Who are Australia’s main competitors?
Whilst Australia and various European nations remain competitive in fields such as humanities and social sciences, the same cannot be said for STEM disciplines.
In fact, we seem to be falling significantly behind our Asian competitors. Recent OECD reports suggest China and India could account for more than 60% of OECD and G20 STEM graduates by 2030.
The latest PISA results (Programme for International Student Assessment) proved bad news for Australia. The international tests, which assess the performance of fifteen year olds in key subjects, highlighted a gradual decline in our performances in maths, science and reading since 2005.
According to the latest global rankings, we now sit in 14th position for maths and science, with Singapore and Hong Kong claiming the top two spots.
The growing importance of STEM disciplines has provoked big reactions from the world’s leading nations.
After PISA results suggested a lack of engagement with STEM in America (currently ranked 28th), the US launched numerous initiatives in a bid to close the gap with global competitors. The National Math + Science Initiative is just one of the schemes introduced by the American government in the hope of preventing a national STEM crisis.
Europe also seems to be following suit. Whilst countries such as the UK are increasingly closing in on their own STEM initiatives, the European Union has also launched an EU STEM coalition to support member nations in promoting and developing STEM strategies and schemes.
The Australian government has responded to the need for increased engagement with STEM subjects by launching the National STEM School Education Strategy in 2015.
Besides improving our students’ fundamental knowledge of STEM subjects, this strategy aims to increase the engagement and uptake of STEM at a tertiary level.
However, the question remains: is this strategy enough to close the gap between Australia and global tech leaders?
Extracurricular education with STEMmates
STEMmates is an extracurricular learning program designed to support STEM learning outside the school environment.
We will soon be launching a series of learning courses focussing on key STEM learning objectives.
Our aim is to give kids the best chance at succeeding in their STEM education and help Australia remain a competitive nation.
For more information on our launch, visit the STEMmates website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.