Innovation and enterprise is firmly back on the national agenda thanks, in part, to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda. The government is calling it ‘the ideas boom’ and if it is successful, it will deliver jobs and prosperity for all. Even if you’re not familiar with the initiative, you will almost certainly have heard of the rise of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects in our schools.
But why the emphasis on STEM?
Our world is changing rapidly, with extraordinary technological change transforming how we live, work, communicate and pursue good ideas. This technological disruption is also going to have a huge impact on the employment opportunities available to our children.
According to a report from the Foundation for Young Australians, young people will be the hardest hit under a new future of work that will be shaped by three economic factors: automation, globalisation and collaboration. The report states that “the future of work is going to be very different”.
In addition, in the next decade an estimated 75 percent of jobs in the fastest-growing industries will need skills in STEM. However, enrolment in STEM subjects has been in steady decline in Australia.
Let’s look at what is being done to address this decline and promote the rise of STEM subjects in education:
Embracing the digital age: Jobs in the fastest growing industries in the next five to ten years will require STEM skills and almost all will require ICT literacy. Schools will introduce digital technologies into the classroom from an early age. A significant benefit of a technology rich environment is that it enables teachers to meet the needs of all learners by personalising learning experiences. The benefits are two-fold: greater flexibility for teachers who can create specialised learning experiences, and excitement and ownership for students who can go at their own pace and pursue their interests.
Curriculum delivered differently: You can expect that teachers will deliver curriculum and learning experiences that will reflect the character of STEM theory and promote the skills that students will need for the future. These will include: problem solving, creativity, analytical and critical thinking skills, intellectual curiosity, innovation and flexibility. These skills will become the currency for the workforce of the future.
Inspiring all Australians in STEM: The workforce of the future will need STEM skills and the National Innovation and Science Agenda is seeking to inspire all Australians from pre-school to the broader community to engage with STEM. According to the Agenda: “Education in STEM will equip all Australians with the knowledge to navigate critical activities and challenges ranging from health and medical care and the environment, to the digital economy and life-long learning”.
Teachers are at the forefront: The critical ingredient in the delivery of STEM is for teachers to ignite students’ curiosity and create opportunities for students to have more responsibility for their learning.
Economists have predicted that the jobs most unlikely to be automated are those that involve creative intelligence, social intelligence and problem solving. An investment in STEM will prepare our students to be active participants, not simply observers, and ensure Australia’s prosperity and competitiveness.
At Esperance Anglican Community School, our experienced and enthusiastic teachers are passionate about encouraging and inspiring students to reach their full potential to be the best that they can be. To support the growing importance of STEM, we offer the following programmes:
- STEM Club.
- Robotics Club.
- Certificate III courses in Information Technology.
- Collaboration with environmental agencies to learn about marine and lacustrine environments, conservation and local biomes.
- Leadership courses that focus on problem solving and collaboration.
- Science incursions and excursions, including field work.
- Programming activities.
If you’d like to learn more about how our school is preparing young people for the future, download our Prospectus.