Scitech’s Aboriginal Education Program (AEP) has been internationally recognised at the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) awards in Columbus, Ohio for its unique education delivery to students and teachers.
The Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards are presented annually to ASTC members in recognition of extraordinary accomplishments that not only enhance the performance of the institutions, but also significantly advance the mission of science-technology centres and museums.
Scitech’s AEP beat 12 other international entries to win the Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience (large centre) in recognition for its delivery of science outreach to the most remote communities of Western Australia.
In accepting the award, Scitech CEO, Alan Brien said: “Not only is this prestigious award international recognition of the hard work our staff do in delivering this important program, but it also acknowledges the vital financial support we receive from the WA Government, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Woodside, without whom we could not have developed and delivered such a program.”
Scitech developed the AEP as there was a clear need for more culturally-relevant science programs, but a lack of resources was preventing them from serving the specific needs of the remote Indigenous Aboriginal communities.
Since its inception in 2007, the AEP has addressed these challenges of access and equity by visiting every remote community every two years with a comprehensive suite of engaging science activities and resources for children, parents, and teachers that recognise the communities’ unique Aboriginal culture and language.
The AEP was also the focus of a recent study by Edith Cowan University which concluded that the program is having a positive impact on addressing the educational needs of young indigenous students. The research has not only highlighted the value of the AEP in engaging indigenous students and their teachers in science, but also how it encourages indigenous students to use science as a way of thinking to build success in their future lives.