21
May
2015

STEM for all: Building the capability of all young Australians in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths

Education commentators divide over how much to promote the disciplines now known as STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

  • We hear that Australia’s future productivity depends on our strength in the STEM disciplines. Yet in many of these disciplines, there are more university graduates than jobs for them.
  • We hear that the future belongs to those with the skills to become the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. Yet the proportion of young Australians who study science or maths to Year 12 is in long-term decline.
  • We hear that Australia punches above its weight in research. Yet by the time students reach Year 9, more than one in three lack the scientific and/or numerical literacy they need to thrive. For students from disadvantaged backgrounds, the numbers are far bleaker.

Dr Peter Goss, Grattan Institute School Education Program Director,  hosted an expert panel to explore these contradictions.

  • Do all, or only some, young Australians need a strong foundation in STEM? What are the essential capabilities that make up this foundation?
  • How well are we performing today? Which students are being well supported, and which are being left behind?
  • What can we do to deepen and broaden STEM in schools so that every young Australian has the capabilities to participate fully in the modern world?