Part of a global strategy
The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, describes the study of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as vital to Australia’s future. Encouraging more students to study STEM subjects at high levels, especially women, has become part of the federal government’s innovation strategy. This is because scientific and technological fields have been the source of much of the world’s recent discovery and invention. In terms of looking to the future, the Prime Minister has said that his goal is to promote an ‘ideas boom’ in Australia that will place our country ahead in the global competition stakes.
Danebank has been a great supporter of STEM subjects for many years. This is partly because we are an all-girls school. Formerly, at a time when gender bias was evident in the teaching of these subjects, Danebank girls had no males to compete with and they chose these subjects in great numbers. Indeed, it has been true for many years that the vast majority of our girls study Mathematics for the Higher School Certificate despite this being a non-compulsory subject.
Science subjects are also popular choices with Danebank girls and have been for some time. The first Danebank student to study Engineering at University did so in the 1980s. Since then, an ever-increasing number of Danebank girls have studied science-based subjects at tertiary level. More than a third students who have chosen to study Engineering.
Yet, the greatest challenge we face in schools is that we are educating students for a future that will be vastly different from today. This is particularly true regarding changes in the technological field. Clearly, technological change and development is constant and accelerating. Australia’s Chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, says that around 40% of today’s jobs will disappear within 15 years, replaced by automation and robotics. Thus it is vital that all girls develop and maintain their digital literacy and expertise.
It is gratifying in the light of the Prime Minister’s announcements that Danebank’s STEM subjects are flourishing. We enjoy a tradition of fine outcomes in these subjects because we aim to provide our students with the best possible academic preparation for their future lives.