Is the Future all About STEM?
Across the globe, the fast-paced development in science, technology, and innovation has launched a serious debate on what defines the priority of education. The last two decades have witnessed a rapid evolution of scientific and technological inputs in all sectors of human endeavour.
This rapid evolution is becoming an irrepressible revolution that has continued to change the education curricula of many countries, especially in underdeveloped continents like Africa and Asia.
One question continues to drive the educational reforms of many nations across the globe: what is the best way to educate our students for tomorrow? This question often answered by gaining some insight into what ‘tomorrow’ will look like in an advancing global society. The current trend has shown that science and technology are growing faster than any other area.
With the ongoing emergence of artificial intelligence and the trending ‘gig’ economy, no one could argue that science and technology have become the yardstick for measuring national progress and who becomes the world power.
With the prevailing perception of what the future holds, STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math has become the area of much emphasis in many parts of the world. At the same time, social sciences, which include humanities and arts, have been receiving less attention.
Most schools in developing countries of the world build more STEM-specific schools, equip STEM departments with more tutors, laboratories, and learning materials, give more scholarships and grants to STEM-related fields and create better working conditions for STEM-related professionals.
The STEM-obsessed education design has created a partial monopoly of what the future holds. It has constituted the core teachings on career choice in most schools. And also, it has caused an exponential increase in the number of STEM students in comparison with social sciences students.
It is creating a society that will be devoid of human control and flow of thought. It is creating a neo-colonized world that will be devoid of national cultures and ethics. There must be a balance between STEM and social sciences if the future will be what we expect it to be and yet in our controls.
Why Should STEM Science Students Not Neglect Social Sciences?
The earliest proponents of education witnessed the same scenario with what we see in this modern era. Ancient Greek philosophers, Aristotle believed that sciences and social sciences must walk side by side to guarantee a balanced and more progressive society. In his Nicomachean philosophy, he emphasized that middle ground between science and social sciences will bring about a societal ‘common good.’ He termed this middle ground, phronesis, which means “practical wisdom.”
Aristotle’s philosophy is still fundamental in today’s STEM-obsessed society because the social sciences have numerous benefits that would make STEM more profitable and human-oriented. Some of these benefits include:
1. Understanding the Multicultural World
We live in a plural society where one pill can’t treat all. Social sciences enlighten students to be able to grow into an organization that only prospers through negotiation. Having an insight into the diverse cultures of different people will help us develop scientific innovations that will be profitable to others and do a general common good.
It helps us to respect the choices of others and adapt to them. Social sciences teach foreign languages, philosophies, cultural history, poetry and societal evolutions which are fundamental determinants of a healthy interpersonal relationship.
2. Good Communication Skill
Good communication skill is an essential asset to every student. The social sciences teach students how to communicate within and without the academic space. The larger population could only understand the terms used in STEM through excellent communication methodologies.
Irrespective of how groundbreaking an innovation maybe, if the idea is not communicated correctly, it won’t be accepted by many persons. The ability to formulate sound arguments and communicate complex analytical findings is rooted in social sciences. Therefore, STEM science students need to learn novel methodologies of teaching with the larger society.
3. Creative and Critical Thinking for Solving Complex Problems
Social sciences allow for inclusive creative and critical thinking. It contributes to ensuring that scientist develops innovative ideas from the human perspective. The concepts that are taught in literature philosophy and history help students to understand social behaviours that are essential in answering many STEM-related questions. Creative thinking helps in developing the best ideas, while critical thinking help in choosing the best implementation methods for solving these problems.
4. Profitable Education from History
Good knowledge of history help students avoid the costly mistakes of the past and predict the best approach for solving multiple issues. History is the bedrock of sound leadership. Social sciences draw the attention of students to historical lessons that will broaden the horizon of their innovations. STEM science students need a good knowledge of history.
5. Corporate Intellectualism
Education is supposed to be a revolution of the whole human being. This definition shortchanges STEM science students without social sciences. Social sciences teach all other aspects of human endeavour that gives students the ability to thrive in a plural society.
It develops survival instincts, sound leadership skills, excellent economic navigation skills, excellent analytical skills, and ability to work in a multi-professional team. The truly educated are the corporate intellects, who know a little about everything alongside their speciality. Social sciences are what makes STEM science students’ corporate intellects.
The role of STEM is indispensable in a science and technology-driven society. However, STEM is just one part of student education. Social sciences make up the other parts that will enable students to make informed decisions that will engender a human-controlled society and make the world a better place.
STEM is defined as a cluster of two pairs: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and Social sciences, Arts, Education, and Humanities. STEM could also be re-defined as STEAM—Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math or STEMS—Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Social sciences.
This should become the direction of the world if it were going to have students who get educated to tackle the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. STEM science students must not neglect social sciences but see it as an integral part of their education. They could begin by joining social clubs and reading social sciences books.