Oliver Milman, ‘Blueprint to address Australia’s lack of science strategy unveiled’, The Guardian, 2 September 2014
Chief scientist makes series of recommendations to improve the country’s skills in science, technology, engineering and maths.
Australia’s chief scientist, Ian Chubb, has unveiled a blueprint to address Australia’s lack of a science strategy, with proposals aimed at improving skills, supporting research and linking scientific work to other countries.
Chubb has made a series of recommendations to the federal government to increase focus on science, technology, engineering and maths skills.
The strategy is partially aimed at addressing the declining number of students taking advanced maths in year 11 and 12, as well as the shortage of qualified maths and science teachers.
Chubb said each primary school should have at least one specialist maths and science teacher, a policy currently used in South Australia and Victoria. This would be encouraged by improving incentives, including pay, for teachers.
Other recommendations include supporting research potential, improving research collaboration with other countries and doing more to stress the importance of science to businesses and students.
Chubb said: “We are the only OECD country without a science or technology strategy. Other countries have realised that such an approach is essential to remaining competitive in a world reliant on science and science-trained people.
“Science is infrastructure and it is critical to our future. We must align our scientific effort to the national interest, focus on areas of particular importance or need, and do it on a scale that will make a difference to Australia and a changing world.
“I have outlined how to develop better capacity and capability through strategic investment, good planning and long-term commitment.”
The report was delivered to Ian Macfarlane, the industry minister. Australia does not have a science minister.
The report, ‘Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Australia’s Future, September 2014 can be read here.