RGU academic launches bid to address STEMM crisis

Dr. Nadimul Faisal
Dr Nadimul Faisal was invited to be a member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland (YAS) in 2020. He was one of 44 applicants to have been invited to join YAS for a membership of five year. He writes about his motivations behind joining YAS and what he hopes to accomplish.

As a Reader in Mechanical Engineering at the university, I specialise in micromechanics and surface engineering. I am also a founder and director of a start-up technology company, d-Finger Ltd (or d.FL), where I am developing sensing methods to digitise runway surface conditions assessment process.

Through this membership, I will be partnering with YAS members to explore the prospects of reducing the impact of schoolteacher shortages in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) subjects in Scotland. By contributing to this theme, I hope to inform policy decisions related to addressing these shortages.

It is very common to find negative news articles on this topic and there is little doubt that Scotland is going through a severe STEMM crisis. There are 5,046 schools in Scotland, including 2,544 early learning centres, 2,012 primary schools, 357 secondary schools and 133 special schools, and there are 43,500 teachers working in Scotland – these numbers paint a bleak picture about the high demand for STEMM subject teachers in the country.

In my own experience, I have seen that improving knowledge in STEMM subjects requires significant involvement of all stakeholders such as the government, funding council, STEMM academics, students and university leaders. While there is a peer mentoring program which was launched by the Scottish Government in 2019, designed to support and inspire young people to get involved in STEMM, this initiative may not be enough to fill skills gaps in the labour market.

This is why I have started working on a project which proposes a National Teaching Services (compulsory or voluntary) by focused group of STEMM subject university graduates/academics and industry professionals, to mitigate teachers’ shortages. This project will start via survey and engagement with educators, policymakers, and resource developers. If my proposal could be implemented over next 10 years, this will benefit the overall socio-economic conditions of Scotland. This could also cover other societal themes like social enterprise and sustainability

As part of the project, I would also lead and propose the development of ‘STEMM Bank’ - a national level database of STEMM subject university graduates/academics and industry professionals who could be available to supplement the teaching of STEMM subjects regularly in various school in Scotland. This may well have the bonus of attracting more people to STEMM teaching as a profession. As part of my role at YAS, I would also be involved in forming national policy by engaging with the Scottish government.

If you are a STEMM subject university graduates/academics/industry professional or know someone who is and would like to be involved please get in touch:

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