Letters to the Port Stephens Examiner: June 25

NO POINT: Geoff Washington says any scheme which forces students into subject areas which do not match their intellectual capabilities will result in undue mental stress.
NO POINT: Geoff Washington says any scheme which forces students into subject areas which do not match their intellectual capabilities will result in undue mental stress.

Forcing students not the answer

The Morrison Government should hold further consultations with professional educators, parents, and school student representative bodies prior to finalisation of plans to hike Humanities course fees to funnel more enrolments in STEM courses.

Those stakeholders should have valuable insights on the efficacy of the proposal and on the possible negative outcomes.

My experience as an economist, parent, grandparent, former teacher and policy advisor in State and federal governments, suggests that pricing will not be an effective incentive to increase participation in the STEM courses. School students as well as mature age scholars, sensibly base their choice of course on their past academic performance and their personal interests, especially where such choices clearly define a future career path. Any scheme which forces students into subject areas which do not match their intellectual capabilities will result in undue mental stress and for many, poor academic results and costly high failure rates.

Such students, even if they are able to secure a job, are unlikely to emerge as contented and productive workers.

Geoff Washington, Nelson Bay

Rating council's performance

Firstly, I am delighted, and feel assured that the Port Stephens Examiner (PSE) continues to publish as a regional newspaper while so many others stopped press.

There is nothing better than a good read with an independent newspaper in my hands, and not worrying about bad connections to NBN, WiFi or my old computer. Many thanks to the publishers and all concerned.

Secondly, I am disturbed by recent letters to the Editor, that environmentally sensitive sites like the Gan Gan Lookout and the bicycle-path and beach at Fingal Bay, had been degraded by rubbish. And I am equally disturbed by the disrepairs of road surfaces along the Foreshore Drive and in Karuah, despite substantial government funding for black spots. There maybe other 'Rubbish' and 'Roads' cases, which are two of the three 'Rs' of council's responsibilities, gone unreported.

The third 'R' is 'Rates' which most of us pay to council for the betterment of our community, our wellbeing and livelihoods. Perhaps the PSE could conduct an independent survey on the '3Rs' performance?

Really there's no need for a Survey Monkey or any online survey apps, just the question: 'GOOD, BAD or INDIFFERENT' ?

Ernest To, Medowie

Remembering sacrifice in Korea

This month marks 70 years since the beginning of the Korean War, which saw Australian Navy, Army and Air Force personnel fight as part of the United Nations (UN) multinational force, defending South Korea from forces of North Korea and China.

On June 25, 1950, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Army crossed south of the border into the Republic of Korea and captured the capital, Seoul, within days.

In response, then Prime Minister Robert Menzies committed ships of the Royal Australian Navy to the Korean War, which were soon joined by units of the Royal Australian Air Force and the Australian Army. Following three years of fighting an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953, however, Australians remained in Korea for another four years as military observers.

More than 17,000 Australian personnel served in the Korean War and post-Armistice period. Australia suffered some 1,500 casualties, including more than 350 who died and 30 who were taken prisoner. Even today, some 40 Australians are listed as missing in action. More than 150 Australian nursing sisters also served.

I encourage all Australians on June 25 to pause and remember the service and sacrifice of all the brave Australian men and women who served during the Korean War.

Darren Chester, Minister for Veterans' Affairs

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