Australian news, and some related international items

Australian mining companies get federal funding to promote coal, uranium etc to schoolkids?

Mining industry in promotional push targeting school students, The Age   By Nicole Hasham13 August 2018  

Resources companies including Adani are targeting school students in a campaign to spruik the benefits of mining and recruit future workers, in a strategy some say risks pushing a biased agenda onto young minds.

The programs in primary and high schools include teacher training and free curriculum material, such as a fact sheet on mining and the environment that fails to mention climate change…….. Former Rio Tinto boss Tom Albanese has pointed to an image problem facing the coal industry, reportedly saying in June that “coal is becoming the next tobacco … Who’s gonna join coal as a career?”

The Queensland Resources Council in 2005 created the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy, which last year grew to involve more than 3000 students, some aged as young as 10.

The academy receives $1 million a year in industry funding as well as state government support, and places “students onto pathways into the resources sector and other science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) industries”.

……Programs include students working with industry representatives in engineering and other challenges that replicate steps in the mining process.

Staff from Indian mining giant Adani – proponent of the controversial Carmichael coal mine – this year visited several schools to discuss the industry. Adani told Fairfax Media it was one of 30 sponsors of the academy and no information on the Carmichael project was included in the academy’s educational content.

The academy also runs professional development for teachers including robotics and 3D printing sessions in a resources context…….

The Oresome Resources website, backed by the nation’s peak mining bodies, provides free educational content to teachers across Australia. It includes a fact sheet titled “Mining and the Environment” that covers effects such as habitat destruction and land subsidence, but makes no mention of climate change resulting from burning coal. ……..

Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal near Mackay has been accused of marketing coal to young children through its mascot Hector, a lump of coal with his own Youtube channel who offers advice on topics such as nutrition, bus safety and making new friends.

In NSW, the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue school tours program is offered to all schools in the region. About 1000 students are expected to visit mine sites this year.

NSW Mining has previously offered scholarships to high school students studying mining-related subjects.

Most Victorian schools, as well as state government-run science and mathematics centres, develop partnerships with industry and business such as the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, which supports the Earth Ed science centre near Ballarat.

……Tom Swann, researcher at progressive think-tank the Australia Institute, said industry engagement with education brought risks as well as benefits.

“Think of a school that takes funding or teaching materials from a coal mining company. Is that school also going to teach its children about the need to keep most of the coal in the ground and transition quickly into other forms of energy?” Mr Swann said.

“It is essential … that we do not allow education to become part of a public relations campaign.”….

University of Queensland professor Bob Lingard, who has researched commercialisation in schools, said it was the responsibility of governments, not the mining industry, to promote STEM subjects.

“There is teacher concern … [about] too much potential commercial involvement in schools,” he said.

Industries were “intervening in the curriculum from a particular perspective and that’s why we need to be careful”…….


August 13, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster

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