In 2015, all Australian education ministers agreed to the National STEM School Education Strategy 2016–2026, which focuses on foundation skills, developing mathematical, scientific and digital literacy, and promoting problem solving, critical analysis and creative thinking skills. The strategy aims to coordinate current activities, and improve STEM education.
The STEM Partnerships Forum was established as one of the key national collaborative actions under the National STEM School Education Strategy 2016-2026. The Forum is chaired by Australia's Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO and brings together leaders from schools, business and industry and the tertiary education sector.
The Forum aims to facilitate a more strategic approach to school based partnerships with businesses and industry across Australia in order to support more efficient and effective partnerships between schools, industry, and the tertiary education sector, including consideration of:
- establishing best-practice partnerships
- increasing student involvement in effective school-based partnerships
- increasing industry involvement in effective school-based partnerships
- aligning initiatives
- raising awareness of the importance of STEM education
- improving careers advice on the importance and relevance of STEM skills
- supporting greater collaboration between industry and STEM teachers.
A list of members and an outline of discussions of the first meeting in May 2017 are available through a Communique.
The Australian Government provides a secretariat function for the Forum, supported by the Australian Capital Territory.
Forum members have worked through three areas of focus—teacher professional development, careers awareness, and outcomes and impact. An issues paper is available for comment until 12 February 2018. Submissions can be sent to STEMforumsubmissions@education.gov.au.
The final report will be delivered to Education Council in mid-2018.