The STEAM education system which is introduced from March 31 under the theme 'Let's see – let's work – step into the future', can be utilised to strengthen the national economy since STEAM education system contributes up to 65 percent of the GDP of some countries, Education Minister Dr. Susil Premajayantha said.
STEAM will arm schoolchildren how to combine the conceptual knowledge acquired in the classroom under general education with practical use in the classroom as well as outside of it, he added.
The STEAM education model is currently used in 96 countries around the world led by the United States and has attracted the attention of educators as a very successful method of education. The STEAM education system was first introduced in 1999 by the National Science Foundation of the United States of America to their schools. It has been developed when today and is known worldwide under the name of STEAM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics).
It is believed that Finland, which has the number one education system in the world, also has introduced the STEAM education system.
“Our country is not yet adapted to it, so to measure the success of that education system. The international assessment test called PISA (PISA- Program for International) is conducted annually for children after the age of 15. Unfortunately Sri Lanka students do not have the opportunity to appear for Student Assessments. It has been revealed after 20 years of STEAM education in the United States of America, 62 per cent of the country's national income is represented by creative citizens including innovators born out of the STEAM education system” he noted. The Minister further commented that our children should also be given the opportunity to get hands-on observations and experiences in various places and environments such as museums, science labs, mining centres, planetarium and not limited to the classroom.
It was stated that emerging subjects such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, genetic technology should be opened to school children by providing opportunities to use them.
When asked how long would take to implement the STEAM countrywide he said that it is not that difficult to carry out this educational transformation because we have a high level of human resources consisting of talented teachers,
This STEAM education programme, will be implemented jointly for the first time in Sri Lanka in coordination with the Ministry, National Science Foundation, Science and Technology Centres, University System and Training Institutes.
“The STEAM system will reduce the gap between higher education and general education and will provide the rationale to overcome challenges of the 21st century. It is expected to produce a group of children with thinking. Otherwise, it will not be possible to get rid of the outdated exam-centred education system of studying, memorising and writing for the exam” he added.
The Minister further said that he expects to implement this STEAM education process successfully in the school system by providing physical resources such as textbooks to the students in due time.