QUT team wins Oceania category at ‘Oscars of Education’

QUT’s Impacting STEM Education in PNG team has been awarded the Gold Regional Oceania award winner at the prestigious QS Wharton Reimagine Education Awards held in Cairo.

The awards are known as the “Oscars of Education” and reward innovative approaches that enhance student learning outcomes and employability. This year, the QS Wharton Reimagine Education Awards process saw more than 1100 applications submitted across 18 categories.

The QUT team was assessed by an international panel of judges from 77 countries and territories and was selected for their innovation in transforming teachers training.

The winning team’s members are Associate Professor Vinesh Chandra, Professor Dann Mallet, Dr Senka Henderson, Dr Andy Yeh, Dr Charisse Farr and Mr David Kozar.

In addition to a written submission, the team also showcased their work at the 2022 Reimagine Education Virtual Conference with a two-minute video pitch in a virtual booth to delegates worldwide.

QUT’s transnational Australia Awards Papua New Guinea graduate certificate in STEM Education course, funded by the Australian Government through the Australia Awards PNG Program, has been training teachers in Papua New Guinea to reimagine how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills are taught in schools.

Like many nations globally, Papua New Guinea is prioritising STEM skills in schools.

QUT’s transnational graduate certificate in STEM Education course supports teachers to positively contribute to this national priority.

Associate Professor Chandra said innovative approaches such as project-based learning, collaborative learning, critical and creative thinking aligned to real world local problems supported teachers in planning positive changes in their classrooms.

“We designed the program to be innovative to ensure students were highly engaged,” he said.

Dr Farr said despite pandemic-caused challenges such as border closures, power surges, and connectivity issues, many students were highly engaged, devising ways to overcome seemingly insurmountable problems to join classes.

“For example, one student Raphael Ulka climbed a mountain in Mt Hagan in order to connect to a Zoom session,” she said.

Mr Kozar said: “These teachers graduate with a strong drive to support the upskilling of their colleagues through delivery of professional learning activities and the publication of resources, positively impacting the capacity of PNG teachers to deliver on the nation’s educational priority.”

Through the Australian Government’s support, 48 Papua New Guinea teachers have competed the course and achieved their Graduate Certificate and a further 25 are currently completing the course. Participating teachers come from 16 Provinces across Papua New Guinea and the national capital district.

Picture from left: Dr Andy Yeh, Mr David Kozar, Dr Senka Henderson, Associate Professor Vinesh Chandra, Dr Charisse Farr, and Professor Dann Mallet

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