Boonah school joins STEM debate

KNOWLEDGE: Boonah State High School principal is confident her students know what STEM stands for. Photo: Jocelyn Garcia
KNOWLEDGE: Boonah State High School principal is confident her students know what STEM stands for. Photo: Jocelyn Garcia

STUDIES may show young Australians in regional areas are less likely to know what the acronym ‘STEM’ stands for, but a Scenic Rim high school principal says her students are as informed as students in capital cities.

According to Samsung Australia’s survey, 87 per cent of respondents from regional Australia did not know STEM stands for the subjects ‘science, technology, engineering and mathematics’.

Despite Samsung’s research, Boonah State High School principal Cheryl Bullion said she believed her students would have the same knowledge regardless of whether the school was in a capital city or rural area.

“I would think that Boonah students would be much the same as the general population,” she said.

Ms Bullion said she believed the school curriculum ensured students did not miss out on learning the basics, with science and mathematics being compulsory for all students from years 7 to 10.

“Additionally, we have similar optional STEM subjects available for students to choose in years 9 and 10,” she said.

Ms Bullion said the school also offered a variety of options such as physics, chemistry, graphics, information processing and technology in years 11 and 12.

Ms Bullion said the school was up-to-date with the curriculum.

“We will be implementing the Australian curriculum – technology, which includes digital and design technology, to all students in years 7 and 8 from 2018,” she said.

The Samsung Australia study showed 90 per cent of respondents believed students in regional areas were less likely to pursue careers in STEM compared to those in capital cities.

Ms Bullion said the location of universities and TAFE institutions to study beyond high school for all career paths probably played a factor.

“I believe we have about the same proportion of students pursuing these careers as most areas that we are in contact with,” she said.

“Our distance is likely a barrier to further study in general but not confined to STEM specifically.”

The study results come as Samsung Australia announces tablets, with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s STEM resources and programs, will be distributed to libraries in the Scenic Rim region.

The initiative is to help encourage young people to undertake study in STEM subjects.