The Australian government recently announced changing its entry requirements for foreigners applying for a skilled worker visa to gain employment or permanent residency in Australia. The
legislation now allows applicants to be awarded 5 extra points if they have certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications. Some of these qualifications include biological sciences, civil engineering, information technology and physics and astronomy. These changes are likely to have positive effects in terms of addressing the current STEM skills shortage in Australia and were made after the 2016 Migrant Intake into Australia report. This decision was made to maximise benefits to Australia’s economy and now allows the country to select the brightest professionals from all over the world for permanent residency.
Do we think that these changes are drastic? Or that they are imperative?
Australia has been facing a crisis in terms of the numbers of students and workers being interested in or finding employment in STEM industries. Surveys and articles over the last few years have warned us of Australia’s lack of qualified students and teachers in STEM fields.
For example, in 2014, we were told that Australia was facing a
math crisis where just one in ten students were choosing to study higher math in year 12. They also found that girls were less motivated to study math and science than boys, and this trend had already been continuing for 10 years. In the same article, Rachel Wilson, a researcher from the University of Sydney mentioned that “Australia is quite possibly the only developed nation on the planet that does not make it compulsory to study maths in order to graduate from high school.” Years later, this has still not changed.
Surveys showed that children from Sweden, Japan, Korea, Russia, Finland, Taiwan and Estonia, where math was made compulsory until the end of high school, were found to be better than Australian students in mathematics. Statistics also showed that these children were likely to choose STEM-related qualifications after leaving school. This clearly will make them far better equipped for the roles of the jobs of the future than our own Australian children and unfortunately, local employers will have to find international alternatives to solve the lack of skilled labour.
We need a fix
STEMmates is here to help be part of the solution! Our hands-on, activity-based, courses are designed to get children excited about STEM subjects at an early age. Through problem-solving and critical thinking, students are able to learn why STEM subjects are important and they also learn essential soft skills such as communication and teamwork. Get your child involved in Australia’s STEM solution today. Visit our
Facebook and website pages to find out more.
Creativity is defined as, “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.” It used to be associated with the arts and related to people with artistic orientation.
Today, creativity has found its way into every industry and it is a skill that is looking to gain more and more importance into the future. Being able to find creative ways to solve problems especially is going to be a skill that many employers will seek in candidates for job positions.
How creative are we?
Adobe did a survey, asking 2000 people around the world what they thought about how prepared students were for this rise in the need for creative problem-solving skills.
They found that 97% of educators and 96% of policymakers saw a need for creative problem solving to be learned in schools. 86% of educators and 85% of policymakers reported that students with better creative problem-solving skills would eventually have higher-paying jobs in the future. They also found that 69% of educators and 61% of policymakers thought that schools and the curriculum they follow, are not placing enough emphasis on children learning this crucial skill. They saw only a 12% emphasis on students learning conflict management and innovative thinking skills
The main issue concerns a lack of creativity being taught in schools. In another
article, 73% of teachers said that they spend too little time picking out what to teach in class, 44% said they don’t demonstrate in creative ways and 43% said that they don’t try new ways to teach. Is school culture then limiting the creativity of both our teachers and students
STEMmates is creative!
STEMmates encourages creativity in all our courses. Students use problem-solving methods to figure out complex theories and gain new knowledge in our courses.
These specially designed courses, therefore, appeal to even younger children even though the concepts may be difficult. For example, we teach aerodynamics to children as young as 7 years old.
They learn through creative methods, such as hands-on activities and independent learning. We also encourage students to learn in groups, where they learn how to argue their points with their peers and their teachers, finding solutions for problems together. Learning through success and failure, students are able to learn how to think analytically. Help your child find his creative spark! Register your interest in our next set of courses by visiting our
website or Facebook pages, today.
The Australian Department of Industry, Innovation and Science recently carried out a
15-minute online survey focusing on the attitudes and behavior of Australian students towards STEM education and STEM-related careers and industries. They commissioned a separate arm from the Student Edge’s market research team called YouthInsight, to conduct this study. The sample of surveyed participants included 2092 students aged 12 to 25 years from all over Australia. The report also targeted the issues with gender inequity currently being faced by members from STEM industries, education and career groups.
