STEM teaching does not need high level of funding: official
Many schools complain they don’t have money to organize STEM education but the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) says STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) does not always require a lot of money.
Director of MOET’s Secondary Education Department Nguyen Xuan Thanh
Director of MOET’s Secondary Education Department Nguyen Xuan Thanh said at a conference on STEM on March 26 that encouraging achievements have been gained but many problems exist, especially the low awareness of schools, students and the community.
Since managerial officers and teachers have not been trained well enough, they are confused about STEM topics and lessons. They are not sure how to organize study activities and criteria to assess students’ work.
Besides, the ability of professional teams that program teaching plans and teachers that provide interdisciplinary lessons remains limited because teachers were trained to teach single subjects.
Thanh also pointed out that facilities and teaching aids for STEM education are lacking at many schools. Specialized rooms and modern experimental equipment do not exist for every subject.
However, Thanh said STEM education can be used at many different levels.
“Many people say schools need money to buy teaching aids for STEM teaching. But I say that STEM teaching doesn’t always require much money,” Thanh said, adding that the use of equipment should be suited to schools’ real conditions.
“I just need a lump of clay to organize a STEM lesson well,” he said.
“If dropping the lump of clay into water, the lump will sink. Teachers can ask students if they can make the lump of clay to float. If they can do this, teachers can ask them to calculate the floating part above the surface,” he explained.
To solve the problem, students need to learn the Archimedes principle which is in the physics curriculum for eighth graders.
In this case, the teaching aid is just a lump of clay, but it helps students learn by heart the formula and use the formula in calculations. They can then better understand, remember and appreciate the value of knowledge.
“It is obvious that good equipment will help a lot. However, what I want to say is that schools and localities should use teaching aids creatively, depending on their conditions. Schools without much money also can organize STEM education,” he said.
Thanh believes the most important factor is the teaching content.
Nguyen Phu Tho from Quoc Hoc Hue School thinks that different resources in society need to be tapped for STEM education. Enterprises should be given incentives if they commit to participate in STEM education projects.
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