For the last couple of months, we have witnessed a 180º turn to the world we’ve known. This global turmoil has taught us two definite lessons: we should never take anything for granted and that international cooperation has become more essential than ever. Regarding the latter, while politics and some schools of economic thought try to impulse an anti-globalization movement, it has become more than evident that, unlike other major global crises in our mankind’s history, we are living in an age of multilateralism, interconnection, high-end technology, and pluriculturalism. As a race for coming up with effective solutions and the rules under which our world will start living in are being set, we now know humanity will experience a “new normal”.
While international organizations and national governments push for setting this new term (“New Normal”), we should not forget the essentials that comprise the values and objectives we all as an international community have committed to fulfill and pursue, despite the changes the “new normal” will come with.
For the past decades we have seen globalization lead to major advancements in multiple areas of our lives including technology, education, industry development, economic growth, commercial opportunities, information-sharing, capacity-building, etc. These mentioned aspects, in a great sense, have been achieved with the introduction of the United Nations’ Millenium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The introduction of these goals have meant a clear and relevant pathway to which all stakeholders can pursue, as a whole, to improve our way of living (in all ways possible) and that of our Planet Earth. Although hard to see what the foreseeing future will bring, the so called “new normal” should not deviate our focus towards accomplishing these goals, but actually reinforce our willingness, commitment, and joint-responsibility to achieve them.
Moreover, we should ideate new tools and open more opportunities to make SDGs education more available to the population, as well as innovate on our current initiatives and adapt our methods to make SDG impact more (or at least equally) effective. Thus, it now becomes a global responsibility to become more conscious on the importance of working for a common goal and pursue it from a common ground. The necessity to set a global mentality amongst all stakeholders (citizens, governments, NGOs, private initiative, public initiative, etc.) is imminent and crucial to strengthen the efforts we are making to recover from the current crisis and continue on our mission for a sustainable world.
One of the tools that will lead into fomenting a more united and SDG-conscious future generation is STEM education. As we progress into developing newer and more complex technologies, as well as develop in areas such as AI, robotics, biotechnology, biomedical engineering, microbiology, and so forth, we see an ongoing trend towards motivating youth into pursuing these fields and prepare opportunities for them to actively engage in them.
The ultimate goal is then to install in our new generations a global mentality on which they can use their knowledge for the well-being of our communities. So then the question becomes: how can we achieve this in a “new normal”. The answer then turns into a series of considerations and infinite factors that can influence the way our future generations engage, learn, and live in a world that seemingly will not be similar to what most of us knew.
Yet, despite these assumptions, we must not forget that progress is meant to signify a process under which we improve, enhance, and correct the situations we live through. This is also means that it becomes a responsibility for us to generate ways on which we inspire our kids to become the scientists, engineers, doctors, mathematicians, biologists, physicists, geneticists, etc. that will change the world: that fact will always remain there.
In a world where STEM fields were seen as too hard to pursue, limited to only a certain part of the population, unattainable, and difficult to get access to proper material to engage in, we must turn the global mentality of the “new normal” to progress on the matter. We can achieve such by becoming a world where STEM education is affordable, accessible, and attractive for our youth. A world where science is no longer seen as “nerdy”, but as “cool”, “fun”, and “engaging”.
After all, these latter descriptions are true, but still not well-known in our current educational culture. Moreover, STEM education is highly prone to be engaged under international cooperation. Virtual tools and the ease to communicate with people from all over the world facilitates the opportunity to work collaboratively from abroad.
Although high-end STEM requires for materials and machinery, which require access to financial resources, core STEM activities and learning resources for youth to engage can be even done with household materials. As we promote a philosophy that gives STEM education and STEM fields the relevance it deserves, pressure upon governments and the education system to invest and impulse will rise.
Furthermore, as we seek for more ways for our youth to get motivated and eager to participate in STEM, we will become a society that believes in the future, progress, and the hope for a better and globalized world. Being that STEM can be part of the SDG education we need, we can use this opportunity to approach each other and work together towards generating these initiatives that will create an educational culture that lead us to progress and peace in our communities.
The “new normal” should not only be a time for us to ideate how different our lives will be, but actually a time to reflect on solutions to become a better, more united, and progressive world.