South Australia is getting the push the rest of the world is in desperate need of. 25 primary schools will be the first to get a host of new upgraded science, technology, engineering, and mathematics equipment in November. The hope is that the new equipment will inspire children to continue to pursue STEM careers later on in life. The funding for the project will top AU$250 million and will be coming out of the State Budget. 77 primary schools and 44 high schools will reportedly see upgrades to their STEM labs once the project is complete.
Every primary school gets up to $1 million, whilst every high school gets up to $2.5 million. The move comes at a time where Australian education has been criticised for its recent poor mathematics results. According to Adelaide Now, some schools will be constructing classrooms with the money and others will be using the money to upgrade equipment needed to teach STEM-related content to students. The website says this will include "robotics labs, laser cutters, 3D printers, web cameras, touchscreen TVs" and spaces for civil engineering construction projects. Looks like we've got the next wave of successful engineers coming our way.
"These schools are overdue - they deserve this. We need robotic equipment, we need technological equipment, we need electronics and facilities that can ignite children's enthusiasm about STEM (courses)," said Dr. Susan Close, Education Minister.
The move could curb the amount of children who retain an interest in engineering and avoid the engineering spiral of death. The spiral of death is when a student loses interest in engineering before high school and cannot recover the love for engineering, which potentially hurts their future employment prospects. The other worry is that there are not enough teachers in Australia who cater to STEM-related fields.
In addition to the 250 million project, the Australian Academy of Science is in the process of implementing a ten-year plan to implement mathematics after the Australian Mathematical Sciences Insitute reported that only 14 percent of Australia's STEM degrees have maths as a prerequisite for students. PWC Australia also recently published a report that said if STEM was not focused on soon, Australia could lose AU$57.4 billion in gross domestic product in a year.