Najib: Expose children to STEM right from pre-school

TANJUNG MALIM: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak (pix) today advised educators and parents to expose children right from pre-school to careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

He said many children harboured the perception that these were difficult subjects and less interesting to delve into.

"Overall, our students are poor performers in science and mathematics, going by comparative studies on achievement in the two disciplines at the international level," he said when launching a camp in the four subjects for 200 children of Felda settlers at the Felda Mara Junior Science College, Tun Abdul Razak Campus, in Trolak near here.

The camp is aimed at raising awareness in the 200 students of Forms One to Three at 10 Felda regions in the peninsula on science, technology, engineering and mathematics and foster in them the drive for creativity and innovativeness.

It is an initiative under the Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council (GSIAC) chaired by Najib through the Human Capacity Building and Cradle to Career (C2C) programme.

Najib said all quarters, among them parents, teachers and lecturers, had a role to play in kindling students' interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"The comparative studies indicate to us that our students have much more room to cover in these disciplines. In short, more attention must be given to this," he said.

Najib also said that a laboratory in the four subjects would be set up at the Felda Mara Junior Science College as a centre for activity, reference and teacher training in the four fields.

This laboratory would be extended to every Felda region with the establishment of a model laboratory in secondary schools in Felda schemes, which would be determined by the Felda Education Department beginning next year, he said.

"The various initiatives and incentives to be implemented are aimed at raising the awareness and interest of students in Felda schemes in these subjects.

"... the most special thing will be to send 10 outstanding students from among the participants of the camp to the STEM International Carnival in New York when it is organised later," he said.

Najib urged the public and private sectors to get involved to make a success of the camp, and expressed the hope that Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Felda would carry on with their noble efforts.

"Such efforts would enable us to bring forth a progressive and innovative succession of Malaysians who are not mere users of technology, but turn out to be creators, innovators and, eventually, entrepreneurs whom we are proud of," he said.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Razali Ibrahim and Felda chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad were also present at the event. – Bernama

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