Shorten visit puts STEM in focus

Bill Shorten visits Domremy College Five Dock on May 13.

Bill Shorten visits Domremy College Five Dock on May 13.

Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten visited Domremy College Five Dock today to continue his campaign’s education focus in the lead up to the July 2 election.

Shadow minister for education Kate Ellis , member for Sydney Tanya Plibersek and Reid federal Labor candidate Angelo Tsirekas joined Mr Shorten on the tour.

Students in Years 8 to 12 spoke to the minister about the Science and coding projects they will complete in 2016 including Lego Robotics programming, NASA Space Camp, and potentially creating prosthetic hands for children in developing nations with the College’s 3-D printers.

Principal Vivienne Awad said teachers from the school had also partnered with Sydney University academics in the fields of Science, Technology and Mathematics to continue their professional development, and that students had benefited from the process.

“These programs give that opportunity for students to tinker and play, and I think that also comes from giving staff the confidence to  go out of their comfort zone,” she said.

“We are looking at opportunities to do more coding and to make Science even more practical –  ways to bring the world into the classroom.”

Year 12 student Odelia Sze-To studies Physics, Chemistry and 4 Unit Mathematics, with the hope of studying Aeronautical Engineering at university. She may benefit from  Labor’s proposal to waive HECS fees from 2017 for 20,000 STEM degrees once they are completed.

Bill Shorten visits Domremy College Five Dock.

Federal Opposition leader Bill Shorten poses with colleagues, Domremy students and Principal Vivienne Awad.

Mr Shorten announced this week that under Labor’s education policy every secondary Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) teacher in Australia would hold a qualification relevant to their subject by 2020, coding would become a mandatory subject in Primary and Secondary schools,  and Labor would invest $393 million to provide 25,000 teaching scholarships over five years to recent graduates of STEM degrees, to encourage them to become a STEM teacher. The policy is a response to figures which state about 40 per cent of those teaching maths in Years 7 to 10 do not have a relevant tertiary qualification.

“Being here at this wonderful school and meeting these very clever young women reminds Australians of the importance of giving a quality education to every child in every school, in every postcode,” he said. “We’ve seen today shows that if you show confidence in the kids and provide the teachers with the sort of support and training they require then the sky is the limit.”

  • Read more about  Domremy students’ Science focus and NASA trip in the next edition of About Catholic Schools.

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