Secondary school teachers’ interest and self-efficacy in implementing STEM education in the science curriculum

Mirjam Ndaimehafo Asilevi 1 * , Sari Havu-Nuutinen 1, Jingoo Kang 1
More Detail
1 School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education, Philosophical Faculty, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, FINLAND
* Corresponding Author
EUR J SCI MATH ED, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp. 297-311.
Published Online: 22 March 2024, Published: 01 April 2024
OPEN ACCESS   367 Views   367 Downloads
Download Full Text (PDF)


This study examines the role of Namibian secondary school science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers’ interest in STEM education and self-efficacy in implementing STEM education in science education curricula. Furthermore, it aimed to distinguish male and female Namibian teachers’ interests and self-efficacy regarding STEM education and investigate how different teaching subjects affect them. To achieve this goal, a survey was completed with (n=200) secondary school teachers, both males and females. Data were analyzed quantitatively using exploratory factor analysis and analyzed covariance. The results show that most teachers were highly interested and confident in implementing STEM subjects into science curricula. While Namibian teachers indicated a high level of interest, they also revealed a high lack of interest in STEM, implying that at least some teachers felt bored and meaningless in implementing STEM education. However, gender plays a significant role in teachers’ negative self-efficacy, with male teachers being less confident than female teachers in implementing STEM education. Moreover, teachers in the present study have high positive and negative self-efficacy levels regarding implementing STEM education. Therefore, these findings highlight the need for a paradigm shift, especially in the Namibian science curricula, to promote STEM subjects and to improve science education. Potential implications from this research also suggest that teachers’ participants benefit significantly from learning within a community by engaging in solutions to real-world problems.


Asilevi, M. N., Havu-Nuutinen, S., & Kang, J. (2024). Secondary school teachers’ interest and self-efficacy in implementing STEM education in the science curriculum. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 12(2), 297-311.


  • Al Bataineh, M., & Anderson, S. (2015). Jordanian social studies teachers’ perceptions of competency needed for implementing technology in the classroom. Contemporary Educational Technology, 6(1), 38-61.
  • Ali, A., & Shubra, C. (2010). Efforts to reverse the trend of enrollment decline in computer science programs. Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology, 7, 209-224.
  • Amadhila, E. M., & Guest, J. (2022). Teach outside your comfort zone: A qualitative study of higher education students’ conceptions in Namibia. Cogent Education, 9(1), 2026189.
  • Anyolo, E. O., Kärkkäinen, S., & Keinonen, T. (2018). Implementing education for sustainable development in Namibia: School teachers’ perceptions and teaching practices. Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability, 20(1), 64-81.
  • Boeve-De Pauw, J., De Loof, H., Walan, S., Gericke, N., & Van Petegem, P. (2022a). Teachers’ self-efficacy and role when teaching STEM in high-tech informal learning environments. Research in Science & Technological Education.
  • Boeve-de Pauw, J., Olsson, D., Berglund, T., & Gericke, N. (2022b). Teachers’ ESD self-efficacy and practices: A longitudinal study on the impact of teacher professional development. Environmental Education Research, 28(6), 867-885.
  • Budu, G. B., Kemetse, J. K., & Amponsah, K. D. (2022). A Ghanaian study on multiple intelligences of pre-service science teachers in selected colleges of education. Education Quarterly Reviews, 5(1).
  • Bybee, R. W. (2013). The case for STEM education: Challenges and opportunities. National Science Teachers Association.
  • Chen, Y.-C., Wu, H.-K., & Hsin, C.-T. (2022). Science teaching in kindergartens: Factors associated with teachers’ self-efficacy and outcome expectations for integrating science into teaching. International Journal of Science Education, 44(7), 1045-1066.
  • Christian, K. B., Kelly, A. M., & Bugallo, M. F. (2021). NGSS-based teacher professional development to implement engineering practices in STEM instruction. International Journal of STEM Education, 8, 21.
  • Dailey, D., Jackson, N., Cotabish, A., & Trumble, J. (2018). STEMulate engineering academy: Engaging students and teachers in engineering practices. Roeper Review, 40(2), 97-107.
  • Diekman, A. B., Weisgram, E. S., & Belanger, A. L. (2015). New routes to recruiting and retaining women in STEM: Policy implications of a communal goal congruity perspective. Social Issues and Policy Review, 9(1), 52-88.
