The Nigerian Academy of Education (NAE), Nigeria’s umbrella body for all professionals and associations in education is making a major push for the institutionalization of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) as the fulcrum for teaching and learning in Nigerian schools.
It is to this effect that the Academy has made STEAM the major focus of their 35th Annual Congress holding in November.
With the theme titled, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) and Collaborative Education in Post COVID-19 21st century, the Academy wants to rave attention to the critical role non-sciences such as Fine and Visual Arts, music, social studies and the likes to compliment the already established Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in a fast evolving society as Nigeria’s.
The Academy, in a statement announcing the 2021 annual conference cited STEAM as the perfect bridge that is needed by Nigeria to make science, technology, engineering and the creative industry under the non-sciences work for the sustainable development of the country, especially at a time the learning environment is being modified by the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
The Local Organising Committee Chairman, Professor Salihu Ingawa, while making allusion to the focus of the 35th Annual meeting of NAE and the relevance to the country’s current development needs said, “Before now, there appeared to be a rigid distinction between Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and the Arts which include the non-sciences like Fine and Visual Arts, Music, Social Studies and others. Curriculum experts, having taken a critical look at this see such discrimination as non-productive in a world driven by inclusive collaborative principles. So the new approach to teaching and learning encourages integration of Arts subjects into STEM disciplines to achieve what is now known as STEAM. This is thus made a point of focus at the 35th annual congress of the NAE.”
On the relevance of STEAM amid the COVID-19 pandemic challenge, Prof. Ingawa said, “One usefulness of this curriculum approach is the promise of harvesting richer inclusive educational outcomes for the learner and the society.”
“Learning and teaching at all levels will have to take cognisance of the new normal and must now emphasise entrepreneurship and self-sustenance as outcomes,” he added.
During the conference, discussions around STEAM would be kick-started by a keynote to be delivered by Professor Ben Akpan, Past President of the International Council of Associations for Science Education (ICASE).
Prof. Akpan, a Professor of Science Education who is also Chair of World Conferences Standing Committee will lead the discussion to look at STEAM from Basic to tertiary levels of education within the post COVID-19 learning environment.