29 April, 2014
The cover story in the April 2014 edition of Engineers Australia magazine, “Where is Australia’s national STEM strategy?” by Desi Corbett, strongly supports The Warren Centre’s call for a national strategy to address Australia’s critical shortage of technology and engineering skills.
As the article notes, while the majority of countries are supporting well established science,
technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) national programs, Australia’s federal government is yet to mull over a cohesive strategy.
Industry groups, professional bodies and the chief scientist have all called for a national STEM strategy that will encourage children’s interest in engineering and ultimately ensure a vibrant and economic future for this country. But our school students continue to fall behind in skills competency, the states run a wide but disparate range of school student programs, support is lacking for STEM skilled teachers and we continue to deliver inadequate messaging that fails to attract more females into engineering.
John Phillips, TWC’s manager of education projects, says, “It is time for action which can only come for a grand coalition of all interested parties, specifically governments, industry, professional bodies and educators.”
Nick Cerneaz, TWC’s Executive Director, says, “Teaching just science and maths and not adding the application of it through the technology and engineering elements is like teaching kids a vocabulary and how to spell, but then not teaching them how to write prose. Perhaps the term should be sTEm.”
The Warren Centre’s Engineering Skills & Education project is working to address the issues behind Australia’s shortage of engineers and technologists.