It’s not difficult to make friends. Humans are social animals. However for some reason, it’s harder to sustain on our own in the world today. But when monkeys can make their own path without any theoretical knowledge, why can’t we?
Okay, that was a vague example. Let’s look back to the days of infancy and how we learnt to make use of every new object. If you watch a child at play, you will be surprised to discover the ideas a child is capable of coming up with. As a child, your imagination runs free and you are free to associate one thing with another to create the desired effect. Lego is the best game where you can find great insights. In simple terms, with practice comes expertise if not perfection and with expertise one can set foot on the path of discovery.
The education system today lacks this approach towards encouraging practical experience. While kids have the potential to illuminate the world with new approaches and discoveries, they are strictly restricted to spending wholesome time with their books to learn. Schools in India have negligible value for practical skills in comparison to the score or rank of a student based on his/her theoretical knowledge. It’s not just restricting for the students but also for our own economy. 200,000 Indian students leave the country every year to explore their knowledge outside. While some of it could be circumstantial but mostly it’s because the practical knowledge is valued more outside India. Due to this prolonged emphasis on the theoretical aspect of education, most kids lose interest by the time they reach high school.
It is the responsibility of the government and education bodies to ensure that kids don’t lose interest in the subjects like Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). These subjects establish the basics which are required in all fields of life. STEM education is an initiative that is quickly becoming the need of the hour. While marks and grades are all good, it is time to allow children to pick up their own tools and experiment. Our youth is our future and they can only be productive if they know how to do so and it is our responsibility to teach them.
The idea of STEM education is to involve kids in creating something worthwhile with their basic knowledge of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Their creation could be a solution for millions in India. As a developing nation, India needs ideas. If we educate our kids to reach for the moon, they will find a way. The idea is to teach them about using their ‘textbook knowledge’ in a practical approach.
Let’s say in Hogwarts (those familiar with Harry Potter would know) if students are not taught how to use the magic spells and just made to learn them, the whole point of being a wizard would be lost. Also, with practice you learn where you were going wrong theoretically. All the things are more apparent when you apply science in real time. Taking the example of Hogwarts forward, there is a scene in Harry Potter’s first book where Hermione reaches Ron to pronounce the spell right. If he didn’t pronounce it right then the spell would be ineffective and the entire point of learning it would be a farce.
Now why I gave the example of Magic in Hogwarts is because it is the next thing similar to creation and science. This was a hypothetical example but similarly in real life, if a person only knows how to make a table but can never put the nuts and bolts together in real life, then what is the point of teaching him how to make it in the first place?
Complete education requires both theories and practice. While theory is required to create a base, it is practice that will allow the person to grow. STEM education will ensure that the kids know how to use their spells right and brew potions without fail. They won’t pronounce it wrong because they would know the value of implementation and creation. The goals of students would shift from getting the highest marks to finding the best solution for an existing problem. They would become more oriented towards doing something for the society which will work indefinitely in favour of the nation.