Question - STEM Explorer Program


One of the key roles of the National Youth Science Forum and their STEM Explorers Program
was to grab these year 7 and year 8 students from around Australia, and in this instance 108
South Australian students, and give them ideas about what science can do for them at an age when
they are still making decisions about what they might do further in their studies and what they might
do further in life.

By years 7 and 8, students understand that science is not only more than test-tubes and lab
coats, as it was described to me on the day, but indeed something that is integral to our everyday
life. It also gave them facilities to understand and to talk to their peers when they go back to school
about how they might themselves benefit from more science learning.


I thank particularly the role of the National Youth Science Forum, represented on the day by
Rowley Tompsett, the board member, and Professor Tanya Monro—of course, very well known to
this house—the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of South Australia, who particularly
described to students her journey as a young scientist and a young woman in primary school years
and high school years interested in science, and how she wished such a program had been available
for her so that she could help get more of her friends involved in science.


It was a good day in Mylor. I also appreciated the opportunity to go with the member for
Heysen to the Mylor Primary School and the Bridgewater Primary School and talk with educators
and principals who wanted to share some of their thoughts with us during their school holidays, and
that was terrific. People from all around South Australia came, including teachers and volunteers,
and I thank those teachers and volunteers who supported the forum.

I really enjoyed talking to the high school and primary school students, students from a
diverse range of backgrounds. South Australia is the only state with year 7 still in a primary school
setting and, of course, this is a program designed for year 7s and year 8s. In other states, year 7s
and year 8s are naturally in that high school setting. Years 7 and 8 are, of course, a joint period in
the Australian curriculum to which we signed up.


Students were represented from Burnside Primary School, from the Deputy Premier's
electorate; Craigmore High School; Curramulka Primary School and, in your electorate, sir, East
Marden Primary School had students in attendance; as well as Hallett Cove School and Henley High
School from the south-west and west. Kangaroo Island Community Education, the member for
Mawson's electorate, had students attending from Parndana and from Kingscote, the Deputy
Premier's old campus; Loxton Primary School in the member for Chaffey's electorate; Mount Barker
High School in the member for Kavel's electorate; Murray Bridge North School in the member for
Hammond's electorate; and the Port Augusta Secondary School in the Minister for Energy's
electorate all provided students.


Port Lincoln High School from the west coast, the member for Flinders' electorate; Salisbury
North R-7 Primary School; Tea Tree Gully Primary School in the north-east; Yorketown Area School
in the member for Narungga's electorate—all of these areas sent students along. The ideas that were
taken from Mylor, from the University of South Australia, from all the other site visits that were
undertaken are being spread across the state as we speak, and it is tremendous to hear. I am particularly grateful to those adults, those volunteers and those teachers who took their own time in
the school holidays, some of them paid, some of them not, to support the students on their STEM
journey. I commend the activities of the National Youth Science Forum to the house.