Australia’s performance in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects has gone backwards, according to current Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull. The Prime Minister is saying that subjects in STEM fields should be made compulsory for all Australian students in high school, and should also be made a requirement when applying for university admittance. The warning comes in a time where Australia faces a shortage of professionals in STEM industries.
As a result, 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. Turnbull is wanting to change this up and enforce a stricter requirement for mathematics and other STEM-related subjects.
The Australian Information Industry Association are so worried that they put the development of STEM subjects on the top of their list of priorities for the government that secures the federal election. PWC Australia also published their projections in a new report that says if the STEM career market adjusts down by one percent, Australia would be expecting an AUD57.4 billion loss in gross domestic product for the next year.
“In my generation, you had to do maths or science to complete high school. We’ve got to get back to that and ensure that everyone is very literate in those STEM subjects. Science, maths, technology — that’s the future. More universities are requiring, and they should all require, in due course, that maths or science should be a prerequisite school subject to have completed going on to university. It’s one of the areas we’ve gone backwards,” Turnbull said.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Labor Party is committing to injecting $400 million into developing scholarships to recruit graduates in STEM fields, and get them to assist with teaching STEM subjects. The Prime Minister believes more continued efforts to improve STEM fields will improve “digital literacy” in an era where that is perhaps one of the more important subjects.
Australia’s Program for International Student Assessment also published a report that detailed that only 10 percent of Australian 15-year-olds are getting positive results in STEM subjects. Comparatively, 40 to 50 percent of 15-year-olds in Singapore get positive results.