  • Dong, Y., Wang, J., Yang, Y., & Kurup, P. M. (2020). Understanding intrinsic challenges to STEM instructional practices for Chinese teachers based on their beliefs and knowledge base. International Journal of STEM Education, 7(1), 1-12.
  • Duarte, C., Jankowski, M., Tillotson, C., & Wilson, E. (2018). Assessing Namibia’s STEM education: Focusing on the primary level.
  • El-Deghaidy, H., & Mansour, N. (2015). Science teachers’ perceptions of STEM education: Possibilities and challenges. International Journal of Learning and Teaching, 1(1), 51-54.
  • Ertl, B., & Hartmann, F. G. (2019). The interest profiles and interest congruence of male and female students in STEM and non-STEM fields. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 897.
  • Estapa, A. T., & Tank, K. M. (2017). Supporting integrated STEM in the elementary classroom: A professional development approach centered on an engineering design challenge. International Journal of STEM Education, 4, 6.
  • Filippi, A., & Agarwal, D. (2017). Teachers from instructors to designers of inquiry-based science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education: How effective inquiry-based science education implementation can result in innovative teachers and students. Science Education International, 28(4), 258-270.
  • Finnish National Board on Research Integrity. (2019). Finnish national board on research integrity TENK guidelines 2019: The ethical principles of research with human participants and ethical review in the human sciences in Finland. koarvioinnin_ohje_2019.pdf
  • Fitzgerald, A., & Smith, K. (2016). Science that matters: Exploring science learning and teaching in primary schools. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 41(4), 64-78.
  • Gonzalez, H. B., & Kuenzi, J. J. (2012). Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education: A primer. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.
  • Guzey, S. S., Moore, T. J., & Harwell, M. (2016). Building up stem: An analysis of teacher-developed engineering design-based stem integration curricular materials. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research, 6(1), 10-29.
  • Hamdu, G., Fuadi, F. N., Yulianto, A., & Akhirani, Y. S. (2020). Items quality analysis using Rasch model to measure elementary school students’ critical thinking skill on stem learning. Jurnal Pendidikan Indonesia [Indonesian Education Journal], 9(1), 61-74.
  • Hartell, E., Gumaelius, L., & Svärdh, J. (2015). Investigating technology teachers’ self-efficacy on assessment. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 25, 321-337.
  • Hasanah, U. (2020). Key definitions of STEM education: Literature review. Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 16(3), e2217.
  • Heba, E. D., Mansour, N., Alzaghibi, M., & Alhammad, K. (2017). Context of STEM integration in schools: Views from in-service science teachers. EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 13(6), 2459-2484.
  • Hidi, S. (2006). Interest: A unique motivational variable. Educational Research Review, 1, 69-82.
  • Hill, C., Corbett, C., & St Rose, A. (2010). Why so few? Women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. American Association of University Women.
  • Ismail, M. H., Salleh, M. F. M., & Nasir, N. A. M. (2019). The issues and challenges in empowering STEM on science teachers in Malaysian secondary schools. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 9(13), 430-444.
  • Jordan, K., & Carden, R. (2017). Self-efficacy and gender in STEM majors. Modern Psychological Studies, 22(2), 8.
  • Katshuna, H. M., & Shikalepo, E. E. (2023). Unpacking teachers’ roles in the implementation of new school curriculum. International Journal of Social Science and Human Research, 6(10), 6430-6433.
  • Kelley, T. R., Knowles, J. G., Holland, J. D., & Han, J. (2020). Increasing high school teachers’ self-efficacy for integrated STEM instruction through a collaborative community of practice. International Journal of STEM Education, 7, 14.
  • Killewald, A., & Xie, Y. (2013). American science education in its global and historical contexts. Bridge, 43(1), 15-23.
  • Klassen, R. M., & Chiu, M. M. (2011). The occupational commitment and intention to quit of practicing and pre-service teachers: Influence of self-efficacy, job stress, and teaching context. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 36(2), 114-129.
  • Komotolo, E. (2022). Multilevel analysis of academic performance in grade 12 STEM subjects, in secondary schools in Namibia [Doctoral dissertation, University of Namibia].
  • Le, L. T. B., Tran, T. T., & Tran, N. H. (2021). Challenges to STEM education in Vietnamese high school contexts. Heliyon, 7(12), e08649.
  • Lee, M.-H., Hsu, C.-Y., & Chang, C.-Y. (2019). Identifying Taiwanese teachers’ perceived self-efficacy for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) knowledge. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 28, 15-23.
