This research reports on key findings from an international investigation into what others are doing around the world in OECD countries to engage young people, particularly girls, in STEM. This research was conducted by Barbara Cail STEM Fellows, Ms Chapman and Dr Vivian, who travelled overseas to interview directors, researchers and leaders from across business, education sectors, STEM organisations, and government.
The findings reveal a key message: that cultivating and establishing partnerships across our Australian STEM ecosystem is vital for enhancing STEM participation and diversity in Australia. The report outlines 8 key recommendations for directing Australia's STEM strategy, and ways in which each stakeholder – whether it be business, government, education, families, or community, can play a fundamental role in STEM engagement, described through case studies. Furthermore, the report outlines a vision for a collaborative STEM ecosystem and strategies specific to engaging girls in STEM.
The 8 key recommendations include:
- A coordinated national strategy for building teacher capacity in STEM education and within specific STEM disciplines.
- Develop an industry-funded national project to build capacity of practicing STEM teacher professionals.
- Map Australia’s STEM ecosystem: identifying key stakeholders, programs and exemplars in best practice.
- Develop a STEM framework, to provide guidance for STEM stakeholders, incorporating the benchmarks for quality STEM programs.
- Maximise opportunities for engagement, inspiration and building aspirations of girls by establishing a Celebration of STEM Women program.
- Conduct industry-led research into targeted STEM Education topics in need of urgent attention.
- Develop, in collaboration with industry, a national student STEM mentorship program.
- Develop a suite of STEM engagement resources, drawing on existing resources, tailored to the Australian STEM context and different STEM disciplines.
This research was funded and supported by the Australian Government in partnership with Chief Executive Women Ltd.