18 November 2016
(Question Without Notice, 17 November 2016, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)
My question is directed to the Premier. Given that Deloitte, Jobs for NSW, Council for Economic Development Australia, and Information and Communications Technology educators have all stressed the importance to the State's economy of specifically skilling up students on digital technologies, when will the Government finally catch up with all other State and Territory governments and adopt the Federal Government's digital technologies curriculum?
I thank the member for Sydney for his question. I know he has asked the education Minister similar questions. The Minister would have told the member, as I will, that it is an incredibly important issue. Looking at the challenges the State is facing, one of the most important things is how we prepare the next generation for the future. There is no doubt that in terms of the digital economy and the innovation aspects that come with it we need to ensure that our kids are best prepared.
We have done a number of things on the science, technology, engineering and mathematics [STEM] side. The reason is that if the digital economy is going to grow at seven times that of the traditional economy over the next 10 years, where will it go beyond that? We need to do everything now to have within our curriculum everything possible to prepare our kids. The Minister has overseen that, and I reject the member's assertion that we are behind. In many respects, we are leading in knowledge, particularly in relation to our STEM disciplines. We have announced a number of initiatives to give more capacity to our teachers, more incentives in terms of teaching, to provide extra subjects, extra skills and a wider and broader STEM curriculum. That is incredibly important.
With Hurlstone Agricultural College, we have an unbelievable facility coming to the Hawkesbury that will make a huge contribution, not just for this city or for this State but also for country. It is something that the will look at closely. Together with the new secretary of the department, the Minister and I have done exactly that. It is not just about the challenge of STEM and innovation in the digital economy; it is also a fact that the global economy is moving from west to east. The traditional economic powerhouse of the United States and the United Kingdom/ Europe is moving to the east. By 2020, China, India and other parts of Asia will have 30 per cent of the global economy. So how are we ensuring that the next generation is prepared for that shifting economy? Language is obviously a part of that, and an understanding of how we can prepare.
The New South Wales Government will continue its commitment to provide children in this State with every opportunity. Clearly, STEM is part of that and we will see more announcements as the secretary considers those two challenges, in particular. We are proud of what our teachers and schools are providing for our children. We will continue to do everything possible to give every student in New South Wales the best opportunity for the future as the world changes.