Learning about life sciences

THERE is no better way to get schoolchildren to love science than through hands-on exposure. Primary school pupils from SK Bukit Lanjan, an Orang Asli school in Damansara Perdana became the first recipients of a programme to promote a love of life sciences amongst Malaysian children.  

Open to pupils from Year 4 to 6, the programme, entitled “Promoting the field of Sciences among the young for a better tomorrow”, was launched by Prof Dr Juli Edo, from the Anthropology and Sociology Department at Universiti Malaya who was the first Orang Asli to be appointed a professor. 

The workshop programme, sponsored by TH Group Bhd, encompasses basic forensic science elements to give students a better understanding and appreciation of life sciences through hands-on experiments and analysis.  

Life sciences refer to the scientific study of the living world as a whole and includes a combination of various disciplines including biology, biosciences, biochemistry, genetics and biotechnology. 

“At TH Group, we believe in the importance of cultivating an interest in science, particularly amongst schoolchildren and to instil an appreciation of nature and the living world,” said group general manager Angie Ang,  

Speaking at the launch, Prof Edo said that there was a need for Orang Asli children to increase their education on subjects relevant to today’s society.  

“Our world has broadened from the days when I was a child. Nature’s resources are slowly dwindling, and so to is our former way of life. It is therefore imperative for us to evolve with the times and increase our education on those areas relevant to today’s society. Science and technology are two areas with global relevance, and it is important that the Orang Asli community embrace and learn what we can about the relation between nature and humans,” said Prof Juli. 

The workshop programme, which also included human DNA analysis and crime scene investigation examination, was jointly designed by TH Group and life science specialists from Amdon Malaysia, a group which seeks to bring life science experiences to the classroom. 

Fifty students from the school actively participated in the half-day workshop which had them receiving information on genetic transformation and engineering and the correlation between the natural world and humans.  

Students were also challenged in a role-playing session in which they were asked to act out the different roles in real-life case scenarios, and analyse the scientific evidence available using biotechnological methods, such as DNA fingerprinting and rapid molecular diagnosis.  

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