KUALA LUMPUR: An interest in science should be instilled in children while they are still young, says Education Minister II Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.
“Parents can be involved with their children in the Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning process by taking them to science exhibitions,” he said.
Idris said there really needed to be an increase in the number of science students in the country as Stem studies were fundamental to a nation whose economy was based on knowledge and innovation.
“If we look at developed countries, like the United States, Germany, South Korea and Japan, many of the people had basics in Stem as they had been exposed to science since young,” he told reporters after opening the Kuala Lumpur Science Fair (KLSEF) 2014 at the National Science Centre (NSC) here yesterday.
Idris lamented that only 37% of students in the country had elected to enter the science stream, a figure far below the Government’s target of a 60:40 ratio in the Technical Science and Literature Policy.
“The effort to increase the number of science stream students needs the cooperation of parents, the community and the private sector.
“At present, the role of the teacher is to teach in the classroom and ensure knowledge is transferred to the students.
“But what is more effective is the students learning by themselves in school and the teacher’s role is only as a facilitator to ensure a smooth learning process,” Idris said.
Present at the event were science advisor to the Prime Minister Prof Emeritus Datuk Seri Zakri Abdul Hamid, Asean Academy of Engineering and Technology (AAET) president Datuk Hong Lee Pee, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) president Prof Datuk Chuah Hean Teik and NSC director Assoc Prof Dr Irmawati Ramli.
The three-day science fair that ends today is jointly organised by AAET, Utar, the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology, the Institution of Engineering Malaysia, and the NSC. Admission is free.
The organisers expect more than 10,000 visitors, mainly school students to the fair, which features award-winning Stem projects by students, engineering science projects, industry exhibitors and quizzes. — Bernama