Cultivating early interest in STEM crucial to meeting demands of IR4.0, says Manyin

Manyin (centre) in a press conference after the symposium. With him are Anis (second left) and others.

By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Nov 11: To meet the demands of Industrial Revolution (IR) 4.0, the state has to start developing its human capital resources now by teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to students in their formative years.

Thus, Sarawak is making a serious effort to teach STEM subjects to achieve 60 per cent of its student entering pure science classes after PT3 (Pentaksiran Tingkatan Tiga).

Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research, Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong said that this effort is not only to achieve the national target set through the Ministry of Education but also to prepare Sarawak and the country to have sufficient human capital to face the challenges of IR4.0.

“Unfortunately for Sarawak, we only have 23.4 per cent of our students entering pure science classes after their PT3 exams.

“This target is far below the national target,” he lamented.

Manyin said this at a press conference after he officially closed the 2019 Sarawak Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Symposium (SaSTEMS) here today.

The minister is optimistic that IR4.0 will create plenty of jobs in the future but these jobs are different as they require different skills and knowledge.

“My ministry believes that we have to strengthen STEM from Primary One. Once they have the interest in the formative years (Primary 1 to Primary 6), the interest will be inculcated after they enter Form 1. This will make it easier for their secondary school teachers,” he opined.

Manyin suggested that if his ministry could start off by ensuring all primary schools in Sarawak are equipped with computer facilities, then the students’ futures are bright and they will be employable as they have the skills and knowledge for jobs created under IR 4.0.

Meanwhile, the symposium’s organising chairperson and Institute of Teacher Education director for the Tun Abdul Razak Campus, Kota Samarahan, Anis Alisya Abdullah said that the focus of the symposium is to update participants from the teaching fraternity with the latest on STEM education in Malaysia and its directions.

“The symposium is to address issues and concern of classroom realities.

“Some of these include schools might not have access to resources to teach STEM and the symposium is to help in how these teachers can bring back teaching strategies to their schools to teach STEM subjects and to make learning more fun,” she said.

The theme of the symposium is “STEM Literacy towards IR4.0’ and was attended by over 230 teachers, mainly from rural and sub-urban schools throughout Sarawak.

Permanent Secretary to the Minister of Education, Science, Technological Research Sarawak Datu William Patrick Nyigor was also present. — DayakDaily