With the end of 2016 fast approaching, I’d like to wish all of our supporters, participants, alumni, volunteers and readers best wishes for the festive season, a fantastic summer holiday and a happy new year!
Of course here at the NYSF the end of the festivities marks the beginning of our busiest time. As we write, there are just 21 sleeps to go until the start of Session A, and 34 until Session C, and we are looking forward to welcoming the next round of 400 participants to join us here at the NYSF. As always, the focus of the NYSF program will be to show our young people the wide range of study, research and career options available to them, and to support them to make informed choices for their futures. In doing so, we also aim to inspire, as we know that inspired students are motivated students, and motivated students go on to achieve incredible outcomes.
inspired students are motivated students
It was very concerning to read in the media recently about Australia’s rankings drop in the latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) and the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). Here at the NYSF we are particularly aware of and concerned about these results, and consequently are even more driven to ensure we deliver a quality program to engage young people in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. In light of these results, we also recognise that the timing couldn’t be more significant for the opportunities we’ve recently been given to expand the programs we offer in 2017 and beyond.
2017 is going to be an exciting year for the NYSF and our participants. We will be piloting a new program targeting younger students in years 7 and 8. This pilot program will run in Adelaide in July 2017 in collaboration with the South Australian Department of Education and Child Development, with development funds from the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS). The new program is a residential program that aims to foster and encourage an interest in STEM at a time when many students start turning away from these subjects. Once the pilot is completed, we aim to roll the program out in even more locations around the country.
As a result of funding also secured from the Department of Industry Innovation and Science (DIIS) via the National Science and Innovation Agenda (NISA), the NYSF is nearing the final stages of negotiation with a current partner university to deliver a third NYSF Year 12 January Program to be run in 2018. We have also started discussions for a fourth program to be run at another site in 2019. This will give an additional 200 students the opportunity to participate in 2018, and by 2019 could see as many as 800 young people participating in the NYSF Year 12 Program, across four sessions. In addition, funding has been secured to establish the NYSF Equity Scholarship, which will contribute to reducing the participation fee for young people from communities that may previously have not applied to attend. We will be working closely with our Rotary colleagues to identify young people to access these funds.
We are also negotiating funding and hosting arrangements with the same current partner university to run an additional NYSF National Science Teachers Summer School (NSTSS) program in 2018, as well as maintaining the long-running and popular program that we have delivered at The Australian National University (ANU) for the past 12 years. Our NSTSS Program offers professional development to science teachers, as well as an opportunity to support their engagement levels and passion for teaching science to our young people.
I am sure you will agree, there is a lot in the pipeline here at the NYSF – the result of some hard work by our Board and corporate team in the past two years, and I must acknowledge their role, and in particular, Professor Tanya Monro, our immediate past Board Chair.
Before I sign off, I note that we are seeking some assistance in billeting students who are travelling to and from different locations around the country, via Sydney and Melbourne, to attend the NYSF Year 12 Program in January. This is a great opportunity to get to know some of the bright young people who are attending the program, and be involved, even if you’re not in Canberra.
In Sydney, we’re looking for people to host students overnight on these dates:
- Sunday 1 January
- Sunday 15 January
In Melbourne, we’re looking for people to host students overnight on these dates:
- Sunday 1 January (students travelling to Session A)
- Saturday 14 January (students travelling home from Session A)
- Sunday 15 January (students travelling to Session C)
- Saturday 28 January (students travelling home from Session C)
The NYSF believes that child protection is everyone’s responsibility and those interested in billetting will need to meet the community standards (legislative requirements) in your state of territory. For more information, and to volunteer as a host, you can go to https://goo.gl/forms/vBwhE6oWICM4QCML2.
We look forward to welcoming in the 2017 year, with all of its new opportunities, along with the next cohort of 400 young people to join our Year 12 January program.
Once again, all the best for the festive season, and thank you for your support.
Dr Damien Pearce
Chief Executive Officer