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Winning schools announce big STEM plans

More than 400 schools, including primary, intermediate and secondary schools from Northland to Southland applied for funding from the $50,000 Genesis School-gen Trust.

Six schools will receive STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) equipment packages and one school a solar equipment package from its initial pool of $50,000.

The Trust is a new charity that provides schools with solar, science, technology, engineering and math equipment to help rangatahi (young people) solve real-world problems.

The first school recipients were selected based on their desire to shift students from being consumers of technology to creators, the potential to involve the wider community in the learning journey and the intention to engage students in real-world problem solving.

In alphabetical order, the schools are:

  • Bradford School, Otago
  • Corinna School, Wellington
  • Manurewa South, Auckland
  • Maungatapu School, Bay of Plenty
  • Otamatea High School, Northland (solar)
  • Pukenui School (Houhora), Northland
  • Tamatea High School, Hawkes Bay

Otamatea High School will use its solar equipment package in conjunction with the Genesis School-gen educational resources and integrate the learnings across as many subject areas as possible.

Equipment provided to the other six schools includes electronic devices such as laptops, Chrome books and iPads as well as coding and robotics equipment. Science equipment packs cover chemistry, physics and biology.

Genesis School-gen Trust Chair, Lee Mauger, said the level of interest in the Trust far exceeded expectations. “We knew some schools needed support for their science, technology, engineering and math teaching plans, which is why we set up the Genesis School-gen Trust. However, we were overwhelmed by the number of schools demonstrating real and pressing needs.

“We are delighted to have started to address this by helping seven schools in this first round of funding, and would like to recognise Genesis’ ongoing support, which will allow us to open another round of funding applications on 1 July 2019.”

The Genesis School-gen Trustees, including education, IT and energy-generation experts, determined which schools receive equipment packages.

Genesis contributed $50,000 towards the first funding round and from August, will be inviting customers to donate to the charity by adding a small amount to their monthly energy bill. In addition, Genesis covers all administration costs so that 100% of donations go to schools for equipment. 

Genesis CEO Marc England says that by enabling young New Zealanders to access classroom equipment and solar panels the Trust is ensuring more school-aged students have opportunities to examine and find solutions for real-world problems.

“This programme will eventually benefit all of us,” says Marc. “It’s not just for Kiwi kids today, but for the future of work that they’ll help make a reality. Increasingly, science, maths, engineering and technology skills are in demand and as an organisation that relies on these skills, we know how vital they are to our future.

“The same is true across New Zealand if we are to manage through the increased level of automation coming into the workplace, sometimes known as the 4th industrial revolution, our children will need the skills to adapt to jobs that don’t exist today. STEM skills will make a difference to all our futures.”

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