Science education is lacking in relevance and is seriously underfunded in Australia. In a report commissioned by Australian Chief Scientist, released in December last year, it was revealed that there are half as many students studying science in high school and university as there were 20 years ago, with more than 40% of students surveyed in the report saying they did not feel encouraged to do well in maths and science by their teachers at school.
This is partially due to the stigma that surrounds science and mathematics subjects, that they are too difficult or ‘nerdy’, and not relevant to real life.
As a consequence, fewer students are graduating with science degrees and there is a growing demand for science, mathematics and engineering professionals in Australia, so much so that major science and engineering projects around the country have to bring in overseas professionals to do the jobs that need to be done.
In this rapidly expanding technological age, science and engineering is essential in order to keep up and progress as a nation.
“You are not going to be able to truly be a frontier innovation nation until you get these maths and science issues right as core understanding about how we assemble our knowledge about the world, and then interrogate it, which is where the innovation comes from,” said Professor Glenn Witters, chief executive officer of Universities Australia, who delivered the report.
We’re a world leader in everything else, but why not in science?
Big change starts at home. That’s why this petition is calling for the NSW Government to recognise the significance and the need for better science education in Australia by increasing funding to improve science education in Australia in order to develop programs where students can:
- Experience science from an early age, through better-funded primary education programs
- Be encouraged to choose science subjects which engage and excite them, and are relevant to real life situations rather than purely theoretical
- Renovate out-dated school laboratories so students can use suitable equipment to perform experiments in the correct environment
- Remove the stigma attached to science and maths subjects, and especially address the stigma surrounding physics and engineering as ‘male-orientated’ subjects
This way, we can ensure Australia’s future in the fields of science, maths, technology and engineering is a successful one and secure our place in the world as pioneers of such fields.
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