STEM-EducationRwandan Vocational School

Education needs to keep pace with strides in industry and the world for there to be a seamless cohesion between a child’s learning and her adult life. The world has dramatically changed, just as the school environment also has, yet teaching methods and the educational content are not making connections to life or inspiring them any longer, which creates motivational problems.


STEM needs to break out of schools, out of books and out of the mental constructs we have.

The science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries are booming world wide.

In the U.S., the STEM industries accounted for more than fifty percent of the economic activity, while in the U.K., the tech industry grew a third percent faster than any other industry.

At a time when it’s extremely challenging for young people to land jobs, it makes sense to teach them the skills for the industries that are on the upswing with teeming opportunities. Yet with all of these developments, STEM education hasn’t kept up with the rapid pace of change all across the world.

As I explained in my book, Future Readiness In Education, “Future readiness – a term I coined, means enabling the promotion of innovation and adopting the use of various tools to advance the college and career readiness of students in a rapidly changing global economy.”

Education needs to keep pace with strides in industry and the world for there to be a seamless cohesion between a child’s learning and her adult life. The world has dramatically changed, just as the school environment also has, yet teaching methods and the educational content are not making connections to life or inspiring them any longer, which creates motivational problems.

It has been found that an effective way of getting students enthusiastic about what they’re learning is to link it to real-life situations. Being able to engage students is an endemic issue in education, and STEM subjects have the perception of being difficult, boring or out of reach. It is difficult for young people to comprehend and glean how what they are learning connects to real life, and this is why they are disinterested in education.

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We need to address young people’s perceptions of STEM subjects. The aversion to science and technology fields starts when they are young; the media is anti-science in its depictions. Science-related characters are often portrayed as geeky or nerdy, and are mostly male. Invariably this leads to the implication that science is not for girls, and this is a turn off for a lot of children. We limit our young people by not having depictions of varieties of what they could be and supporting them to act upon their innermost desires, careerwise, that they may have.

There are ways to counter this perception though. There are a plethora of apps and tv programmes that provide STEM materials that promote diversity and that are gender neutral – encouraging every child to explore a range of industries, skills and interests that aren’t limited by gender.

When STEM education breaks out of schools, out of books and out of our mental constructs; only then will it catch up with the world that it should be preparing our students.


It is vital that schools aid in the reversal of these negative stereotypes by catching our students young and infusing in them a love for science, and to teach science in a holistically innovative way through exploration and play.

To teach children STEM skills through discovery, and to have the impact of achievement and wonder at tender ages, with the desire and hope that this will nurture a long-lasting love for STEM subjects.

As I have stated in a previous article, we need to link STEM education to industries, getting students to see the rich opportunities in the sector.

We ought to be making sure that students know how subjects relate to industrial activities; how what they are learning in school relates to the real-world and once they are empowered with this knowledge, it acts as a guide to know what careers they desire in life and the skills they need.

It would be highly beneficial for industries to partner with schools. STEM professionals can aid with on the job internships, mentoring or have seminars on what they’re currently working on.

Through this, students will have a clearer idea of what working in STEM industries involve, which will deepens their learning in the field.

It is essential that we make STEM classrooms exciting learning environments for our students.

When STEM education breaks out of schools, out of books and out of our mental constructs; only then will it catch up with the world that it should be preparing our students.

Adetola Salau, Carismalife4U@gmail.com, an advocate of STEM education, public speaker, author, and social entrepreneur, is passionate about education reform.