LÀO CAI — Lùng Thị Hoài, a Nùng ethnic minority student of Nàn Sán Secondary School, uses equipment to show off electric fireworks she and her peers made to celebrate the 2021 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) festival in Si Ma Cai District, the northern mountainous province of Lào Cai.
STEM is an approach to learning and development that integrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Students are expected to develop their skills through STEM education including problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, decision making and acceptance of failure.
Hundreds of students in the district have benefited from STEM education.
This was the first year the STEM festival had been held in the district – one of the poorest districts of the country after the provincial Department of Education and Training Department issued a document to instruct the implementation of STEM education in secondary schools in September 2020.
Nguyễn Thị Kiều Oanh, head of the district’s Education and Training Office, said officials of the department had visited many localities to plan the festival.
The festival was not only a chance for the students to show off the electric firework device but also run toy cars on race tracks using kinetic energy, Khoa học và Phát Triển (Science and Development) online newspaper reported.
Also at the festival, the office invited two students in Lý Tự Trọng Secondary School in the province’s Lào Cai City to operate a robot, programmed by them, Oanh said.
The two students won the first prize in the robotics competition in the north, held by the Central Youth Union in November 2020, she added.
Oanh said the office wanted students in Nàn Sán Secondary School to do more in the next festivals, such as programming robots like the students in Lý Tự Trọng Secondary School in Lào Cai City did.
To do that, the office plans to hold a training course for programming robots for both teachers and students in a total of eight schools in the district this month, she said.
The training course will be organised with the support of teachers in Lào Cai City and the STEM Alliance, she said.
Established in 2015, the STEM Alliance – an organisation dedicated to connecting volunteers participating in STEM promotion activities – has trained some 10,000 general teachers about STEM education and helped establish more than 500 STEM clubs across the country, especially in rural areas.
The alliance also plays an important role in organising six National STEM Festivals and five Open Math Festivals.
STEM universal education
The district administration issued Project No 04- DA/HU on July 31, 2020, on improving the quality of education and training for 2020-25. The project aims to promote STEM education at all schools in the district.
The move came under the goal of STEM universal education of the provincial education sector.
Over the past five years, the provincial education sector has conducted many STEM education training programmes for thousands of teachers.
The education sector has also set up STEM advisory groups for all levels of the education sector to build a formal system of STEM education.
To do that, the provincial education sector has received support from experienced STEM educators such as Đặng Văn Sơn of Hà Nội National University, Hoàng Vân Đông of Electricity University, Dương Tuấn Hưng of Việt Nam Academy of Science and Technology, Lê Chí Ngọc and Hàn Huy Dũng of Hà Nội University of Technology. — VNS