Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

No More Studies: It’s Time for STEM Action

By Mike Miller

The STEM situation is desperate and needs to be addressed as a high priority.

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Skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas, or the lack of them, have become a key problem preoccupying policy-makers in Australia and many other countries. STEM-based jobs are projected to grow at almost twice the pace of other occupations, and 75% of the fastest-growing occupations require significant STEM skills and knowledge.

Many secondary students perceive STEM subjects as boring and difficult, and opt for subjects they are confident in and that will help gain a higher university entrance score. Education faculties in universities battle to attract high-quality students into secondary STEM teacher education programs. Too many people believe the STEM disciplines are accessible only to students with “talent” in science and mathematics.

The STEM problem has been widely known in Australia for at least a decade. It has been the subject of multiple studies and reports. As a recent Action Statement from the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) indicated, it is time for less studies and more action.

The ATSE statement calls for remedial actions in our primary and secondary schools, linked to a major shift in university secondary STEM teacher education programs.

Good science and mathematics teachers are the keys to student choices and learning outcomes, so it is essential to pay particular attention...

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