Where is the E in STEM report
Engineers Canada worked with MQO Research to commission a report on the current state of engineering within the K-12 education system and discovered that the “engineering” part of STEM is missing from the K-12 educational landscape. Based on this report, Engineers Canada is looking to explore the adoption of a collective impact model to facilitate change.
The report found that many curriculums introduced the topic late, or not at all, without including any engineering-specific learning objectives or goals. In some cases, educators had an unclear idea of what constitutes “engineering” and instead introduced engineering concepts and activities as simply “science” (or “technology” or “math”). Additionally, a lack of data makes it difficult to create benchmarks, track progress, or measure impacts of engineering education and initiatives at the K-12 level.
However, the report also found that there are several organizations currently doing good work to promote engineering to young people across Canada in a variety of ways including camps, professional development for teachers, resources for teachers, classroom visits, mentorship, summer employment programs, tournaments and competitions, funding, networking, community events, and gender-based initiatives.
Based on these findings, the report outlines several recommendations. The report recommended a strategic focus on promoting engineering in the K-12 education system to encourage a more diverse group of Canadians to pursue a career in engineering. Earlier engagement in the classroom can lead to increased interest, and promoting the use of the word “engineering” along with simple-to-understand shared definition and messaging will lead students to recognize their interest in engineering and consider it as a potential career.
By investing in the K-12 space, Engineers Canada and its partners hope to create a more inclusive and diverse engineering profession that reflects Canada's population. The implementation of these recommendations will help inspire the next generation of engineers and drive innovation for years to come.