Govt announces major STEM initiative for schools

Govt announces major STEM initiative for schools
The Federal Government has thrown its backing behind a new initiative from school principals aimed at enhancing leadership and changing the way Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is taught in classrooms.

Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, said the Coalition’s ‘Principals as STEM Leaders’ project would strengthen the foundation for greater participation and engagement, and ultimately better learning outcomes in STEM subjects.

“We want to identify and replicate the best STEM leadership practices across Australia,” Birmingham said.

“Three-quarters of the fastest-growing occupations in Australia require skills in STEM so it’s vital our next generation of workers have the skills to thrive in the changing employment landscape.”

The announcement comes amid reports showing that the performance of Australian students in STEM subjects has stagnated and even declined in some measures.

To turn this around, the Federal Government has provided $64m towards additional early childhood and school-level STEM programs through its National Innovation and Science Agenda.

Birmingham said the latest project will identify the leadership and teaching practices in STEM that are currently working well with the aim of rolling these practices out more broadly in classrooms across Australia.

“The $2.6m we’ve committed to this project will back the research, development and piloting of professional learning approaches to build on principals’ STEM leadership skills,” he said.

“It’s those leading approaches that we want to support to drive whole-of-school improvement in STEM engagement and learning outcomes.”