Study camp: Najib launching the Bitara STEM Felda-UKM camp at MRSM Felda Trolak near Sungkai, Perak.
SUNGKAI: The country is still lagging behind in good results for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Emphasising the importance of acquiring knowledge in STEM, he said concerted efforts were needed to move forward in the field.
He said the Education Ministry had acknowledged this fact when assessing students through various methods and surveys.
Najib said most students not only had the perception that the subjects were tough, but felt that these were not interesting enough for them to pursue further.
Such a perception, attitude and low motivation are reasons why students do not pursue the subjects at a higher level, let alone find a career related to STEM.
“This is serious, as we have to compete with many other countries in the 21st century. Efforts by all parties must be taken to ensure we have more graduates in these fields,” he said in his speech after launching the Bitara STEM Felda-UKM camp at MRSM Felda Trolak near here yesterday.
Najib said that at present, 60% of students were in the Arts field and 40% in the field of STEM, “when it should be the other way around”.
The five-day camp involved 200 Form One to Form Three students, all of whom are children of Felda settlers, with 70 undergraduates from UKM as facilitators and 20 lecturers as mentors.
The camp is an initiative under the Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council, which is chaired by the premier himself.
Najib said that in the Programme for International Student Assessment 2012, Malaysia ranked in the bottom third of the survey.
For the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) test, Malaysia ranked 26 out of 42 countries and almost 38% of students aged 14 failed to score the minimum marks for Mathematics and Science, he said.
“Such surveys are signs that our students need to beef up in STEM subjects.
“Everyone has an equal role to play in encouraging students to have an interest in such subjects.”
Najib also announced the setting up of a STEM lab at MRSM Felda Trolak.
He said STEM labs would also be expanded at all Felda districts beginning next year.