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STEM training booms but not in schools

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STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education was introduced for the first time in Vietnam six years ago, targeting the high-end markets in large cities and focused on robotics and coding.

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STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines

 

STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm.

To date, STEM education has created a market boom. Many foreign language and life skill centers have opened classes teaching STEM. 

STEM-themed summer camps have also become popular. Some education service companies run several STEM centers.

However, Dang Van Son stressed that STEM education is a teaching orientation that closely links with practical life, and does not simply instruct students to carry out physics, chemistry experiments or assembling and programming robots.

“It is easy to do an experiment, but it is difficult to help students understand the nature of experiments and link experiments with applications in the real life. And the STEM education boom in school is what we are expecting,” he said.

STEM education can be divided into three levels. STEM 1.0 can be interpreted as STEM-oriented lessons and study paired with practice. STEM 2.0 means carrying out some inter-disciplinary themes. STEM 3.0 integrates science, technology and mathematics to solve real problems.

In developed countries, STEM 2.0 and 3.0 are popular in school. However, in Vietnam, where the study still does not pair with practice, it is necessary to set up more reasonable standards. 

It would be a success if STEM 1.0 can be deployed in curricular lessons. At STEM clubs, STEM 2.0 and 3.0 can be implemented.

The problem of STEM education in Vietnam, according to Son, is that STEM 3.0 is present at clubs and extracurricular programs, while STEM 1.0 is still unavailable at school.

However, there are still many problems in STEM at clubs or in extracurricular programs.

Most STEM clubs are regulated by teachers and the activities are organized by teachers, while students simply do as they are instructed. 

A true STEM club must be the place which students regulate and teachers only act as supporters.

Some STEM clubs have become famous as their students can assemble and programs complex robots. 

However, in fact, these are the results of efforts made by students and their parents, and the excellence doesn’t truly reflect the strength of the clubs.

 

Source: VietNamNet

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