STEM – the education system that incorporates science, technology, engineering and mathematics – has always been a dominant model used in schools around the globe. However, an ever changing world calls for a more evolved approach to education; STEAM. The addition of the arts, such as humanities, language, social sciences, dance, music, visual arts, drama, design and new media is vital for the youth of today.
The arts create an element of creative confidence to the STEM education which is opening new doors for students. Advocates for the fifth element believe that arts are the key to creating a more rounded education and creative thinking for the next generation. This will expand mindsets and encourage critical thinking in young learners.
STEAM education is necessary in the digital era
STEAM seeks to combine both art and science to create new opportunities, connections and discoveries, where learners can explore both elements of literal and lateral education to broaden their minds. By implementing the arts into the curriculum, endless career paths come to life in the ever-expanding digital era.
Teaching important skill sets like problem solving, critical thinking, innovation, creativity and collaboration will harness crucial capabilities in schools to ensure that the future generations are prepared for real-life challenges and tasks.
STEAM is a way to incorporate elements of art into science, allowing students to combine their studies in essential areas of a whole spectrum of disciplines. It will give them better opportunities for employment and a more rounded education. In addition STEAM will suit a wider range of students – not just those with a scientific mind, but also those learners with a better affiliation towards the arts.
Despite the importance of STEAM to learners, there are as little as 5% of South African schools that provide art as a school-leaving subject. There is a major need for change in this ever-evolving world to create competent learners who are ready for the workforce. Where technical topics can be combined with creativity and innovation, the future of education will remain resilient in a rapidly-changing world.
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