STATEMENT: SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS IN SCHOOLS
Professor Chubb has issued a statement regarding science and mathematics in schools.
You can read the statement below, or download it as a pdf.
I am very pleased that the Commonwealth Minister for Education and Training Christopher Pyne is expected to seek the cooperation of his State and Territory colleagues to develop a national STEM school education strategy.
I support this initiative without reservation.
I have been saying for a long time that Australia needs to approach science and mathematics much more seriously than we ever have, and that these subjects should be part of every child’s education.
We live in a world utterly reliant on science to fuel its industries and provide for its people. In the future, science will only become a bigger part of our lives, and the impacts will touch us all.
But as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said, “Science allows us to do more, but it doesn’t tell us whether doing more is right or wrong.”
Science and society need to work together “based on a proper understanding of what science is trying to achieve.” For that understanding to be ‘proper’, we need the highest level of science literacy that we can achieve in our community.
We need therefore to equip as many of our future citizens as possible to understand how science works, its methods and its ethics; and to be able to make better informed judgements.
The best way to achieve this is to start early in schools, raising the overall level of science and maths literacy in the community and giving those students with the talent and passion for these subjects the preparation for rewarding careers – some in science and some not – but all with better understanding.
I note that Mr Pyne is expected to put a proposal to the Education Council Meeting this week to increase the extent to which science and mathematics may be compulsory in senior secondary years within an overall strategy. This is a great and important discussion to have.
I also reiterate the position I have put forward many times: science and mathematics have to be so compellingly well taught that students will want to study them.
We need to support our teachers at all stages of their training and career to engage, inform and inspire. We can do it if we have the will.
Professor Ian Chubb AC
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