THE article “Nurturing interest in STEM” (The Star, May 16) deserves close attention from our new government, which must fine-tune and reform our education system to focus strongly on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses.
STEM education is the critical foundation for building a skilled and innovative society. Achieving our desire to join the league of high-income nations depends critically on a rapid structural transformation of our economy. Our education system must be reformed to support skill-intensive and innovation-led growth. This will help to overcome our current low level of human capital which also suffers from a wide technology skills gap.
Research shows that strong STEM education and skills help students to integrate knowledge across subjects and encourage them to think in a more logical and holistic way. Educators have also found that STEM courses make learning more relevant and interesting as they are based on current and real-world situations. Hence, STEM, and strong computing and technology focus, must be given urgent priority in our education system so that our workforce can develop to be competent digital citizens and future innovators.
Improving proficiency in English is also required. Meritocracy must also be restored in universities and work placements to enhance inclusiveness and encourage the optimal development of high-level skills.
Our current education system is not effectively delivering the required expertise and also failing to retain talent. We can ill afford to allow the brain drain to continue as it erodes our skills base and depresses innovation, elements that are critical to maximising our nation’s progress and development.
SZE LOONG STEVE NGEOW