Declining interest in STEM subjects among Sabah students worrying, says Hajiji

Hajiji (red batik) presenting an award to a recipient at the Sabah Science Award Ceremony 2023 in Kota Kinabalu on Friday (June 23).

KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor is concerned about the disinterest among students on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in Sabah.

The Chief Minister said the decline had seen only 27% of secondary students in the state being involved in STEM courses this year.

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"This is still far from our target of achieving 60% of students in the science stream and 40% in the literature stream," he said, when speaking at the Sabah Science Awards Ceremony here on Friday (June 23).

As such, he wanted the state Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, together with the Sabah Education Department, as well as related agencies to come up with an action plan.

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This plan was crucial, Hajiji said, in order to meet the state’s target of having at least 40% of students enrolling in the science stream in two years’ time.

"This is because the rate of student involvement in the STEM fields, especially pure science, is decreasing and this is worrying.

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"We want to provide highly skilled human capital in the technical, science and technology fields to meet future employment needs.

"I hope the ministry, the Sabah Education Department and other related agencies can churn out an integrated action plan to achieve the 40% target by 2025," he said.

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Hajiji said the ministry has drafted a Strategic Plan (2022-2025) as a guide in the implementation of various programmes and initiatives to empower the STIE, or science, technology, innovation and economy ecosystem in Sabah.

"At the same time, the Sabah Education Department also drew up the STEM Strategic Plan 2023-2025 which includes STEM programmes that involve teachers, students, school administrators and parents.

"As we all know, the young generation is the next layer of the country who need to be given attention to ensure sufficient and highly skilled human capital to drive the development of the state and the nation," he added.

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