More STEM Activities To Help Nation Achieve Developed Status By 2020

By Saiful Bahri Kamaruddin
Pix Ikhwan Hashim

BANGI, 4 June 2015 – Organising various programmes related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in schools would hopefully increase the number of students in STEM fields to the ratio of 60:40 by 2020 as targeted by the government.

The National University of Malaysia’s (UKM) Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Prof. Datuk Dr. Mazlin Mokhtar said the present ratio of students studying in STEM fields is 33:67 which is not enough to produce enough skilled workers in order for Malaysia to achieve developed nation status by 2020.

As a result, the various efforts implemented to foster students’ interest in STEM in schools such as camps and science-related competitions are suitable initiatives towards achieving that goal, he said when closing the Exxon Mobil-UKM STEM Exploration Journey Camp on Sustainable Energy here today.

“To be a developed country, we need 60 percent of students in STEM fields because these areas will help boost the economy, such as through innovation in engineering and science, including the environment,” he explained.

Prof Mazlin also announced that ExxonMobil had donated RM329,000 to sustainable energy development as part of plans to reduce the carbon footprint by 40 percent by the year 2020.

Also present at the closing ceremony were the Director of Industrial Relations, Ministry of Education, Prof. Prof. Dr. Arham Abdullah and Vice President of ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Malaysia Inc. (EMEPMI) and Finance Director of ExxonMobil Subsidiaries in Malaysia, Ernest Miller.

Miller, in his closing remarks, said science is one of the subjects that encompasses everything in life. It helps students to be curious, ask questions, and make connections as to why the world exists as it does.

“Those in STEM are in a way helping solve problems not just for today but for the future. For instance, they are working towards finding solutions for climate change and global warming, disappearing habitats, cancer and other diseases,” said Miller.

He explained that regardless of what their career choices were, the company strongly believed that young people needed a “solid understanding” of STEM in order to progress with the ever-changing technology both at the local and international workplace.

“We believe that STEM forms the cornerstone of any country’s socio-economic progress.

“This is particularly true at ExxonMobil, as we depend on technology and innovation to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our business.

“We require engineers and scientists to discover new fuel sources, manage energy resources more efficiently and provide the energy that the world needs,” he said.

He said by investing in STEM, the company was investing in the future of the youth.

The Sustainable Energy Exploration Camp Program is a joint effort between UKM and ExxonMobil Malaysia, as part of the Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council (GSIAC) in UNESCO.

In the camp youths are given assignments to create projects that express their ideas about energy efficiency.