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Said it all before

Chief Scientist Alan “Frank” Finkel was at his engaging best giving evidence on Tuesday to the umpteenth inquiry on whether the Australian economy needs people who can count. This one is by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment, which is looking at how Australia can have an innovative and creative workforce. “My predecessor, Ian Chubb, led the Office of the Chief Scientist through a large number of studies to gather an evidence base on our capability in STEM education and workforce preparation, and I think that has informed everything that is in our submission and a lot of the discussion that has taken place across the community,” Dr Finkel said.

He added addressing STEM shortages takes lots of time, both to change things and to discover whether changes, notably in higher education, worked. “It takes two years to design and approve a new course. Then it is going to be four years before the first graduates from that course go through and get their bachelor degree with honours. In many disciplines there is an expectation of a masters, so there is a six- to seven-year lag from when there is a recognition through interaction with industry and academia. In order to cope with that we need to make sure industry is talking to the academic leadership about the horizon scanning, to anticipate where the new needs are. That is difficult and you can get it wrong.”

But degree changes aren’t the only thing that takes time. As Professor Chubb obviously understood, when policy advocates are so sick of an idea that they can barely mention it, that is when most people are just beginning to get it.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: campusmorningmail.com.au

See on Scoop.itSTE[+A]M – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics

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