Education ministers have endorsed a national approach to improving the teaching and take up of science, mathematics and information technology in Australian schools.

Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham said the Turnbull Government will work with state and territory education ministers to implement the key goals and actions agreed to in the National STEM School Education Strategy.

Minister Birmingham acknowledged the significant work and commitment of the Education Council and all state and territory ministers in the promotion of STEM and said the decision recognises the interest all education ministers have in promoting STEM studies in schools and the need to better prepare school students for the digital age.

“While good education starts with a solid foundation in literacy and numeracy, STEM subjects are essential to the development of critical and creative thinking, and analysis and problem solving skills,” Minister Birmingham said.

“Developing an early interest in subjects like science, maths and IT will help school students prepare for life and work beyond school.

“We need to do more and we need to do it differently to encourage more young students to engage with science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.

“Three-quarters of the fastest-growing occupations in Australia require skills in science, engineering, technology and mathematics,” Minister Birmingham said. 

“We need more school students to be studying maths, science and information technology so they can develop the skills they will increasingly need by the time they complete school and are looking to next step into higher education or the workforce.”

New South Wales Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli said the development of a national strategy would build on the significant steps all governments are taking to enhance the teaching of STEM subjects in Australian schools.

“STEM is on the radar internationally as the key to unlocking innovation potential – it’s seen as a critical pathway to securing Australia’s future,” Minister Piccoli said.
“The NSW Government wants to see improved participation and achievement in maths and science, and we know that teachers must be supported in developing the confidence and skills to help deliver this.”

The national strategy sets clear goals and includes five areas for action: 

• Increasing student STEM ability, engagement, participation and aspiration.
• Increasing teacher capacity and STEM teaching quality.
• Supporting STEM education opportunities within school systems.
• Facilitating effective partnerships with tertiary education providers, business and industry.
• Building a strong evidence base.

Minister Birmingham said the Turnbull Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda this week committed around $51 million in new funding to help Australian school students embrace the digital age, and to engage students at an early age with science and mathematics. 

“The Inspiring all Australians in Digital Literacy and STEM package includes $48 million to improve STEM literacy, and $14 million to expand opportunities for women,” Minister Birmingham said. 

The strategy is published on the Education Council website:

Minister Birmingham’s media contact: James Murphy, 0478 333 974
Minister Piccoli’s media contact: Caelin Worthington, 0437 427 445