Science numbers are growing at Otahuhu College, with more students also going on to degree level study at University. In 2016 Education Counts data show that more Pacific Island students from Otahuhu College were going on to degree level study than any other coeducational school in Auckland.
The increase in Science numbers can be put down in part to the most modern science labs in the country, but most importantly to a change in approach to the teaching of junior Science. The junior science programme aims to provide Otahuhu students with as many ‘hands on’ activities as possible. Science at Otahuhu College is about having fun, engaging with new ideas and learning how to work with other students to explore the world. In the Year 10 ‘Forces and Motion’ topic, students have been building roller coasters from foam tubes and calculating the average speed of their marbles along the track. Soon they will be looking at making lava lamps and building rockets to launch on the lower field. In Year 9, students are going to investigating the properties of dry ice with a range of exciting practicals and learning all about the differences between solids, liquids and gases. These activities all lead on to a high performing rigorous academic programme in the senior school and future degree level study.
There is a well-publicised skill shortage in New Zealand. The supply of jobs is exceeding the number of qualified professionals to fill them. Science and Technology is already influencing every single career out there. Some areas–computer science, engineering, environmental science, and medicine–are already experiencing serious shortages. Meanwhile, there is the issue of equality, our community needs to have a growing number of young people successfully completing degree level study at University.
Pasifica students, students from low socio economic communities are underrepresented both at University and in Science related professions, the work being done at Otahuhu College is helping to address this historical inequity.