Art-integrated projects, or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), a new arrival in the CBSE syllabus, should not be viewed as a burden. It is an attempt to add a new discipline to the existing STEM education system, and should be embraced with joy.All these years we’ve been studying all topics needed for our life, and it’s time we choose the subjects that interest us and also shape our career.
Two or three decades ago, one might gawk at a girl who says that she’s studying Science. And you might still come across some people like that. But now, you might get stares if you say that you’re interested in linguistics or some other ‘non-science’ subjects.
Science does expose us to various possibilities, but is that the only option? Certainly not. Science and Arts are just as important as the other, we only need to see how.Despite offering various streams, every year we see lakhs of students competing for a limited number of seats that are often less than the number of people required to work. There are professions other than being a doctor or engineer. This is why many people nowadays opt courses to do ‘something different’.Have we not come across viral photos of stalls on roads or at railway stations with vendors putting up boards bragging about their B.Tech?
Take a look at this paradoxical situation where on one hand people are jobless and on the other hand there are companies short of employees. Well, this may not always be the case as employers often find many people competing for a single post.In this situation, it’s important to create new jobs or tweak the existing ones. During this pandemic, we saw that not all jobs require offices. Similarly, even without a few people, a company’s overall productivity remains unchanged.
Arts helps us in thinking critically and being creative and open-minded. It helps us think of new solutions for novel problems that arise. Take the example of a movie—it’s never complete without a good story, suitable music, and mesmerising visual effects. A perfect movie is a perfect blend of science, technology and arts.
What does STEAM education offer?
Will STEAM education work? In an ideal world it will. But it might not work in a place where people cram answers to a set of previous year questions and manage to scrape a 70-80% for their desired colleges. Marks don’t measure our intellect, but they open many doors for us. It’s an open secret in States like Andhra Pradesh, where people prefer the state board for classes 11 and 12, only because CBSE demands a lot of projects, critical thinking, and innovativeness. It’s a dream of many students like me to see a rote-learning-free education system in India.
Now, think of a restaurant which serves only state-based thalis, which includes the special dishes of the respective states. But if you want to have some dhokla, kulcha, biryani, rasmalai, you have to pick an item from each thali. Our current education system is like the state thali, with schools and junior colleges choosing the subjects we should opt for. But the National Education Policy 2020 brings us new hopes. If not us, our juniors will have a good learning experience.
Our world would be in chaos without laws and the striving efforts of lawyers. We need authors and artists, whose works are not just for information but for pleasure too. Every job (archaeologists, entrepreneurs, fashion designers, photographers etc) is important; they make our lives easier.
The author is a student at Timpany Senior Secondary School. Views are personal.