It’s not STEM, it is ESTEEM.

The following article has been copyrighted by the Copyrights authority of India. (registration no. : L-81132/2019)

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Former president of the United States of America once said, “Science is more than a school subject, or a periodic table, or the properties of waves. It is an approach to the world, a critical way to understand and explore and engage with the world, and then have the capacity to change the world.” With the help of scientists, engineers, and innovators a country progresses towards development. Any economy that encourages STEM becomes a global leader. Our world is becoming increasingly complex, and hence, the youth has to be equipped with the knowledge to be capable of re-creating science, innovating and developing technology, and solve problems. The country has to make its priority to increase the number of learned professionals, such as teachers, who are proficient in STEM fields. By investing in education in these vital fields, all the pressing challenges faced by our country today and tomorrow can be deciphered.

But is STEM enough?

Why do the news channels report of corruption, hostile environment created in a company due to sexual harassment, tax evasions by businesses, frauds and malpractices by top-level management?

The sole answer to this is that STEM is not enough. It is not only the STEM that is required, but also, ESTEEM. Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Ethics, and Mathematics. Without entrepreneurship, no business can run successfully and efficiently. Ethics are required to keep the members of the organization and the organization just and fair. Equitable distribution of ESTEEM fields for people of all age-groups can keep them inspired and help them to reach their full potential. Entrepreneurship involves, laying out, designing, launching, surviving, and successful running of a business. The people who create these businesses are called entrepreneurs. It involves risks in obtaining profitability, but ethically. Ethics are moral values that govern an individual’s behaviour. It involves recommending, and understanding right and wrong conduct.

The importance of Entrepreneurship and Ethics in STEM fields can be understood clearly with the following examples from Indian history, recent past, and present.

In A.D 1326, Mohammad bin Tughluq tried to bring out reforms, but most of his decisions for his empire failed because he lacked entrepreneurial capabilities and practical thinking. Taxation of the Doab region, transfer of the capital from Delhi to Devagiri (Daulatabad), lead to a lot of people dying due to starvation, travelling, and invasion by Mongols. His token currency policy led to false minting of coins which lead to a great loss to the government. In 2009, Indian-based company Satyam Computers, under the leadership of Ramalinga Raju, faced charges about Satyam’s financial accounts to be false. In 2015, Ramalinga Raju was convicted along with 10 other members. In February 2018, India witnessed the Nirav Modi scam, who is currently wanted for criminal conspiracy, cheating, money laundering, breach of trust, corruption, embezzlement, since August 2018. He was a leading diamond merchant and owner of ‘Nirav Modi Global Diamond Jewelry House’. Not only did Nirav Modi miserably fail at having proper business ethics, but also proved to be a defamed entrepreneur. Punjab National Bank also lacked ethics and entrepreneurial skills as they did not follow the basic rules of granting LoUs (Letter of Undertaking), delinked the core banking solution (CBS) from SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank) transactions. The LoU of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choski firms bypassed from the records, but other LoUs were present in the system. High-value LoUs are always recorded on a daily basis, for years LoU of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choski remained missing, but no one took crucial care of it. PND Fraud Management Committee either ignored it intentionally or clearly made a folly. The Indian “entrepreneur” Nirav Modi, is currently absconding and wanted by Interpol, Los Angeles Police Department, New York Police Department, Indian Judiciary, FBI, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Now, one can’t deny the importance of entrepreneurship and ethics in our STEM system to make it ESTEEM.

Why is ESTEEM important? An IBM report suggests that 80% of engineering students in India are “unemployable”. According to an article in Forbes, it is reported that 77% of venture capitalists believe the incapability of Indian startups to have unique business models equipped with new technologies. India doesn’t own any meta-level startups such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter. 1,503 startups since 2015 have completely shut down. In 2016, the only Indian company to make it to Forbes 25 innovative companies was Asian Paints. The primary reason for this closure is due to the duplication of Western business models, no innovation and creativity, which lead the investors to withdraw their funds. It is reported that the highest number of failures were in the e-commerce, food technology, and logistics industries, which form the core business industries in India today.

How can a country incorporate ESTEEM? All ESTEEM teachers, professors, or any other professional should be exposed to and receive the resources, training, support, development through various programs that the Government can begin. A fund for providing funds for teacher incentives, investing in education and innovation, partnership programs with schools and colleges, teacher partnerships, gathering, forums, and the national committee for ESTEEM professionals can be formed. Federal resources can be used for improving ESTEEM fields, for the adoption, adaptation, and dissemination of the learning and institutionalized practices nationwide. It’s time to commence by focusing and prioritizing ESTEEM and with its incorporation, with the help of coordination from nationwide professionals; we can drive our citizens to achievement. Hence, the country moves faster towards growth and evolution.

India needs global business skills and undoubtedly, that can be done by integrating Entrepreneurship in the STEM fields. In 2016, a U.S based think tank named Information Technology and Innovation Foundation ranked India at the bottom of the list of 56 countries for global innovation. India is an open economy with a large domestic market, addition of entrepreneurship and ethics will facilitate and strengthen the start-up culture in India.


Article published in English daily newspaper, The Hans India.

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