Ajay Madhukar  |  Singapore
Published 2015-10-13 17:16:35

Each day, we witness innovation on both the macro and micro level due to technology but the way we educate students in classrooms hasn’t changed much, especially in Malaysia.

Even though education is a subject that everyone seems to have an opinion on, we still rely on the ancient method of having students learn from a teacher who stands in front of them and simply spews facts (relevant and irrelevant) in front of them without sparking any curiosity or debate.

However, education in developed countries is facing much reform and discourse to transform the traditional classroom from one that’s boring and dull into one that’s more engaging, vibrant and modern. There’s an incredible need to equip present-day students with the relevant skills in STEM fields so that students can meet the demands of continual technological advancements. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

In an effort to inject fresh life into Malaysian schools and education, K-12 education provider Eduspec Holdings Berhad has forged a partnership with Robomatter and iCarnegie Global Learning, and to launch a cutting-edge STEM teaching methodology to national schools while complimenting the national curriculum.

Image Credit: STEM CS
Image Credit: STEM CS

iCarnegie Global Learning and Robomatter are both subsidiaries of Carnegie Mellon University and they developed the program with the moniker STEM CS and it’s going to cover Computer Science and Coding.

E H Lim, CEO of Eduspec Holdings Berhad said, “It’s now the 21st century which means an overhaul has been long overdue for our education landscape. By bringing in STEM CS, we hope to address the gap and bring our education system and our schools up to par with the rest of the developed world.”

“Ultimately STEM is a way of thinking and doing, so STEM CS is meant to change the way how students learn in classes. By learning things hands on, students are also able to develop their critical thinking skills and retain information better. Plus, it makes learning fun which is how it should be in our schools.”

This project is also in line with the government’s initiative to encourage more students to pursue STEM-related careers.

According to The Star, Muhyiddin the Education Minister said, “A strategy comprising a series of actionable plans must be able to support the production rates needed for generating skilled STEM human capital at two levels, namely secondary schools and tertiary institutions, to achieve the target of 500 000 STEM graduates by 2020.”

Image Credit: STEM CS
Image Credit: STEM CS

The National Education Blueprint also has a plan to promote and strengthen STEM education in schools in order to boost the number of students that pursue related fields to 60% that will in turn boost the nation’s economy.

In fact, Malaysia awarded USD300 000 (RM1.1 mil) to the IBE – The Unesco institute specialising in educational content, methods and structures – for an initiative to strengthen STEM for girls in Africa and Asia Pacific.

Jason McKenna, the Director of Global Education Strategy for Robomatter said, “Growing up in a digital world, these students would become important in the future even if students don’t end up in science and tech fields. Even now, job recruiters are more likely to hire candidates with coding experience for art-related jobs such as writing and designing.”

Image Credit: The Star
Image Credit: The Star

This is increasingly going to be the case. Regardless of the sector of industry that you operate in, technology is becoming prevalent and candidates with tech-based skills are able to add more value to the companies that they work with.

A key skill that people tend to acquire when they pick up any programming language is that of  problem solving. The ability to analyse a given situation, identify the requirements of scenario and develop a solution that’s both effective and efficient is invaluable to the individual.

Problem solving is a skill that’s much more important and relevant than any programming language can ever be and the more we invest in teaching our students this precious skill, the better the world would be. Theoretically.

Educators and parents who are interested and would like to know more information on the STEM CS program can refer to CM Asia Learning’s website.

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