The National Science-Technology Roadshow Trust (the Trust) has launched the Sir Paul Callaghan Science Academy — a programme to combat shortfalls in science teaching in New Zealand. Reports from the Education Review Office released this year and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor (2011) concluded that many of our school students are missing out on opportunities in science.
“Our vision for the Sir Paul Callaghan Science Academy is to create a cohort of teachers who celebrate science and inspire their students to learn and explore their world through science.” says Associate Professor Richard Hartshorn, Chair of the Trust, which has literally taken science into New Zealand schools for the past 24 years.
The Academy provides a four-day live-in programme aimed at giving primary and intermediate teachers the techniques and skills to confidently guide and inspire children’s natural curiosity in science. The pilot Academy, being held in Matakana near Auckland, from 18-21 September, is fully booked with 22 primary and intermediate teachers.
“We believe we can build, enhance, and sustain both their confidence and enthusiasm for science teaching,” says Hartshorn.
New Zealander of the Year in 2011 and one of our best-known scientists, Sir Paul Callaghan said: “You don’t need to teach a child curiosity. Curiosity is innate. You just have to be careful not to squash it. The challenge for the teacher is to foster and guide that curiosity.”
Sir Paul was a visionary and passionate advocate of science and its contribution to the economy. One of his many legacies was to endorse and give his name to the Academy.
Ultimately the Academy will be part of the strategy to improve New Zealand’s future prosperity - by creating a more “science-savvy” population, as well as more science graduates and skilled people for the workforce.
“The challenge facing New Zealand is greater than any single organisation can confront, however we believe a very good place to start is by laying a strong foundation for our youth,” says Hartshorn.
The Trust is engaging with business, industry, government and research organisations to gain input and support for the Academy. The inaugural Academy is being principally funded by the Trust with further support from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Science and Innovation Group, formerly the Ministry of Science and Innovation, as well as the David Levene Foundation.
Education Minister Hon Hekia Parata will be officiating at the closing ceremony of the inaugural Academy next week.
For further information, please go to www.scienceacademy.co.nz or contact Richard Hartshorn, Chair (03) 364 2874 or Ian Kennedy, Director, 0274 332 790 / 04 499 7865
Since 1988 the National Science-Technology Roadshow Trust (the Trust) has been operating science programmes to schools, providing exhibitions, consultancy services and other educational resources annually reaching over 200,000 people. Each year its school education programmes alone directly reach more than 53,000 students and teachers from more than 700 schools.