I am a 23 year old Communications Student living in Neutral Bay. I love hanging out with my grandparents, a good national park and spending time with my friends. I am in my final year of uni and hope to get a job in advertising and communications next year.
Students undertaking their Higher School Certificate will now be able to take seven science units, in a push to boost involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The new program, called Science Extension, will allow students to complete a scientific research project, overseen by a university department or individual researcher from Australia or overseas.
Students in New South Wales commencing the HSC in 2019 will be able to participate in the program, which increases science units from the current four to seven.
Doctor Kristine McGrath, a biology lecturer at University of Technology Sydney, says young students could benefit from Science Extension as it will give them a chance to experience what a university science degree will involve.
"This progarm could offer someone who doesn't know what they want to do the chance to really try out a fantastic field. I chose to do science because I liked it," Dr. McGrath said.
I think it helps students get an idea of what they’ll have to do in uni
Over half of Australia's STEM workforce have been born overseas, causing the industry to call for strategies to help build up talent through local education.
"You need a good understanding of physics, chemistry and biology from high school to get through your Bachelor of Science. Fifty-five per cent of my students come into my course straight from high school, so it's important for them to have done chemistry and physics as they are really hard," Dr McGrath said.
Science Extension was launched at Sydney Girls High School by Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Education Minister Rob Stokes.
“We want to be able to provide our next generation of scientists with the knowledge and skills they need to lead modern scientific research,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“This new course will inspire and challenge some of our best students and prepare them for the many future jobs that we know will need high-level STEM expertise.”
The program also aims to encourage young women to study science, with current figures seeing only six per cent of Australian year 12 girls nationally studying physics in contrast to 11.5 per cent of boys.
Fidele Felfleh, in her final year of a Bachelor of Medical Science at UTS, thinks that Science Extension will help students decide what they want to study.
"If it's optional, I think it helps students get an idea of what they’ll have to do in uni. They will have a feel of what will come. I studied lots of biology in high school as that was what interested me and it helped me know a bit better what to expect," Ms Felfleh said.
HSC English, Mathematics and History students have previously had the option of undertaking extension courses, with the new program allowing students seeking a career in the STEM fields to be challenged in the same way.