When Malachai Nathaniel began his Australia Awards Graduate Certificate in STEM Education short course in February 2020, he had big plans to incorporate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), into Papua New Guinea’s education curriculum.

“Our education system needs to be transformed to produce a generation with innovative and creative minds,” says Malachai. “While undergoing the short course, I was tasked to lead a team to develop the Teachers’ STEM Resource Booklet for Grades 9-12. I worked to develop a STEM Education Framework, assisted in designing the Standard Based Curriculum to incorporate STEM concepts, and was invited to participate in reviewing the STEM education syllabuses for the National Schools of Excellence.”

To incorporate some of his innovative ideas, Malachai went on to develop a website, aimed at making STEM education resources readily available. This was part of his short course’s work-based project to review delivery and implementation of education programs through media and information and communications technology.

Malachai providing STEM education training to teachers in NCD, February 2021

“I hope the access to information through my website will contribute to all stakeholders educating the current and future generations to be STEM literate so they can be competitive in the global economy, be real-world problem solvers and innovators, and inventors of new technologies.”

Hailing from East New Britain Province, Malachai served the National Department of Education in Port Moresby, for the past 19 years. While studying the short course delivered by the Queensland University of Technology, Malachai was the Director for e-Corporate Services in the e-Learning Division of the department, where his team was responsible for the development and implementation of education curriculums through digital media. Malachai says the short course has had a great impact on his personal and professional development.

Since leaving the education department towards the end of 2021, Malachai has been working hard to develop six STEM resource textbooks intended to support  STEM inclusion in the curriculum.

Malachai providing STEM education training to teachers in East New Britain in December 2020

Malachai admits while STEM education holds considerable promise, it also presents challenges for teachers and curriculum designers to ensure respective disciplines are given adequate coverage and are linked meaningfully and effectively. However, he strongly believes STEM education plays a vital role in development. He hopes his efforts through the website and resource books can contribute to the Government’s STEM agenda implementation in schools across PNG.