01 Jul 2021 23:24 IST

IT/tech still a popular choice among students and parents: Avishkaar study

95 per cent children, including girls, recall male role models as an inspiration in the STEM field

Nearly 56 per cent of parents want their children to pursue IT/ technology, while only 23 per cent wished for their child to pursue arts-related subjects. Moreover, 57 per cent of students, like parents, wished to pursue IT/ technology, as well. The study conducted among 5,000 children and 5,000 parents across Indian cities including Delhi NCR, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, and Cochin, was conducted by edtech platform Avishkaar, which focuses on AI, robotics and app. development.

Why STEM?

Parents believe STEM courses would be the most relevant in the near future (69 per cent) and they would improve children's analytical skills (75 per cent).

The survey, titled “India’s Future in Next-Generation Tech & STEM” brought to light two pertinent insights, the gendered understanding of education and the need to implement hands-on learning in education.

Gender bias

95 per cent children, including girls, recall male role models as an inspiration in the STEM fields, highlighting the urgent need to increase the exposure around women role models. When asked why there weren’t enough girls opting to pursue a career in STEM, the three top reasons cited were — 1) 50 per cent of parents attribute it to societal pressures; 2) 42 per cent feel that the parents’ influence on children in the decision making process; and 3) 30 per cent of parents believe the work environment in these fields is far more suitable for men rather than women.

"We need to ensure that our children are not mere consumers but creators of technology. The process of building new things and creating new solutions is rife with failure and needs a lot of grit and resilience, both skills that we need to inculcate in our children. It is important we provide safe spaces for children, especially girls, to take risks and think outside the box. Not every girl has to pursue STEM careers, but those who are really good at it and have interest in the field should have the opportunity to do so," said Pooja Goyal, COO, and Co-founder, Avishkaar.

Beyond exams

The report highlighted the need for schools to implement hands-on learning and introduce children to the world of innovation and move away from rote learning technique. 53 per cent of the parent-respondents took a hands-on learning approach to keep their children’s interest levels high in STEM subjects. This includes toys and kits that help their children with application-based learning. Only 33 per cent of parents feel that the current school curriculum is enough to help their child prepare for the future. 90 per cent of parents feel that the innovation aspect of the curriculum should be made a priority in schools.