Sunday, 17 May 2015 22:47

ACS: Political bi-partisanship on ICT policy, STEM needed Featured

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Image courtesy of arztsamui, freedigitalphotos.net/images Image courtesy of arztsamui, freedigitalphotos.net/images

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) wants to see bi-partisan cooperation between political parties on initiatives to bring a greater focus to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) studies in the education system.

The ACS call comes in response to the Budget in Reply speech by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who said that a Labor Government would introduce a suit of initiatives, including coding in schools, to promote a greater focus on STEM.

Welcoming the Labor announcement, ACS CEO Andrew Johnson said the evidence globally is compelling – “the jobs of the future will require core skills in computational thinking and coding.  These are the new foundation skills for the students of today.”  

Johnson said, however, that the timetable must be moved forward if Australia is to benefit from the growth in the digital economy.

“We simply can’t wait until 2017 to implement this. The ACS urges bipartisanship from our political parties on this critical issue.

“Together with the strong support for coding and STEM skills we are now seeing from the business community, the ACS believes we now have a powerful platform and alignment of views to take these initiatives forward immediately.”

Citing the example of the UK, Johnson said the Government there had worked collaboratively with the British Computer Society and the ICT industry to help train teachers who can then go on to teach coding.

“It is already happening over there and we and the business community stand ready to work with the political parties to get this underway in Australia, so we can start building a skilled digital workforce for the future.”

In welcoming Shorten’s announcement on STEM, Johnson said:  “The ACS particularly welcomes initiatives to increase tertiary STEM study levels.

“We have long been flagging the issue around declining enrolments in the STEM disciplines, and we certainly welcome changes to encourage greater participation.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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