Students studying STEM

Generous gift to improve teaching in disadvantaged schools

3 September 2015

Pave the Way gets a head start with a major gift from Mr Roger Massy-Greene and University Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson.

The University of Sydney’s Pave the Way fundraising initiative has been given a head start with a major gift from Mr Roger Massy-Greene (BSc ‘70 BE ‘71) and his wife, Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AM (BEc ‘76), to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teaching in disadvantaged schools.

The $1 million gift will provide scholarships to attract the University’s top STEM graduates to the Master of Teaching program and prepare them as specialist STEM teachers for disadvantaged high schools in the Sydney area.

“Teachers are the single most important influence on student learning,” Ms Hutchinson said

“By providing disadvantaged schools with access to the best and brightest STEM teachers, we hope to equip children, regardless of their socioeconomic background, with the necessary knowledge and skills to participate in the economy of the future.”

The initiative is intended to increase the number of STEM teachers in the Master of Teaching program, increase the number of students from disadvantaged schools who choose to study STEM subjects at senior levels, improve their HSC results, and increase the number of students who continue STEM study at a tertiary level.

Pave the Way is a 24-hour fundraising and awareness campaign – the University of Sydney’s second annual giving day and the only challenge of its kind at any Australian university. The giving day will this year raise funds for students facing physical, mental health and financial challenges, as well as for research to improve the health of people everywhere.

 “We are honoured by the Chancellor and Mr Massy-Greene’s generous gift,” said Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney.

“Regrettably, the Australian secondary school system is experiencing a critical shortage of STEM teachers. Disadvantaged schools are most at risk of missing out on securing qualified teachers in these areas.”

“As a result of this extraordinary gift, the University of Sydney can make real and lasting changes to STEM education. We hope the flow-on effect of this will have a substantial impact, not only on the educational attainment of young people from disadvantaged schools, but hopefully also on the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in Australia.”

Following a rigorous application and interview selection process, the initiative will offer scholarships each year to between five and seven high-achieving STEM graduates to enrol in the Master of Teaching degree. Students will receive an annual scholarship for partial payment of tuition fees and financial support. Each student will then receive a top-up stipend to augment their teaching salary, making it more attractive to follow a teaching career.   

Successful applicants will also have the opportunity to be mentored by in-service teachers participating in the University’s STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy, and complete placements with STEM Academy in-service teachers working in disadvantaged schools. 

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