Brigid Freeman, Simon Marginson and Russell Tytler

Abstract

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and research are increasingly recognized globally as fundamental to national development and productivity, economic competitiveness and societal wellbeing. There has been a global turn to STEM that is clearly evident in government efforts worldwide to elaborate STEM policy governing school science and mathematics, and tertiary level education and research in the STEM disciplines. This shift is also reflected in emerging research priorities that are most frequently conceived in STEM terms, underpinned by commitments to internationalization and multidisciplinarity. This chapter explores STEM policies and programs from an international perspective extending from the Anglosphere, East Asia, Western Europe and Latin America to the Middle East. We identify discernible trends and parallels regarding government STEM policy and structural responses, school and tertiary level STEM education participation, comparative performance measured by international assessments such as PISA and TIMMS, STEM research and innovation, and issues concerning gender and under-represented groups. The chapter examines various programs and solutions including school-level curriculum and pedagogy reform to enhance science and mathematics participation and performance, teaching-related initiatives, and strategies at the tertiary-level to redress current systemic disparities.