Photo credit: Leongatha Secondary College - Students use their graphing calculators in a year 12 physics class
Bank Australia customers are supporting school students to reach their full potential in maths and science through an Impact Fund partnership with State Schools Relief.
State Schools Relief helps reduce educational barriers and allow students to participate in education by providing support for uniforms, textbooks and education equipment. They assist families who are experiencing financial disadvantage, or other factors such as family violence or refugee status.
Over the past three years, Bank Australia has partnered with State Schools Relief to support the purchase of graphing calculators for high school students studying advanced maths and science subjects. The cost of the specialised graphing calculators can be a significant barrier for some families, at over $200 per calculator. Their specialised functions help students to draw graphs and solve complex problems involving algebraic modelling.
The calculator program is reducing barriers for disadvantaged students and helping them to develop Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills for future vocational and university education.
State Schools Relief CEO Sue Karzis says the impact of the program has been significant: “During the three year program, we’ve provided 887 students with calculators at 112 schools. The outcomes of the program are fantastic and we are providing assistance which otherwise would not be possible. Our partnership with Bank Australia illustrates how two organisations can join forces to tackle contemporary issues of our time,” said Ms Karzis.
Craig Anderson is the Maths Coordinator at Leongatha Secondary College, which has received 11 calculators through the program. “The calculators have helped level the playing field. Greater access has eased our mind about the cost of education for some families. Now a higher proportion of all year 11 and year 12 maths students will have dedicated access to a latest-version calculator. It also means that these technology skills can be taught at a slightly younger age, so by Year 12 students can be learning new maths skills but with a better technology background in their maths toolkit.”
“It’s encouraging to see students pursuing STEM related study. One of our year 11 calculator recipients has decided to attempt VCE Specialist Maths at Year 11 level via distance education, which is part of a positive thing we are starting to see with more students willing to have a go at the double maths options at VCE level - something we haven't seen at the school for several years.”
Tracey Martin is the Maths Coordinator at Sunbury College and said the 32 calculators they received through the program have been invaluable to their students. “Year 10, 11 and 12 Maths students require a CAS calculator in order to learn the key skills and knowledge that is required to have a successful outcome in their learning – without these calculators most students would end up "failing" or dropping out of maths at VCE."
“As a school we had to sacrifice a quarter of our annual maths budget to buy an additional 20 calculators for students, making it difficult for the school to provide resources in other areas. This means Bank Australia’s partnership with State School Relief helps not only the students receiving the calculators but also the other students, who are able to receive the resources they need.”
Bank Australia has a three year partnership with State School Relief, investing $126,000 from the Bank Australia Impact Fund. Each year Bank Australia invests 4% of after tax profits into the Fund to support programs that will have a positive impact on people and the planet.