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Program encourages youngsters to take up science

By Louise Errington

CDU Primary Industry Centre for Science Education Project Manager Dr Greg Smith CDU Primary Industry Centre for Science Education Project Manager Dr Greg Smith

A new program available through Charles Darwin University’s School of Education will give middle and high school students greater access to science education.

The Primary Industry Centre for Science Education (PICSE) at CDU is part of a national network that focuses on linking schools, universities, regional industries and government organisations to encourage greater participation in science education.

CDU PICSE Project Manager Dr Greg Smith said the program would enhance the university’s continuing engagement with local schools through industry placements and award programs for students, and professional development for teachers.

“The program provides an opportunity for science teachers and students to engage with local primary industry professionals and CDU researchers,” Dr Smith said.

“Students are able to interact with researchers and industry professionals through industry placements and internships to experience what a science career involves, and to hear first-hand about study and career paths.

“Science teachers also stand to benefit from experiencing real-world applications of curriculum through interactions with local science-based industry professionals.”

The program aims to increase awareness of, and interest in, science-related degrees and careers in areas such as genetics, microbiology, chemistry, physics, earth science, biology, environmental investigation and engineering.

It also aims to increase the knowledge and skills of teachers in delivering science subjects through engagement with local industry science professionals.

PICSE was established in 1998 at the University of Tasmania. Since its launch, the program has benefited more than 50,000 students and 1200 secondary science teachers across Australia.

The program represents a partnership between CDU, Curtin University, University of Adelaide, University of Southern Queensland, University of Western Sydney, Federation University, University of Tasmania, Growsmart Training, and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation.

The CDU PICSE program is supported by the Australian Government Department of Education’s Australian Maths and Science Partnership Program.