KUALA LUMPUR: The government is aiming for 60% of students to opt for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in the future in order to produce more workers in technical professions, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
This is in keeping up with global developments, especially the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0), which is demanding a technical workforce equipped with the latest skills, he said.
Nations such as Japan, the United States and Germany emphasised STEM learning and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as the main agenda of their education system, he said.
“We are also not behind in ensuring that STEM and TVET is being prioritised.
“The latest statistics showed that 44% of students in Malaysia made STEM their choice. The government has targeted for this percentage to be increased to 60% in the future.
“History has shown that this nation successfully managed to change from a country dependent on agriculture to one that is centred on the industries sector.
“The main contributor to this success is the technical profession, ” he said in a recorded video speech aired at the inaugural National Technical Profession Day celebration here yesterday.
Dr Mahathir added that in advanced nations, the technical professions greatly contributed to nation building.
As an example, he said, seven out of 10 of the biggest firms in Germany were based on the technical sector such as information and communications technology, telecommunications and automotive.
He said Malaysia had to work more aggressively to raise the technical professions in this country to a higher level to meet the challenges of IR 4.0.
“In line with it (IR 4.0), we have to ensure that our technical workers are equipped with the latest skills, upgraded and upscaled based on the technological developments and future industry needs.
“This effort will ensure that dependency on foreign workers in the technical sector can be controlled and reduced, ” he said.
Dr Mahathir also praised the expertise of the Malaysian workforce, saying that those working overseas had been acknowledged as having high knowledge in their respective fields, especially in the technical professions.
“This was proven through the success of Petronas, which is now operating all over the world with staff who have mastered knowledge and expertise in the technical field of the oil and gas industry, ” he said.
Earlier, Works Minister Baru Bian said one of the important elements to make the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 a success was the country’s ability to produce technical professions in various disciplines.
“A country cannot succeed without a workforce that is competitive, skilled and equipped with the latest abilities, ” he said in his speech.
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