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Saturday, July 24, 2021

95% children recall male role models as inspiration in STEM fields: Report

As many as 30 per cent of parents feel that the work environment in STEM fields is not conducive for girls to thrive.

By: Education Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 1, 2021 8:10:02 pm
women in stem, girls in technical courses,Parents feel that societal pressures are one of the main reasons behind underrepresentation of women in STEM. File.

As many as 95 per cent of children, including girls, recall male role models as inspiration in STEM fields, highlighted a survey conducted by ed-tech company Avishkaar. The survey — India’s Future in Next-Generation Tech & STEM – was conducted in June 2021 and revealed that 50 per cent of parents feel that societal pressures are one of the main reasons behind the underrepresentation of women in STEM, while 42 per cent feel that the parents’ influence plays a role. As many as 30 per cent of parents even feel that the work environment in our country in these fields is more suitable for males versus females.

The survey was conducted with 5000 parents and children respectively, across Indian cities including Delhi NCR, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad and Cochin.

Also read | Over 12 crore girls enrolled in schools, only 39% schools have computers: UDISE report

It further highlighted the need for schools to implement hands-on learning and introduce children to the world of innovation and move away from rote learning techniques. As many as 53 per cent of the parent respondents use the hands-on learning approach to keep up their children’s interest levels in next-gen tech and STEM subjects.

Only 33 per cent of parents feel that the current school curriculum is enough to help their child prepare for a future in next-gen tech and STEM to some extent and 90 per cent of parents feel that this aspect of the curriculum should be made a priority in school.

When asked about how critical STEM was for their child, 81 per cent of parents with male children feel that next-gen technology education and STEM is critical for their child, as compared to 68 per cent of parents with female children. When children were asked to express their choice, 85 per cent of male children would choose to pursue a career in STEM, as compared to only 57 per cent of female children.

Around 56 per cent of all parents are keen for their children to pursue IT/ Technology, more than any other subject. This is followed by science (46 per cent) and mathematics (43 per cent). In contrast, only 23 per cent of parents wish their child to pursue Arts-related subjects. On the other hand, 54 per cent of children wish to pursue science in future, while roughly 57 per cent wish to pursue IT/ Technology.

Read | Only 15% research and development workforce are women: President Kovind

“It is important that we provide safe spaces for children, especially girls, to take risks and help them build tribes where they can brainstorm ideas and think outside the box. The next important step is gender neutrality, where not every girl has to pursue STEM careers, but children who are really good at it and have interest in the field should have the opportunity to do that”, said Pooja Goyal, COO, and co-founder, Avishkaar.

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