  • Li, Y., & Singh, C. (2023). The impact of perceived recognition by physics instructors on women’s self-efficacy and interest. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 19, 020125.
  • Li, Y., Wang, K., Xiao, Y., & Froyd, J. E. (2020). Research and trends in STEM education: A systematic review of journal publications. International Journal of STEM Education, 7, 11.
  • Luo, T., So, W. W. M., Wan, Z. H., & Li, W. C. (2021). STEM stereotypes predict students’ STEM career interest via self-efficacy and outcome expectations. International Journal of STEM Education, 8, 36.
  • Margot, K. C., & Kettler, T. (2019). Teachers’ perception of STEM integration and education: A systematic literature review. International Journal of STEM Education, 6, 2.
  • Mashebe, M. P., & Zulu, A. (2022). Investigating the link between self-concept and job performance of agricultural science teachers in selected secondary schools in Namibia’s Zambezi Region. International Journal of Education, Learning and Development, 10(5), 33-43.
  • MoE. (2016). International Conference on Education. Namibian Ministry of Education.
  • Moore, T. J., Stohlmann, M. S., Wang, H. H., Tank, K. M., Glancy, A. W., & Roehrig, G. H. (2014). Implementation and integration of engineering in K-12 STEM education. In S. Purzer, J. Strobel, & M. E.cardella (Eds.), Engineering in pre-college settings: Synthesizing research, policy, and practices (pp. 35-60). Purdue University Press.
  • Mushaandja, J., Haihambo, C., Vergnani, T., & Frank, E. (2013). Major challenges facing teacher counselors in schools in Namibia. Education Journal, 2(3), 77-84.
  • Nadelson, L., Callahan, J., Pyke, P., Hay, A., Dance, M., & Pfiester, J. (2013). Teacher STEM perception and preparation: Inquiry-Based STEM professional development for elementary teachers. The Journal of Educational Research, 106(2), 157-168.
  • Naidoo, K., & Naidoo, L. J. (2023). Designing teaching and reflection experiences to develop candidates’ science teaching self-efficacy. Research in Science & Technological Education, 41(1), 211-231.
  • Nguyen, T. P. L., Nguyen, T. H., & Tran, T. K. (2020). STEM education in secondary schools: Teachers’ perspective towards sustainable development. Sustainability, 12(21), 8865.
  • Nimmesgern, H. (2016). Why are women underrepresented in STEM fields? Chemistry–A European Journal, 22(11), 3529-3530.
  • NSF. (2017). Bachelor’s degrees, by sex and field: 2004-14. In Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering: 2017. National Science Foundation.
  • NUST. (2016). Enrolment report. Namibian University of Science and Technology.
  • Ratnasari, D., & Hendriyani, M. E. (2023). Scientific communication of pre-service biology teachers using engineering design process on environmental pollution concepts. International Journal of Biology Education Towards Sustainable Development, 3(2), 62-71.
  • Roberts, J. K., & Henson, R. K. (2000). Self-efficacy teaching and knowledge instrument for science teachers (SETAKIST): A proposal for a new efficacy instrument.
  • Roehrig, G. H., Dare, E. A., Ring-Whalen, E., & Wieselmann, J. R. (2021). Understanding coherence and integration in integrated STEM curriculum. International Journal of STEM Education, 8, 2.
  • Rogayan Jr, D. V., Rafanan, R. J. L., & De Guzman, C. Y. (2021). Challenges in STEM learning: A case of Filipino high school students. Jurnal Penelitian dan Pembelajaran IPA, 7(2), 232-244.
  • Šabić, J., Baranović, B., & Rogošić, S. (2022). Teachers’ self-efficacy for using information and communication technology: The interaction effect of gender and age. Informatics in Education, 21(2), 353-373.
  • Sattari, N., & Sandefur, R. L. (2019). Gender in academic STEM: A focus on men faculty. Gender, Work & Organization, 26(2), 158-179.
  • Shernoff, D. J., Sinha, S., Bressler, D. M., & Ginsburg, L. (2017). Assessing teacher education and professional development needs for the implementation of integrated approaches to STEM education. International Journal of STEM Education, 4, 13.
  • Shikongo, A. N. (2020). Biology teachers’ views and attitudes towards practical work in the Khomas region, Namibia [Doctoral dissertation, Stellenbosch University].
