Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education has attracted increasing attention in the last two decades, partly because the development of STEM itself, particularly in terms of Science and Technology, is often associated with national economic growth and human skills development. There is an assumed, generic link between STEM and the fostering of productivity, technological innovation and the growth of national economies and their GDP (Freeman, Marginson, and Tytler 2015). STEM education is thus becoming an increasingly significant focus for governments and for educational policy worldwide, with a high proportion of educational research and practice funding being earmarked to develop STEM. Despite the predominance of the claim that STEM education is integral to economic futures, there are critical perspectives on this economic argument in support of STEM education (Roschelle et al. 2011). Some research evidence reveals that overall educational quality is a more potent influence on economic outcomes (Hanushek and Woessmann 2012) and that innovative curricula and pedagogies are what is needed (Marginson et al. 2013). A number of large funded research projects over the last decade such as epiSTEMe in England (Cambridge University) have aimed to assess the impact of pedagogic change in STEM subjects or to intervene in the delivery of STEM as in the case of the STEM for Diversity project (see Hetherington and Wegerif this volume). Other researchers claim that in many contexts education is not the predominant determining factor in economic growth and the impact of education on the economy is bounded by scope and time (Bevan 2011; Brown, Lauder, and Ashton 2012).
- STEM education; teacher education; Mexico and UK