South Australia spends $250 million on STEM training


The South Australian government has taken the lead with a $250 million STEM funding program to grow students’ skills base for high-demand coding and robotics technology.

South Australia is fast-tracking STEM training with more than 100 schools receiving their share of $250 million to build technology, science and math skills.

This science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) funding underscores moves to modernise learning facilities across public and non-government schools.

Minister for education, Susan Close, said that STEM funding is a major investment in children’s future. For many schools, new hubs will complement their existing STEM-focused programs.

Architects are being engaged to roll out the more advanced training hubs. Upgrades will enable students to join learning spaces in an interactive environment.

The Department of Education and Child Development (DECD) is administering funding to help schools refurbish or redevelop facilities that incorporate STEM learning hubs.

Over the next 10 years, nearly 75 per cent of jobs will require STEM skills, according to forecasts by DECD.

Advanced training enables students to prepare for high-tech jobs, including those needed for advanced manufacturing or defence.

This department’s STEM funding effort is expected to reach up to 139 schools when fully operational. Some projects kick off in 2016. All fully-funded projects will be finalised by December 2018.

The STEM skills incorporate high-demand coding, robotics, and agri-science. These skills run alongside traditional math, physics, engineering or chemistry.

The DECD will provide access to STEM facilities for more than 75,000 students. This covers more than 45 per cent of students across public schools.

A STEM approach to teaching and learning gives students a chance to work on challenging problems and projects.

Hands-on practical activities help learners experiment, use new technologies, test ideas, and tackle complex problems using an engineering design process.

South Australia’s science and innovation agenda comes under the spotlight at the FST Government South Australia Conference on Thursday 30th March at the Adelaide Hilton.