Australian STEM & Tech teaching standards are improving

An academy at the University of Sydney is educating teachers on how to inspire the next generation of students in the area of STEM learning.


While it is the next generation of Australians who will enjoy the careers in the technology industries, it is important they are supported by current school teachers and academic leaders.

Since the majority of these teaching individuals haven’t been brought up with today’s technology, they require enrichment and professional development. However, teachers taking time out from their busy schedules is never easy, so it’s pleasing to see 62 participants in a new academy at the University of Sydney.

What is the goal of this academy?

The academy combines three important industries for the future: Education and Social Work, Science, and Engineering and Information Technologies. Supported by dedicated industry leaders, practising teachers in those subjects are taught around best practice to inspire their students.

The ultimate goal is for the graduates to get young Australians to learn STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and then choose careers within these pathways.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, STEM skill jobs grew 14 per cent between 2006 and 2011. Yet at present just 18 per cent of the Australian workforce holds STEM qualifications. This is leaving a significant shortfall, making the next generation vital.

Industry and Science Minister Ian Macfarlane explained in March that educating younger Australians about the value of STEM education starts with their teachers.

“To be successful in the future, we need to ensure that our emerging generations are captivated and engaged by science, technology, engineering and mathematics from an early age,” he said.

“Australia’s future scientific performance is going to be linked to a strong maths and science presence in schools, starting in kindergarten.”

The teachers represent 13 NSW schools, but the academy’s aim is spread the course to every school in the state. Mr Macfarlane said STEM participation is an issue that must be addressed sooner rather than later.

“Inspiring teachers are among the secret to addressing  the decline in students enrolling in STEM subjects, including a fall in the number of secondary students enrolling in intermediate and advanced maths since 1995,” he explained.

“Australia must ensure STEM studies are providing graduates with both a strong academic foundation and practical industry-relevant skills.”

With technology set to play a major role in Australia’s future, STEM education must become a vital part of the school curriculum. As such, this is a model that should be replicated across the entire nation.