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Wednesday, 25 October 2017
Page: 12050


Mr IRONS (Swan) (10:09): Education and mathematics go together, and I rise today to speak on the coalition government's reSolve program. Whilst back in my electorate of Swan, I had the pleasure of representing the Minister for Education at the opening ceremony of the reSolve: Mathematics by Inquiry leading Champions workshops. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, education is a key priority of the Australian government. We need our schoolchildren to have the appropriate mathematics and other critical STEM skills they'll need when they graduate. Whether they go on to further study at university or TAFE, take up a trade apprenticeship, as I did, or head straight into the workforce, we know that a strong knowledge of STEM will hold them in good stead and is often critical to their success.

When we finish school we never really know exactly where we're going to end up. As a schoolboy in Melbourne I never thought I'd become an electrician, move to Perth, own a business and then end up here in parliament. So, there is a journey that many of us take to end up in this place or anywhere where we find our vocation. But one thing we know is that a solid foundation in mathematics and appreciation of its power will give our young people the best possible chance in whichever career path they choose to take. The reSolve: Mathematics by Inquiry initiative is just one of the ways we can give them that, and this coalition government has continued to improve STEM education across the country. This initiative focuses on the importance of making mathematics more meaningful, attractive and relevant to students by teaching them how powerful mathematics can be and showing them how they can use mathematics in their own lives and careers.

Key to this improvement are our teachers. The reSolve program is creating learning resources for teachers that will engage all students in mathematics, igniting a passion for the STEM subjects as early as possible. This passion and understanding aims to boost the number of students taking advanced mathematics in their senior school years. The resources from the program will help students learn maths by teaching them the skills to think critically and solve problems rather than to answer questions in a school textbook. The Australian government has partnered with the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers for this project, and they have done an excellent job in leading and managing this important initiative. It was fantastic to hear about the progress of the 28 Western Australian reSolve Champions of the project and to see them so engaged in their workshop activities. I look forward to hearing about more positive outcomes for our students as the program grows to fruition. It was a pleasure to meet with such passionate educators as the teachers and champions of the reSolve program.

I hope every schoolchild has the opportunity to learn from teachers who are as enthusiastic about mathematics at the reSolve Champions are. I also congratulate the Minister for Education on the work he's put into the program, and I'm very proud to be part of a coalition government that is prioritising the education of Australian children through further education of the reSolve Champions. It was fantastic to meet the 28 teachers and to be there.