Company renews support for STEM initiatives

EXXONMOBIL is renewing its support for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiatives in Malaysia with a RM250,000 contribution to the 2017 National Science Challenge, as well as sponsoring RM120,000 for the Malaysian delegation competing in this year’s International Mathematical Olympiad held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

During the cheque presentation ceremony recently, ExxonMobil Subsidiaries in Malaysia chairman Edward Graham said: “In the energy industry where demand continues to increase, STEM experts are highly sought after to create solutions for tomorrow.

“By participating in programmes such as the National Science Challenge and the International Mathematical Olympiad, we are able to give students a chance to gain additional exposure and experience that extends beyond the classroom environment.

“This allows students amazing opportunities to further enrich their STEM knowledge and to also develop soft skills, which are useful when interacting with others and working in groups,” he added.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk P Kamalanathan said problem-solving skills, the ability to gather and evaluate evidence, and making use of information can be learnt through STEM education.

“STEM education is widely acknowledged as a need for a nation to be successful in today’s highly competitive and globalised digital economy,” he added.

Unfortunately, he added, according to the ministry’s data in 2014, only 46.7% of students are opting for the science stream at the secondary and tertiary school levels.

This is the reverse of the target to have a 60:40 ratio of science and technical stream students to arts students.

He said it is “too late” to be promoting STEM in secondary schools as students start narrowing down their interests while in primary school.

Kamalanathan said that by using fun learning methods, teachers can draw primary school pupils to the sciences.

To encourage more students to take up the challenge and participate in STEM competitions or at least spark an interest in the sciences, National Science Challenge Steering Committee chairman and Academy of Sciences Malaysia fellow Prof Dr Yang Farina Abdul Aziz said teachers need to be just as excited and enthusiastic about STEM in the classroom

This year marks the 28th edition of the National Science Challenge, organised by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia under the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry.

By REBECCA RAJAENDRAM
Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/07/23/company-renews-support-for-stem-initiatives/#czcKWCZ0GowihGB0.99

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