Sunday, March 31, 2019

Importance of STEM Education for Girls in Pakistan

This is twenty nineteen and we are lucky that we are living in the era where we have access to cutting edge technologies encompassing Artificial Intelligence and STEM education. STEM based education is not conventional education. STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of providing education in four specific subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — in an applied and interdisciplinary approach. STEM integrates the four subjects into a cohesive learning paradigm, rather than teaching the four disciplines as discrete and separate subjects, rooting real-world applications.  It is particularly designed with the mixture of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to stimulate the enthusiasm of children to pursue a career in these fields.

STEM education for Girls

Education has always been a matter of concern in Pakistan. Despite the fact that government and non-governmental organizations are playing their part in escalating this sector yet still we have attained only 60% literacy rate. From that 60%, we have 5% of girls who are gaining STEM related education. I don’t think it will be naïve of me to state that the STEM fields have historically been dominated by men. It is a fact that women have made exceptional efforts to increase their representation in current decades but we’re far from parity. There are a host of reasons for this that includes malign stereotypes that women aren’t good at math or science, structural limitations that make it hard for women to advance, lack of opportunities etc.

After graduating as a Software Engineer recently, I have started my career as a STEM instructor and I was astonished to see the potential it offers! STEM education builds analytical and critical thinking in kids from a very young age.  It is a fun learning process that creates problem solving skills in young minds.  It is a delight to know that Pakistan actually has plenty of on-going STEM career projects. The aim of hosting these projects is to inspire, encourage, and provide our youth especially girls to show them a path that STEM can be chosen as a career path. We have various contests such - National Science Talent Contest - NSTC and National Engineering Competition – NEC to fuel the passion prevailing in the young minds. Not only that, we have numerous STEM institutions that are brilliantly playing their part in broadening this domain.

STEM education for Girls

What I find a troubling factor is girls are (generally speaking) given less chance to pursue a career in their desired fields. Typically domains of Engineering and STEM are associated with boys and girls have to struggle to conduct a career there. Throughout their educational career, from pre-school to graduation level, girls put a lot of efforts in their studies and after graduating many want to start a professional career to put forth all that hard work into reality. The real challenge begins then, that is, can they work professionally in their fields of graduation? So many girls have to encounter suggestions like: “You should look for a job in school since you are a girl and you cannot work in a male dominated office.”
Dwelling in this high-tech world, fast-paced it is the right time that girls should be provided chances to step in the fields based on their interests. Moreover, modern education methodologies such as STEM education and Artificial Intelligence should be taught to girls or in fact can be made a part of girls’ school’s curriculum to forge their passion towards these domains.

Authored By Muneeba Anwar
"Muneeba Anwar is a Built-In-Geek ; Tech Enthusiast who finds solace in reading and writing about latest technologies. She keeps a close eye on happenings in the world of technology and absolutely love to write on tech-related and geeky stuff. You can reach her out at hunain.shah@hotmail.com"