth Industrial Revolution, the students who will be most impacted by these changes are still largely relying on an outdated education system.
How can we properly prepare students for the demands of the future when sticking to outmoded learning practices? With the right resources, educators are able to provide students with the resources they need to develop intellectually and to build confidence for the next stage of their lives. This is why STEAM learning is so important for the future.
When STEM becomes STEAM, we can change the game. Since the term STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) was coined back in 2001, there has been growing interest in this learning philosophy to better prepare today's students for tomorrow's jobs. However, to adequately prepare the future workforce, another acronym is gaining popularity: STEAM, which adds arts to the mix.
Leonardo Da Vinci was on to something years ago when he stated, "Study the science of art. Study the art of science." More recently, students and academics at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) have spearheaded the concept of STEAM which brings the elements of STEM together with arts to guide students' critical thinking, inquiry, and dialogue. Proponents of STEAM education recognize the importance of creativity and innovation in the future to solve our problems. In fact, according to The Medium report 2020, nearly all Nobel laureates in the sciences practice some form of art as adults. When you compare these successful scientists with others, they are significantly more likely than other scientists to practice art in a variety of forms, from acting to singing, writing poetry to woodworking, and more. It's this science success and art connection that make STEAM proponents believe that by integrating arts to an education, it creates a person more ready to meet the ingenuity demands of our economy. Students who receive a STEAM education engage in experiential learning, collaborate with others, and persist in problem-solving as they take thoughtful risks and work through the creative process. In fact, many employers, educators, and parents believe STEAM helps fill in a gap left by STEM of key skills/attributes student need to thrive.
STEAM incorporates the benefits of STEM in and through the arts to give a more complete, well-rounded education. Although some feel this distinction is unnecessary because regular STEM incorporates creativity, leaders of the STEAM movement feel that the arts provides a critical missing piece to STEM education that then prepares students to not only understand science, technology, engineering, and math but know how to apply principles from each of these disciplines to creatively solve problems. While the STEAM movement is still relatively new, it's gaining "steam." Problem-solvers in the future will have to look beyond what first feels like a limitation and approach challenges with inquiry, wonder, and innovation. These are skills that the arts exercise.
In order to create a successful STEAM programme, it is essential that the arts are included in STEM in an authentic way. It’s not about adding creativity to STEM, but rather to apply art in real world situations. For example, if students had an assignment to create a product as a STEM project, incorporating arts in an authentic way would be to improve the appearance or design of the product using principles of industrial design. Since we don’t yet know what jobs will look like as we progress further into the 21st century, it makes sense to educate our children with the skills and capacity to think outside the box with creative solutions. This is something a STEAM education can effectively prepare them to do.
The IR4.0 is expected to change how we live, work, and communicate; it is also likely to change the things we value and the way we value them in the future. Presently, we can already see changing business models and employment trends. In Bangladesh, coordinated education in Science, Engineering, Technology, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) is believed to have the capability to preparedness amongst organizations and sectors for the IR4.0.One of the greatest advantages that Bangladesh has at this crucial point of time is her young and working age manpower. To turn this huge manpower into an asset, STEAM education can play a vital role. The job market of the present global economy requires a variety of new set of skills, most of which are related to science, engineering and technological skills and they are interrelated. Many countries with huge population have a major unemployment problem, especially where the population does not possess the required set of contemporary skills. Though Bangladesh has a huge workforce, yet there is a significant lag in the demand and supply of needed skills among the youth for them to be successful in the global job market of 21st century.
In the developed countries, STEAM education is found to be reducing this gap and aligning with the demand and supply of necessary skills. STEAM education and industry have been paid attention to provide people having 21st century’s skills. At this point, it is very important to focus on Bangladesh’s situation on Industry 4.0 and STEAM education.


The writer is Deputy Inspector of Colleges, Bangladesh University of Professional. E-mail: [email protected]

 

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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