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STEM for students in the spotlight

Moves to engage younger students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects by training future primary school teachers as science and maths specialists has been welcomed by Clarence MP, Chris Gulaptis.
Mr Gulaptis said primary teachers are currently trained as generalists in a range of subjects but from this year, in a NSW first, teaching students from at least three NSW universities can become STEM specialists by electing to study additional maths and science courses.
“This is a terrific initiative which will help give young students more confidence in maths and science by allowing them to study these subjects at their highest possible level.
“We are living in a rapidly changing 21st century and it is vital that schools keep pace with developments in STEM.
“STEM is everywhere and needs to be in the spotlight now more than ever. It’s in our homes, classrooms, businesses and in the roads we drive on. Products and services we use every day are shaped by science and technological innovations, from your smartphone to your fridge, ATMs and medicines.
“It’s been predicted that 75 percent of all jobs will require STEM skills over the next decade so we need to equip our young people with these skills if they are to thrive in the careers of tomorrow.
“A solid foundation in these subjects gives students the critical thinking, creative and problem-solving skills that can help drive innovation in our rapidly evolving economy,” Mr Gulaptis said.
The new primary teaching course requirements were developed by the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) in consultation with teachers, teacher educators and the education sector.
The first group of graduates with a specialisation in maths and science will be eligible to teach in NSW schools from the end of 2017.
The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is also rolling out 16 new resources to help improve the teaching of STEM subjects in schools across the state.
The resources include:
• Seven new STEM lesson units for K-12, including a ‘coding’ unit which teaches students to use code to choreograph dance and movement;
• Eight new Science and Technology activities for K-6, including “Game Plan” where students design, build and test a game based on electrical circuits; and
• A guide to support the use of coding as a teaching tool to solve problems within existing subjects.
The NSW Government is also investing $20 million during this term of Government to upgrade 50 science labs in NSW public schools.