Every primary school in South Australia will have a minimum of one teacher with a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) specialisation by 2019.

School students in the classroom.

Announced today, South Australia’s new STEM Strategy will see more than 500 primary teachers receive additional training to become teachers with specialist STEM skills.

In addition, a new “STEM Play” program will be implemented in all government preschools, giving 2 to 5-year-olds extra exposure to scientific and mathematical concepts as part of their learning and play.

The aim of both initiatives is to get more students excited about science, technology, engineering and maths subjects from an early age.

With STEM occupations among the fastest areas of jobs growth in the world, the move is considered key to enhancing South Australia’s ability to build, attract and retain businesses that prosper in the global economy.

The strategy aims to help young South Australia’s take advantage of the new opportunities such as the 2,800 jobs that will be created as part of the Future Submarines project.

Building STEM facilities in schools

The strategy is underpinned by a $500 million investment in public and private school infrastructure which includes the $250 million STEM Works program.

STEM Works will see contemporary building upgrades carried out at 139 schools, improving the science, technology and other learning facilities used by 75,000 South Australian students.

A further $100 million is being invested in the new CBD school (due to open in 2019), which will provide 1250 students with quality secondary schooling with a STEM and health sciences focus.

The strategy will offer:

  • additional professional learning and development opportunities for teachers and school leaders
  • specialist STEM career pathways support for schools, tertiary institutions and industry to help young people transition into emerging industries
  • an Aboriginal engagement strategy to reflect the Aboriginal communities’ aspiration for strong participation in STEM.The South Australian STEM Strategy is designed to help position Australia as one of the top 5 OECD countries for students’ performance in reading, mathematics and science by 2025.