September 21, 2015
Last week, while America was too busy arresting kids for innocent inventions, Australia managed to make impressive strides in its education policy by revamping its national curriculum to place a heavier focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, replacing history and geography for coding.
The Australian reports that the country has adopted a new digital technologies curriculum that would start exposing kids to coding classes beginning at Year 5 and programming classes starting at Year 7. The adoption of this curriculum is an effort pushed by Australia’s education minister, Christopher Pyne, to strengthen the country’s STEM education and bridge the skills gap desperately needed in today’s competitive tech environment.
The Australian government is expected to invest AUD $12 million into four different STEM education initiatives, including: the development of an innovative math curriculum; the introduction of computer coding; the development of a special school aimed at helping students smoothly transition into STEM careers; and the creation of summer schools aimed at advancing STEM education for underrepresented groups.
“High quality school STEM education is critically important for Australia’s productivity and economic wellbeing, both now and into the future,” said Pyne in a statement. “Education Council members will work together to develop a national strategy to encourage more students to study STEM subjects, to support school teachers to teach these subjects, and to increase participation in STEM careers…We are restoring the focus on STEM subjects in schools and making sure our teachers get more instruction on STEM during initial teacher training.”
The move by Australia follows in the footsteps of national curriculum revamps like the United Kingdom, which last year announced that children as young as 5-years-old would begin getting exposure to programming skills in the classroom.
Meanwhile, in America, the majority of people fail to correctly identify the effects of high altitude on the boiling point of water. Among countries around the world, our country ranks in 35th place math and 27th place for science – with only 36 percent of our high school students found to be educated enough for college-level science material. Education policy in America, however, is much harder to tackle – with limits on Federal and state capabilities, it’s difficult to ever truly mandate a national change like Australia’s.
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