When speaking to students in Western Sydney on Sunday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that he wishes to make maths and science compulsory subjects for high school graduation. He laments about his own education at prestigious all boys school Sydney Grammar, where he was required to do those subjects.
Turnbull was quoted as saying that schools have “got to get back to that and ensure that everyone is very literate in those STEM subjects. Science, maths, technology – that’s the future.”
Christopher Pyne, the education minister, has already tried making maths or science compulsory for year 11 and 12 students, but was rejected.
Politicians are noting that the fastest growing industries are STEM related, but the Australian education system is not keeping up with the ever changing world. The number of students studying advanced maths has dropped almost 20% from 2003 to 2013, with Australian students rankings falling globally from from 15th to 19th in mathematics and 10th to 16th in science.
There is apparently also a large gender disparity in students who are studying STEM related in high school, as well as in secondary study and overall in the workplace. We’re pretty sure Turnbull doesn’t quite understand the necessity to try and motivate girls to enter the industry, since he went to an all boys high school and never actually learned in an environment with women.
We’re eager to see if he talks more of these plans before the upcoming election.