Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Serendipity, Your Number Is Up


One-third of Australian children do not meet the international minimum numeracy benchmark.

By Roslyn Prinsley

Science, technology, engineering and maths skills are needed to build the nation, but student and teacher numbers are in decline.

Roslyn Prinsley is National Adviser, Mathematics and Science Education and Industry for the Office of the Chief Scientist for Australia.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Our quality of life is increasingly dependent on generating knowledge and applying it. Only nations able to do this will succeed in an intensely competitive global economy.

Science and maths foster critical thinking, reasoning and creativity – skills important for people to take advantage of opportunity – and confidence to face challenges and manage risk.

Literacy in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is vital for our society, yet there is strong evidence that the Australian education system is not delivering enough STEM-qualified people to take up science and technology-based careers or to cope with modern life. We cannot presume we will have enough citizens educated in STEM.

Our future starts today. What we teach now provides the skills for the Australia of tomorrow. We need to plan to get this right. It is too important to rely on chance.

I joined the office of the Chief Scientist in February as the National Adviser, Mathematics and Science Education and Industry. My role is to bring focus to ensuring the value of STEM to Australia.

I am actively working in partnership with stakeholders in the education, industry, academia and government sectors to develop collaborative strategies to build a broader science, research and technology base in the workforce and community. I am commissioning research to fill...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.