1,500 Queensland teachers to be schooled on STEM

More than 1,500 state school teachers in Queensland have this week commenced training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as part of the state government's AU$3 million STEM professional development program.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

1,502 Queensland state school teachers have begun studying in one of seven online courses with Griffith University and Queensland University of Technology to enhance their skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The program forms part of the state government's AU$3 million STEM professional development program, which is aimed at supporting teachers to deliver subjects such as prep to year 10 digital technologies; primary science; year 7 to 9 mathematics and science; and year 11 and 12 mathematics B, chemistry, and physics subjects.

According to Education Minister Kate Jones, keeping teachers up to date with knowledge and understanding in delivering STEM education will better prepare students for the jobs of the future.

"Teachers are critical to our success in building schools of the future and the STEM professional development program will ultimately benefit students as well," she said.

"We were overwhelmed with applications for the professional development program with more than 2,500 teachers applying."

Of those 2,500, 500 signed up to upskill in coding and robotics, an area Jones said is a priority for the state government.

In December, the federal government pledged AU$48 million to improve STEM literacy, along with AU$51 million to help Australian students embrace the digital age and prepare for future jobs.

The AU$51 million will specifically go towards the formation of IT summer schools for students in years 9 and 10; an annual "cracking the code" competition for those in year 4 through 12; and online computing challenges for year 5 and year 7 students.

Teachers will also receive assistance with access to online support for preparing digital technology-based curriculum activities.

The five-year cash injections formed part of the government's AU$1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda.

Also on Tuesday, the Queensland government announced a two-year AU$400,000 funding agreement with the Open Data Institute Queensland (ODIQ), the first Australian node of the UK-based Institute.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business Leeanne Enoch said she expects the partnership will allow the government to tap into the institute's local and international open data community, which includes startups, businesses, researchers, and academia.

"Nationally, the value of this data has been estimated at up to $25 billion a year and if we can tap into this potential, the benefit to the Queensland economy is obvious," Enoch said in a statement.

"Open data is one of the building blocks to create the knowledge-based jobs of the future. It can enable research and innovation, stimulate startups, drive productivity, and build on our natural advantages."

Within the state government's open data portal Enoch said there are over 2,000 datasets and almost 8,000 resources online, which cover traffic, transport, healthcare, crime, land use, tides, and air quality.

"We want to make sure this data is freely available and able to be used either to create apps, establish research programs, start new businesses, or help improve government service delivery," she said.

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