Hillcrest Primary School STEM Centre Opening

11 November, 2020

The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:54): Today, I rise to speak about STEM and the new STEM Centre at the Hillcrest Primary School. 'STEM' stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, incorporating physics and chemistry.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Minister for Education and the Department for Education for their outstanding work on the STEM Learning strategy. This important strategy will transform public education to enable students at every level of schooling to develop knowledge, skills and understanding in STEM subjects and to apply that learning to shape the world.

It was a great honour to represent the Minister for Education, the Hon. John Gardner, to officially open the new STEM Centre on Wednesday 28 October 2020. Our heartfelt congratulations go to the Hillcrest Primary School on receiving $1 million of state government grants to create the new state-of-the-art, purpose-built STEM learning space. The new STEM labs have cutting-edge technology within an engaging and supportive environment that stimulates the imagination and creative learning of students of all year levels.

The strong leadership and vision of the school principal, Lissa Hutter, and the deputy principal, Simon Watts, enabled teachers, students, the governing council and the entire school community to be involved in the planning, designing and building of the STEM centre. It was wonderful to meet Ms Hutter and Mr Watts and have the opportunity to have a special guided tour by two diligent and impressive Year 7 students, Shivangi and Ryan. Both of them displayed a high level of competence and enthusiasm as STEM leaders.

It was a privilege to have the opportunity to witness firsthand how the students and teachers at Hillcrest Primary have embraced this new learning space wholeheartedly and are developing new skills and problem-solving abilities together. Principal Hutter highlighted how many of the technologies and skills used in the STEM labs are new to the teachers as well as the students. It certainly created a fantastic opportunity for collaborative learning experiences.

I would also like to thank Ms Karien Marshall, the chairperson of the school governing council, for her commitment to the STEM centre and congratulate Troppo Architects and Akira Builders on producing such a flexible and unique learning space that meets the aspirations of the school.

Students now have the freedom to use their creativity and imagination, make mistakes and learn valuable problem-solving skills. I was delighted to meet some of the primary school students and see firsthand how excited and engaged they are in using the state-of-the-art technology for programming, robotics, architecture and learning in many other areas.

Research has shown that 75 per cent of the fastest growing industries require some form of science, technology, engineering or maths skills, and many young people today will go on to work in emerging fields or industries in the future. That is why these dedicated STEM facilities are so important for fostering interest in these vital subjects and preparing students for future careers.

When I asked students what they wanted to be when they grew up, I was delighted to hear many call out, 'astronaut', 'space controller', 'engineer' and 'scientist' with a twinkle in their eyes, imagining what future they might have. It is very encouraging news that so many of these young people have the opportunity to pursue these dreams right here in South Australia.

I am proud that the Marshall Liberal government has established the South Australian Space Industry Centre. Premier Marshall is well known for his strong commitment to the endless opportunities provided by the space industry, which challenge our best researchers and engineers and inspire young people to explore new horizons. With the Australian Space Agency located in the heart of Adelaide, we have certainly become the space capital of the nation.

Once again, congratulations to the Hillcrest Primary School on their outstanding work that inspires students' imagination and curiosity in STEM studies. It is up, up and above when talking about space industries and opportunities for these young students; the sky is no longer the limit. I wish everyone at the Hillcrest Primary School a bright future ahead.