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Ministry: STEM transformation plan to be completed soon


KUALA LUMPUR: The National Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Transformation Plan 2017-2025 is expected to be completed by this year or early next year.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan said it will focus on eight core areas: policy, teaching and learning, facilities, career awareness programmes, strategic partnerships, research and data, commercialisation and innovation.

“The plan is being drafted by the (Education) Ministry together with the Higher Education Ministy and Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry,” he said at the launch of the second Pintar Mobile Learning Unit yesterday.

A special committee drawn from those ministries is tasked with drafting a holistic and inclusive plan.

Kamalanathan said it is meant to address the declining number of students joining the science stream and taking up STEM courses for their tertiary education.

He added that the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 also includes strategies to strengthen STEM education in order to produce more experts in the fields.

These initiatives, he said, take into account the 2014 report on the strategy to achieve a 60:40 ratio of science and technical stream students to arts students.

Ministry data from 2014, Kamalanathan said, shows the reverse is the reality, with only 47% of students opting for the science stream.

This in turn led to greater competition among arts students to get into university while science students have more chances of getting in, he added.

There is a 60:40 ratio of science to arts courses in universities.

“STEM education cannot stand on its own as a separate discipline but must be integrated into the real world,” Kamalanathan said.

He added that “active learning” should take place in classrooms in order to attract students to STEM studies.

“Active learning places importance on creative ideas and higher-order thinking skills,” he said.

On another matter, Kamalanathan said the ministry will wait for the police to complete their investigation into allegations that an eight-year-old girl was caned until she bled in Alor Gajah on June 22.

The mother lodged a police report on Tuesday against the headmistress of the vernacular school.

“The State Education Department is also conducting an internal investigation but we will not be able to release the report until the police have completed theirs,” he said.

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