The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, today welcomed the release of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) report Participation in Science, Mathematics and Technology in Australian Education.
Released today, the report shows a decline in senior students studying science over the last 30 years and advanced maths since the mid 1990s.
According to the ACER research, science and mathematics education needs to be more relevant to students’ experiences and more time needs to be allocated to science in schools.
The report presents comprehensive information about science and mathematics education in Australia including student participation, achievement and teacher qualifications.
It highlights the continuing challenge of recruiting graduates from science and maths-related fields into teaching.
The Rudd Government recognises that high quality science and maths education is critical for building a strong, prosperous and innovative society.
As part of its Education Revolution, the Government is investing in a range of initiatives to invigorate science and maths education in schools and to lift enrolments.
The Government has established the National Curriculum Board to develop a national curriculum for all students from Kindergarten to Year 12 by the end of 2010, including mathematics and the sciences.
To help address shortages of specialist maths and science teachers, the Rudd Government has dedicated $625.8 million to boost numbers.
From 1 January next year, contributions for new students in maths and science will be reduced. For a new full-time student, this could mean a reduction from $7412 to $4162 in 2009.
Maths and science graduates who go on to work in related occupations, including teaching will also be eligible for a refund of around half on their HECS-HELP repayments for up to five years.
It is vital more students go on to study science and maths after school, so Australia can meet the demand for these skills, which are critical to Australia’s future.
The ACER report is available at www.deewr.gov.au/ACER