KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The percentage of students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) needs to be increased to 60% to ensure the country has an adequate supply of talent pool in STEM, says Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.

Citing the Education Ministry’s 2020 Annual Report, the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister said the percentage of students in STEM was 47.18% with 20.51% involving Pure Science, while the remaining 26.67% was for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

“The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti) is concerned about the percentage of students in STEM because the STEM talent will be the catalyst for the development of a country.

“Today, all countries are racing to produce new science and technology that is sustainable, affordable and safe in line with the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations which is to be achieved by 2030,” he said when speaking at the finals of the National Science Challenge (NSC) 2021 for the YAB Prime Minister’s Challenge trophy which was held virtually on Saturday (Oct 9).

He said the vision could be achieved by making Science and Technology part of our culture, and the government, through various agencies, always committed to helping to develop a progressive society that supports science and technology.

“STEM subjects need to be further strengthened at all levels to attract students to deepen their knowledge,” he said.

Dr Adham called on institutions of higher learning and schools to collaborate with Mosti through its agencies to strengthen the country’s STEM talent thus creating science and technology-based careers in the future.

Apart from that, he said STEM teaching and learning could be divided into two categories, namely formal learning in schools and informal learning through co-curricular activities or participation in programmes organised by related institutions and organisations such as the National Science Challenge.

He said the involvement of students in such programmes would encourage them to explore the fields of science, technology and innovation and further hone their talents to be more creative and innovative in line with the skills needed in the 21st century.

“I am confident that with this kind of exposure, students will gain more skills and give a positive perception to other students to pay more attention and participate in STEM as a future option,” he added.

Meanwhile, Saad Melaka Foundation College was named the winner of the NSC 2021, with the second place won by Sam Tet National Type Secondary School, Perak, and third place went to Jit Sin National Type Secondary School. – Bernama

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