What Is STEM?

STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Rather than teaching the four streams as separate discreet subjects, this curriculum aims to integrate them into a close-knit learning model, based on practical real world applications. STEM aims to have an interdisciplinary and an application-oriented approach so as to give the students a more practical and holistic world-view, rather than restricting their abilities to a single discipline.

STEM is important, because it penetrates every aspect of our lives. It integrates four of the most important disciplines in the world right into one network, made to help each and every one of us in our daily lives. From the natural world to electronics to designing buildings to basic accounting, STEM incorporates everything. The practicality and the awareness inculcated in this curriculum, provides us with the tools to solve current challenges like global warming, transportation, eco-friendly machines, leading to new innovations, techniques and ideas with the intent of making this world a more sustainable place. STEM education is going to help us shape the future, as the life of each and every one of us revolves around these four disciplines. Providing a new perspective in these disciplines will only change our lives – for the better.

A plethora of jobs are opening up around the world, which come under the ‘STEM umbrella’. In India, more and more well trained and qualified people are graduating from STEM relevant fields, giving us a competitive edge at a global level. With the rate at which this industry is growing, only great things are in store for us. More opportunities globally, the power to shape the future, the chance to lead India into a more promising tomorrow is what STEM education provides. It is imperative in this country to give every student a chance to embrace the current technology and information, granting them a chance to excel, for themselves and for the future generations.

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  • India cannot go slow on economic growth as it has to grow to the full of its potential to lift millions of people trapped in abject poverty and catch up with countries at the top of the development chart. However, India cannot take the same high-carbon growth trajectory as was followed by developed countries. The country has already become the proverbial “elephant in the room” for its high greenhouse emissions.
    Given the exigency of fighting global warming and saving our planet from doomsday scenario, India’s current energy mix which heavily relies on coal is untenable. India must shift to a clean energy path if it wants to sustain its long-term growth. But that is easier than done. The country is richly endowed with renewable energy resources, especially solar and wind. But renewable energy alone cannot meet our growing energy needs due to its intermittent nature and low conversion efficiency, at least not in the current technological scenario. That is why the possibility of India leapfrogging from fossil fuels to renewables seems far-fetched.

    Though much cleaner compared with dirty coal, natural gas is not favoured as a fuel by the power sector due to poor cost economics. Unless power sector shifts to natural gas on a large scale, there is little possibility of promoting usage of the clean fuel in India.

    Natural gas will need regulatory leg-up in the form of special tariff if it is to be made competitive for the power sector. Regulators can stipulate peak hour tariff. Gas-fired power plants in an open cycle mode can be switched on and off at a very short notice unlike coal-based stations and are best placed to operate as source of power to mitigate our peak-hour electricity shortages which remain high despite fast-paced capacity addition in coal generation.

    The ball is obviously in the central government’s court. But before it asks the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission to frame such a policy, it will have to get states on board. Since financial health of the state power distribution companies is in a mess, states are likely to resist such initiatives.

    So it is clear that if natural gas consumption has to be promoted in the power industry, states will have to be persuaded by the Centre to expedite critical reforms to address issues like power theft, below-cost electricity supply to certain categories of consumers and monopoly of state-owned entities in power distribution business.

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