The Youth in STEM research report
Participants were asked a range of questions to determine their views on STEM and whether they recognized the acronym stood for. Fortunately, a high number – 62% of the surveyed group – did! And more than half of the students surveyed also admitted to considering studying STEM-related subjects in the future.
However, the study still showed there was a shift towards males preferring
STEM subjects than females. This trend continued when asked about STEM-related careers. More males were certain about pursuing professions in STEM-related roles than females. The younger generation that was surveyed were the ones to have the least interest and understanding in these subjects.
Most students who showed little interest in STEM-related subjects seemed to feel that way because of a lack of confidence in these subjects. They also believed that their low confidence was due to a lack of understanding in mathematics and that engineering was a “hard” subject. They also were a little confused with the word, “technology”, perceiving themselves as “non-techy” people and therefore not even considering studying any subject related to this field.
An interesting insight that came out of the survey, was that the numbers of students who highlighted the fact that their parent’s decisions were the most influential in their choice of subject for future study and career choice. This feature was more prominent in female than male participants. Friends and teachers were the next most influential people in their subject choices. Another interesting factor was that males seemed to be more concerned with choosing future subjects and careers based on external influences such as “YouTube” and the females were more inspired by an “ambition to change the world”.
Cultivating Curiosity, Imagination and Passion for STEM
Students that walk through the doors of all STEMmates workshops come from all backgrounds and walks of life. We hope that no matter what their current attitude about STEM subjects, our specially designed courses will steer them in a direction where they will be encouraged to continue their journey in STEM long into their futures. Our hands-on and activity-based lessons are designed to inspire students from young ages, despite their gender, to be excited about STEM subjects. Find out how you can get your child involved in our courses through our
website and Facebook pages.
It should come as no surprise that children who are encouraged and supported by their parents perform better than others. They also are able to succeed later on in life when they are studying as independent learners.
Studies have shown that children with lower than average tend to raise themselves if their parents become involved in their education. It was also shown that children with a higher level of parental support proceeded to plan for further education. On the other hand, children who had little or no family support, typically received lower grades and in some cases, eventually dropped out of school.
The Australian Government’s view on parental engagement
The Australian Government fully supports the view that children perform better when parents are engaged in their education. Because of this, they are supporting several initiatives to encourage this. For example, the Learning Potential App and Learning Potential Resources are free tools that guardians can use to be a part of their child’s learning. They both support the Australian Curriculum for primary school. They are also working on a
parent engagement project with the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, which involves initiating the Australian Parent Engagement Network as well as the appointment of Local Champions. The Learning for Life Program is another initiative has seen an investment of AUD$48 million being made, in hopes of supporting 24,000 disadvantaged students to stay in school and prepare for their transition to higher education.
How to support young learners
There are a variety of ways that parents can support their children through their foundational years.
But, the key in all of this is to stay informed. Make sure you know what your child is up to in school. How are they performing and what should they be learning? How much do you know about your child’s syllabus? Are you able to help them if they need assistance with their homework, or do you need to engage the help of an external tutor or organization to help them when they face difficulties in school?
School websites usually have updates for parents about when testing dates are and staff contact information. Make sure you know your child’s teachers and are able to establish good communication channels with them. Try and stay connected to your child’s network. Do you know their friends and their friends’ parents? Take care of them at home. Send your children to school with nutritious meals and a good night’s sleep. Make sure that they are not constantly distracted by video games and The Internet before bedtime.
At STEMmates, we make sure that parents are kept up to date with their child’s progress. Teachers communicate children’s progress and parents are given context and feedback about their child’s performance in class.
We strive to ensure that our children are well supported through their education and formative years. Get information about how your child can be a part of our STEMmates community today through our Facebook and website pages.
These days, with the variety of ways children can find information, it is not uncommon to hear how the internet has become a primary source for their information. There is now a huge amount of information available online, from websites to blogs, to forums and even social media. With such a huge realm of knowledge that is readily available to them, how then, can we make school and the classrooms as enticing to this data-hungry generation and keep them coming back to gain the necessary skills they will need as adults?