Exploring STEM competences for the 21st century

STEM education seeks to develop and provide innovative solutions to global issues, in particular those directly related to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. As Industrial Revolution 4.0gains momentum and influences every aspect of our everyday lives, the boundaries between STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and also between STEM and non-STEM fields, are becoming more and more blurred. Quantum-leaps in technology are forcing us to rethink the way we educate students in STEM and non-STEM fields alike. The time has come for the education sector to rethink traditional curriculum boundaries, where knowledge and skills are segregated according to subjects. The IBE has led discussions to identify and make explicit the competences that transcend knowledge areas with a view to assisting member states to develop competency-based curricula that prepare young people with the required competences to live sustainable, fulfilled and healthy lives in the rapidly changing world of the21stcentury. There is, currently, limited research into the prerequisite knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and experiences that are a necessary part a competency-based curriculum and also limited consideration of the challenges that teachers face in implementing a competency-based curriculum effectively. This is especially true for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, since the concept of STEM as a connected, and potentially integrated, field of study, is relatively new. Accordingly, there is an increasing need for an integrated STEM framework to assist teachers, trainers and curriculum developers to meet the demands for effective 21stC STEM education. The purpose of this paper is to identify and describe the contributory elements of STEM competence (i.e. the requisite knowledge, skills, attitudes and values) associated with the four core STEM subjects and the potential approaches to teaching STEM that must be considered in order to effectively implement STEM within the curriculum. By highlighting the underlying principles and foundations of each contributory discipline, this paper aims to provide a basis for the development of a STEM competence framework that might help fully illustrate and enable the coherent and effective integration of a competence-based approach across the STEM field.

Boon Ng, Soo
Current and critical issues in curriculum, learning and assessment
Series volume
53 p.
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Mathematics and science education
Curriculum development

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