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The Indigenous STEM Education Project aims to increase participation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

About the Project

Funded by BHP Foundation and delivered by CSIRO, the Indigenous STEM Education Project demonstrates the link between the traditional ecological knowledge of Australia's First Nations Peoples and the science curriculum and how it can be taught using inquiry-based methods. 

The project has a national footprint working with primary, secondary and tertiary students in remote, regional and metropolitan areas.

Since 2015, more than 22,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, 2,000 teachers and 233 schools have been engaged across remote, rural and urban Australia.

Find out more

33C - CSIRO – ISEP

[Animation images move through of a blue patterned circle below the word “STEM”, the CSIRO and BHP Foundation logos, and the circle surrounded by symbols]

Narrator: The Indigenous STEM Education Project funded by the BHP Foundation and delivered by the CSIRO is forging new education and career pathways for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

[Animation image shows the blue patterned circle on the left of a screen and an open book on the right and the image shows dots moving back and forwards between the two]

The project consists of six national programmes. The Science Pathways for Indigenous Communities Programme works with remote schools and communities to develop Two-Way science learning programmes that connect Indigenous scientific knowledges with the Australian curriculum.

[Animation image changes to show text “I²S²” on the left of the blue patterned circle and then the image changes to show a student looking into a microscope]

The Inquiry for Indigenous Science Students Programme equips teachers with the confidence and understanding to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges using hands-on inquiry-based science projects.

[Camera zooms out to show students in a classroom behind the student with the microscope and the image shows one of the students raising a hand]

The Aboriginal Summer School for Excellence in Technology and Science brings together high achieving Year 10 students for a residential summer school and alumni programme.

[Animation image changes to show a gold medal with the patterned circle in the centre and clapping sticks surrounding it]

The Annual Indigenous STEM Awards recognise the achievements of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander STEM professionals and students.

[Animation image shows the blue patterned circle with gold rays surrounding it and the image shows the rays morphing into a pathway and the “University of Melbourne” logo appears above the pathway]

The Bachelor of Science Extended Programme provides a supported pathway for students with aspirations for a career in STEM to complete the Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Melbourne.

[Animation image changes to show the blue patterned circle moving up the screen between two high school buildings and mathematical symbols appear above the school buildings]

Prime Futures works with teachers in mainstream metropolitan and regional schools with higher than average Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student populations providing tools and support to improve student outcomes in mathematics.

[Animation image changes to show a small calendar and the image shows the pages being torn off between 2016 and 2020 and then the image shows many hands raised at the bottom of the screen]

Since 2016 monitoring and evaluation of these programmes has indicated they’ve been making substantial impacts on the engagement and achievement of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students in STEM.

[Camera zooms out to show the hands within a circle surround by symbols of a painted face, joined hands, a tree, a robotic hand, a hand holding a pencil, and a student with a mortar board]

This includes enhanced academic results; the creation and expansion of peer and professional networks; stronger and clearer student aspirations; increased sense of belonging at school; and a deeper understanding of cultural identity.

[Animation image changes to show a hand holding a blue patterned circle and then passing it to another hand and the camera zooms in on the blue patterned circle in the hand]

The profile of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander STEM role models has grown significantly. Parental and community engagement in STEM education has increased.

[Animation image changes to show the CSIRO logo and symbols appear beneath of a hand holding a pen, a building, and a classroom of students]

Teachers capacity has also improved along with their confidence. CSIRO programme staff have built strong connections among teachers, schools and communities and have shown how a model of culturally responsive and inclusive STEM education can work.

[Animation image changes to show the blue patterned circle and text appears beneath: csiro.au/indigenous-education]

Learn more about the evaluation findings at csiro.au/indigenous-education.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the CSIRO and BHP Foundation logos on a white screen]

 

About the Indigenous STEM Education Project

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Important statistics

22,000+

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students reached

2,000

teachers involved

233

schools participating

6

years of program delivery

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