STEM to enable practical learning among students of Classes 6-12

In the first phase, the programme will be implemented for classes 6,7 and 8 with focus on science and mathematics.
Concepts in science and mathematics will be explained with practical experiments.
Concepts in science and mathematics will be explained with practical experiments.

CHENNAI: To inculcate practical learning among government and government-aided students, the School Education Department is set to launch STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), a programme for students of classes 6 to 12 in November. These subjects will be taught through experiments for students to better grasp concepts over textbook learning.

In the first phase, the programme will be implemented for classes 6,7 and 8 with focus on science and mathematics. Though it’s a government-owned initiative, several NGOs working in the field of education have been roped in for implementation and training teachers.

Along with Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) under the education department, the NGOs held a four-day training session in Chennai, for 3 key resource persons across Tamil Nadu, who were called in from each district, where an overall 114 persons participated in the session.

A participant of the training said, “Since the education department feels that teaching in government and government-aided schools is solely via the chalkboard method (theory-based), it decided to launch STEM, where practical learning will be encouraged, and concepts will be taught conducting experiments. In the first phase, we’ve been trained and termed as key resource persons. We will be monitoring and teaching students in their respective districts.”

Surprisingly, more than government teachers, NGOs will act as backbone for the programme with SSA.

The department is said to soon appoint a STEM ambassador (with basic knowledge on these subjects) in each educational block who will cover roughly 25-30 schools. These ambassadors will visit every school and teach subject-concepts to students, in the presence of the government teacher by conducting experiments using kits. A mobile app is also likely to be launched soon.

Explaining the programme and its implementation in 13,000 schools in TN, Balaji Sampath, a founder of Aid India, one of the NGOs working with STEM, said, “STEM is a beginning of an emerging science club at every government and aided schools in TN. After years of discussion, STEM has become a reality due to the government’s interest. STEM ambassadors, who were chosen by the NGOs, will be given kits to conduct these experiments and teach concepts. Currently, teachers are focused on theory; this programme will enable them to adopt experimental methodologies into their teaching.”

Balaji also confirmed that besides the five NGOs associated with the STEM programme at present, many others are likely to join in coming months.

A Sarva Shikshya Abhiyan official did not respond despite multiple attempts.

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