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8th Sep 2017

‘STEAM’ ahead for job prospects

BY incorporating the Arts into the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) curriculum Northern Ireland can use creative innovation to ensure a prosperous future, according to local teachers.

“For some time the focus has been on STEM subjects but now a movement is gaining momentum in the UK, in the wake of what’s happening in the US, to bring Arts and science together,” said Avril Hall Callaghan, General Secretary of the Ulster Teachers’ Union.

“Referred to as the STEAM ie STEM + Art = STEAM movement, this educational innovation could transform our economy in the 21st century, just as science and technology did in the last century.

“However, as one academic recently pointed out, this is nothing new. Leonardo da Vinci was doing it when he brought the two together in Renaissance Italy!

“Studies have also shown that integrating the Arts into the curriculum nurtures innovative scientists and engineers who invent patentable products and most of those interviewed believed their innovative ability was stimulated by their knowledge of the Arts.

“More transferable skills can also be cultivated by involvement in the Arts.

Countries such as Singapore, for instance, whose academic record scores highly on the international PISA academic measuring rankings, are now embracing this fusion of Arts and STEM having identified a need for innovation and creativity in their system.

“And if all that wasn’t enough, young people don’t even have to wait until further down the line in education to be exposed to STEAM. The iconic educational programme Sesame Street’s latest season actually incorporates the Arts into its existing STEM focus!”

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