New course in WA taps into resources

YEAR 11 and 12 students in Western Australia can now learn about minerals, petroleum and hydrogeology while they study environmental science issues as part of a new course.

YEAR 11 and 12 students in Western Australia can now learn about minerals, petroleum and hydrogeology while they study environmental science issues as part of a new course.

The Earth and Environmental Science course could lead to further study in areas such as exploration, mining, petroleum, hydrogeology, environmental science, climate change science and marine science.

The course was the result of a partnership between industry and schools. It had very strong industry support, generated by Earth Science Western Australia (ESWA), a consortium of eminent geologists, industrialists and scientists engaged in high-level geoscience education and research in WA, according to the Government.

The objective of the industry and school partnership was to establish a link between sponsoring companies from the minerals, petroleum and hydrogeology sectors, and schools offering the new Earth and Environmental Science course.

The companies already linked to schools include BHP Billiton Global Technology, Rio Tinto and Newmont Australia.

Other vital support that could be provided by industry included sponsoring field trips, student prizes, class materials and equipment.

Chairman of Earth Science WA Dr Jim Ross said the group hoped that most secondary schools in the State would take up the course. He said industry and institutions had backed that vision with funding of $500,000 to date, as well as in-kind support.

“The key to increasing the profile of the new course in Years 11 and 12 is increased awareness of earth and environmental science in schools in Years 8 to 10,” Dr Ross said.

“That has been made possible by the generous sponsorship of BHP Billiton Technology, with the support and cooperation of Scitech.

“The ‘Earth Science Across WA’ initiative, for students in Years 8 to 10, was initiated by Earth Science WA last year. Funding of $255,000 is being provided over three years to enrich earth science teaching and learning.”

For more information about the Earth and Environmental Science course, visit http://www.curriculum.wa.edu.au/internet/Senior_Secondary/Courses/

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