STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education is a critical and multifaceted endeavour that holds the potential to drive innovation, economic growth, and social progress. Indeed, it is seen as an essential component of preparing individuals and society for the challenges and opportunities of the future.
To find out more about this sphere of education, Education UAE spoke to Shubhangi Singh, Partner and Head of Institute at Pure Minds Academy, who has a seasoned background in robotics, programming, and the broader STEM landscape. A staunch advocate for the life-changing benefits of hands-on learning, she galvanizes teams to adopt cutting-edge solutions by crafting educational frameworks tailored for the modern student, while also fostering their overall well-being. We first asked Shubhangi for a little background on Pure Minds Academy, its philosophy, and what courses it offers.
Shubhangi Singh: Established in 2015, Pure Minds Academy is a beacon of educational excellence, dedicated to nurturing young minds through a diverse array of STEM, robotics, coding, and life skills programmes. Our ethos is rooted in the belief that every child is unique, possessing distinct talents and interests. We are committed to offering avenues for them to discover and flourish in their individual passions. Our curriculum spans from STEM and robotics to specialised life skills courses such as Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy, and Cybersecurity. Central to our programmes is the cultivation of essential 21st-century skills, including critical thinking, effective communication, problem-solving, creativity, resilience, and innovation. For students aged 10-18, we proudly present our specialised NCFE-accredited courses, including Game Design with Python Programming and 3D Game Design with Unreal Engine. NCFE is a prestigious awarding body acknowledged by the UK Department of Education and regulated by OFQUAL. Upon course completion, students will have an impressive portfolio of projects and games, not only to showcase to friends and family but also to enhance their academic portfolios.
For students aged 10-18, we proudly present our specialised NCFE-accredited courses
EdUAE: In relation to coding, why is this such a great skill for youngsters to learn and what age is the ideal time to start?
SS: In today’s digital age, technology and artificial intelligence (AI) are reshaping our world at an unprecedented pace. It’s crucial for the younger generation to be equipped with the skills to navigate and thrive in this evolving landscape. As AI continues to advance, it’s anticipated that many routine tasks will be automated, placing a premium on computer science expertise in the job market of the future. When considering the ideal age to introduce coding, it’s akin to foundational subjects like reading or arithmetic. Children can begin their coding journey as early as 3-½ to 4 years old. Starting at this age allows them to grasp the fundamental principles of coding, paving the way for more advanced block-based coding and text programming in the future.
EdUAE: How do you assess student progress and knowledge throughout the course? Are there quizzes, assignments, or exams?
SS: At Pure Minds Academy, we champion a project-based learning methodology. Instead of traditional quizzes, assignments, or exams, students are empowered to apply the skills and concepts they’ve learned by crafting their own projects within set guidelines. This hands-on approach not only showcases their acquired knowledge but also offers a tangible representation of their progress throughout the course.
EdUAE: What are your goals for students who complete this course, and what skills and knowledge should they expect to have gained by the end?
SS: Our primary objective for students enrolled in our STEM, robotics, and coding courses is to ensure they grasp the core concepts of the chosen theme and can effectively demonstrate their proficiency through culminating projects and presentations. For those undertaking our Game Design with Python Programming and 3D Game Design with Unreal Engine NCFE courses, the expectation is that by the course’s conclusion, students will be adept at independently crafting their own projects on these platforms. Beyond mastering the programming platforms, we aim for our students to complete their projects confidently and seamlessly. To recognise their commitment and achievements, students undergo both internal and external evaluations, culminating in certificates awarded directly by NCFE.
EdUAE: Which pathways and industries can young people move into and what are the prospects for a fulfilling and financially rewarding career?
SS: As artificial intelligence permeates diverse sectors, including the arts and healthcare, there’s an escalating demand for roles such as Artificial Intelligence Engineers, Machine Learning Engineers, Data Analysts, and AI Research Scientists. Additionally, with the rapid technological evolution comes heightened vulnerabilities, amplifying the need for cybersecurity experts. Roles like Cybersecurity Engineer, Information Security Analyst, and Digital Forensics Examiner are becoming increasingly pivotal. Given the soaring demand for professionals in these domains, there’s a notable shortage of qualified individuals. Financially, even entry-level positions in coding can command an annual salary of approximately $85,000.
EdUAE: Can you share any success stories from past students who have benefited from your coding instruction?
SS: Numerous parents have repeatedly chosen our programmes, not only for one child but often for their younger siblings as well. This loyalty stems from the valuable skills their children acquire, the cost-effectiveness of our courses, and the enriching interactions with our seasoned instructors. In fact, some of our alumni have pursued careers as cybersecurity experts and developed a passion for robotics.
EdUAE: Are there any additional resources, such as coding tools or online communities, that you recommend for students looking to enhance their learning outside of class?
SS: Numerous online platforms and communities, such as GitHub, Reddit, Code.org, and freeCodeCamp, are at students’ disposal. These resources offer assistance with programming challenges, provide updated information, highlight current trends, and foster engaging discussions.
Shubhangi Singh, is Partner and Head of Institute at Pure Minds Academy. She has a seasoned background in robotics, programming, and the broader STEM landscape. A staunch advocate for the life-changing benefits of hands-on learning, she galvanizes teams to adopt cutting-edge solutions by crafting educational frameworks tailored for the modern student, while also fostering their overall wellbeing.