Experts say that providing practical exposure to students about STEM is needed to prepare them for real-world problems.
Government Higher Primary School Haragadde won Synquizitive, an interschool science quiz, held today at the Science Gallery. The three-member team shared their happiness by thanking their teachers and parents who helped them in their journey. The teachers while congratulating the students added how such events helped build confidence in students.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, founder of Biocon, while speaking at the event said that it is very important for children to be interested in science and to always ask questions. “The quiz is organised annually to increase the interest of students in the field of science, promote a sense of competitiveness, and provide them with opportunities,” she said.
This was the second edition of the quiz organised by Syngene CSR, a Biocon subsidiary, in association with Agastya International Foundation to promote STEM education among students. Government Higher Primary Schools Bingipura, Devangapete, Haragadde, Veerasandra, Marasuru, and Agara were the schools that qualified for the finals. They competed against 150 schools from Bangalore, Mangalore, and Hyderabad during preliminary rounds to qualify for the final. “It is all about science,” said one of the organising committee members.
Dr. Vasudev Kalkunte Aatre, Former Head, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said that science is fascinating and that students must find inspiration from the life stories of renowned scientists such as Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, and James Watt. “To become a powerful country, India must become a powerful science country,” he added.
Dr. Tessy Thomas, Former Director General of Aeronautical Systems, DRDO, Dr. Jayshree Aiyar, Vice President, Biology, Discovery Services, Syngene International Ltd., and K. Thiagarajan, Executive Vice Chairman, Agastya International Foundation were the others who spoke at the event. They urged the students to be inquisitive and to make the most of the opportunities available to them.
STEM education refers to an interdisciplinary course in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) in 2021, “Stem education in India focussed on theory with little exposure to industry”. The survey found that encouraging out-of-the-box thinking and application-based learning should be the key focus for the new-age STEM education system.
Dr. Sonali Dasgupta, the founder of STEMonsters, which promotes STEM education in school children, said that students in India have always pursued STEM courses for their higher education, but the problem lies when these do not translate into the innovation index of the country. “The present education system, that focuses on theory, is not equipped to prepare students for the current requirements of the market,” she said. In a scenario where teachers struggle to complete the theoretical curriculum in a fixed timeline, the efforts to improve the current situation should come from the authorities. Hands-on experience training should be integrated into the curriculum and practical exposure to students should not be limited to science fairs and fests organised once in a year by schools, she said. She added that the National Education Policy, 2020 is a step in the right direction but one must wait and see how it will be implemented.
While G.H.P.S. Veerasandra and Marasuru were the first and second runners-up respectively, G.H.P.S. Devangapete won the consolation prize.