THE establishment of Malaysia’s first National Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Centre will address the nation’s STEM issue.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Madius Tangau said the centre is part of
the STEM Action plan which is being drafted jointly by the Ministries of Science, Technology and Innovation, Education and Higher Education.
The centre will be established to address the lack of interest on STEM education in the country, which is strongly associated with how science and mathematics is taught in schools.
The centre will complement the Education Ministry’s existing training structure for teachers’ continuous professional development (CPD). It will focus on training for STEM teachers, and support STEM teaching and learning.
Recalling his visit last year to the United Kingdom’s STEM Learning Centre and Network, Madius believes that the model of the UK centre is a good reference for developing Malaysia’s very own.
“The centre in the UK was established specifically for teachers’ CPD training. It is well-equipped
with facilities, and supported by an independent governance structure to ensure its sustainability,” he said at the closing of the Workshop on the Establishment of the National STEM Centre held at the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM), and co-organised with British Council Malaysia.
The three-day workshop was the first step towards the establishment of Malaysia’s own National STEM Centre.
Experts from the UK STEM Learning Centre shared their experiences and expertise in the workshop.The minister also noted the importance of inquiry-based science education (IBSE) as the way forward in teaching and learning of science and mathematics.
ASM conducted a pilot study for IBSE in 2012 and 2013, testing four primary schools in Hulu Langat which showed IBSE students performed better in UPSR 2014 compared to non-IBSE students.
“To ensure the teachers could deliver effectively, 60 hours mandatory training was required. “Establishing the National STEM Centre is essential for equipping teachers with appropriate and continuous training in IBSE,” he said.
He added that the STEM Action Plan is at its final stage and is scheduled to be presented at the National Science Council meeting in May.