Use of technology vital for better grasp of STEM subjects – CM

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KUCHING – The use of technology must be given a strong emphasis in the teaching and learning of STEM subjects in Sarawak schools in order for the state to be able to create a solid foundation in science and technology, the Chief Minister said in his address to the people in SMK Temenggong Oyong Lawai Jau at Long San in Upper Baram yesterday.

Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg made a flying visit to Long San to launch a tuition programme that was initiated by the Temenggong Dato Lawai Jau (TDLJ) Education Trust Fund after launching the biennial Baram Regatta in Marudi earlier in the day.

The Chief Minister pointed out that computer and Internet technologies had become the primary aid in the study of STEM subjects in schools which Sarawak education system should capitalise on.

He expressed happiness that students at the school were provided with tablets to help them in their studies and that the students had shown signs of improvement in their grasp of science and mathematics.

He said students needed to do well in science and mathematics as these subjects were the foundation to Internet and computer technologies upon which Sarawak’s future hinged on.

Citing mathematics, he told the people that the subject was vital for understanding algorithm which is the basis of computer languages.

He pointed out Sarawak needed to leapfrog its economy from its present semi-mechanised to one that would fully employ digital technology.

“We cannot depend on incremental development as this will never bring us to Industry 4.0,” he said.

He expressed gratitude to the two volunteers who had close connection with the Silicon Valley in California for helping out to bring the tuition programme to the 600 odd students at the school.

He said all that would be needed was for the school to have a 24-hour supply of electricity and good Internet connection in order for the students to have full access to Internet services in the remote Kenyah settlement.

He said he had instructed Miri Resident to study how a mini-hydro power plant at the village be redeveloped and combined with solar energy to produce a 24-hour hybrid power supply.

He reiterated that the government would also study how an Internet balloon technology could be used to provide strong and reliable Internet connectivity to the area.

“If successful here we would template the model in other rural areas of Sarawak where Internet connectivity is problematic because of the mountainous terrain,” he said.

He also reiterated that the State Government through Sarawak Foundation would be allocating RM100 million to Sarawakians to pursue studies at the Masters and PhD levels in 23 courses that had never been offered previously and vital to the digitisation of Sarawak’s economy.

These courses included genetics, cell structure, cloud computing, data analytics, bioprocess engineering, cybersecurity and sensors and actuators.

He expressed gratitude to the children of Datuk Temenggong Oyong Lawai Jau who had taken steps to start a programme to assist students to do well in their studies at the school that is named after the Orang Ulu paramount chief that took part in the negotiations leading to the formation of Malaysia in 1963. –