  • Shipepe, A., Uwu-Khaeb, L., De Villiers, C., Jormanainen, I., & Sutinen, E. (2022). Co-learning computational and design thinking using educational robotics: A case of primary school learners in Namibia. Sensors, 22(21), 8169.
  • Shipepe, A., Uwu-Khaeb, L., Kolog, E. A., Apiola, M., Mufeti, K., & Sutinen, E. (2021). Towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Namibia: An undergraduate AI course Africanized. In Proceedings of the 2021 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (pp. 1-8). IEEE.
  • Sichombe, B. S. (2018). Curricula in teacher education for diversity in the University of Namibia. African Journal of Teacher Education, 7(2), 91-121.
  • Sulaeman, N., Efwinda, S., & Putra, P. D. A. (2022). Teacher readiness in STEM education: Voices of Indonesian Physics teachers. JOTSE, 12(1), 68-82.
  • Syafril, S., Rahayu, T., Fithri, S., Satar, I., Halim, L. B., Yaumas, N. E., & Pahrudin, A. (2021). Mini review: Improving teachers quality in STEM-based science teaching-learning in secondary school. Journal of Physics Conference Series, 1796(1), 012072.
  • Thi To Khuyen, N., Van Bien, N., Lin, P. L., Lin, J., & Chang, C. Y. (2020). Measuring teachers’ perceptions to sustain STEM education development. Sustainability, 12(4), 1531.
  • Thomas, B., & Watters, J. J. (2015). Perspectives on Australian, Indian and Malaysian approaches to STEM education. International Journal of Educational Development, 45, 42-53.
  • Tikly, L., Joubert, M., Barrett, A. M., Bainton, D., Cameron, L., & Doyle, H. (2018). Supporting secondary school STEM education for sustainable development in Africa. University of Bristol.
  • Tyler-Wood, T., Knezek, G., & Christensen, R. (2010). Instruments for assessing interest in STEM content and careers. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 18(2), 345-368.
  • Unsal, S., Korkmaz, F., & Percin, S. (2016). Analysis of mathematics teachers’ self-efficacy levels concerning the teaching process. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(24), 99-107.
  • Vooren, M., Haelermans, C., Groot, W., & van den Brink, H. M. (2022). Comparing success of female students to their male counterparts in the STEM fields: An empirical analysis from enrollment until graduation using longitudinal register data. International Journal of STEM Education, 9, 1.
  • Wardat, Y., Belbase, S., & Tairab, H. (2022). Mathematics teachers’ perceptions of trends in international mathematics and science study (TIMSS)-related practices in Abu Dhabi Emirate schools. Sustainability, 14(9), 5436.
  • Watt, H. M. G., Hyde, J. S., Petersen, J., Morris, Z. A., Rozek, C. S., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2017). Mathematics–A critical filter for STEM-related career choices? A longitudinal examination among Australian and US adolescents. Sex Roles, 77, 254-271.
  • Wegemer, C. M., & Eccles, J. S. (2019). Gendered STEM career choices: Altruistic values, beliefs, and identity. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 110, 28-42.
  • Weintrop, D., Beheshti, E., Horn, M., Orton, K., Jona, K., Trouille, L., & Wilensky, U. (2016). Defining computational thinking for mathematics and science classrooms. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 25, 127-147.
  • Wrigley-Asante, C., Ackah, C. G., & Frimpong, L. K. (2023). Gender differences in academic performance of students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects at the University of Ghana. S. N. Social Sciences, 3(1), 12.
  • Yang, X., & Gao, C. (2021). Missing women in STEM in China: An empirical study from the viewpoint of achievement motivation and gender socialization. Research in Science Education, 51, 1705-1723.
  • Zalmon, I. G., & George, N. R. (2018). Student and teacher perception of content difficulty in the Nigerian senior secondary Mathematics curriculum. International Journal of Mathematics Trends and Technology, 63(3), 157-168.
  • Zee, M., & Koomen, H. M. (2016). Teacher self-efficacy and its effects on classroom processes, student academic adjustment, and teacher well-being: A synthesis of 40 years of research. Review of Educational Research, 86(4), 981e1015.
  • Zimba, R. F., Kasanda, C. D., Haihambo, C. K., Kudumo, M., Kapenda, H. M., Neshila, K. F., & Sheyapo, M. (2023). Namibian boys’ underachievement and under-participation in education.