By Malachai Nathaniel, Papua New Guinea
What is STEM? What is STEM Education and Why STEM Education? How can you plan, assess, and teach an integrated STEM approach?
These questions and many more really got me thinking when I first heard Hon. James Marape, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea (PNG) announce on media in the beginning of 2020 that STEM education will be implemented in PNG.
This was before I took the Graduate Certificate in STEM Education at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), funded by the Australian Government through Australia Awards in the beginning of 2020., I was an educationist working with the Papua New Guinea National Department of Education, participating mainly in curriculum development, training and curriculum implementation through media and digital technologies.,
Being one of the awardees of the Australia Awards short course, I am honoured to say that through this program, I have learnt a lot more than I expected. I even experienced new technologies introduced to us. The short course really contributed a lot to my personal and professional growth. It was even timely with the current curriculum reform the PNG education system is undergoing.
Standards-based curriculum development
Currently, the education department through the curriculum division is in the process of developing a new reformed curriculum called the standards-based curriculum (SBC) to replace outcomes-based curriculum (OBC). With the right timing, and from the experiences and vast content knowledge and skills gained through this short course on STEM education, I managed to contribute in some ways to the curriculum development process by embedding STEM concepts, principles and processes in the SBC curriculum documents (syllabuses and teacher guides) mainly for upper primary and secondary sectors. The lower primary and elementary SBC documents were developed prior to the introduction of STEM education. However, elementary and lower primary teachers have been advised to apply an integrated approach.
STEM Impact Website
I have established a website that shows more details on the progress and impact of my work in STEM. You may access it through this link: https://malachaihenrynatha.wixsite.com/impact-stories
I cannot thank QUT, my STEM lecturers and the Australian Government enough for the learning opportunity, the knowledge and skills I learned from the short course. My story is an evidence of that opportunity of how the course has transformed and contributed to my personal and professional growth. Once again, thank you QUT and the Australian Government.