Permata Pintar Programme Begins To Show Results

01By Asmahanim Amir
Pix Shahiddan Saidi

BANGI, 18 June 2015 – The Permata Pintar Programme, or academy for gifted children at The National University of Malaysia (UKM) has begun to show positive results when more than 90 percent of students who attended the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programme choosing to study fundamental rather than applied science and mathematics.

Petron of Permata Negara who is Prime Minister’s wife, Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor said the students were now studying at various universities in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia.

“This is indicative of their interest in pursuing careers in STEM and in wanting to work with novel or innovative ideas that will produce unique and original outcomes to benefit future generations,” she said when giving her speech at the closing of the first UKM-Kazakhstan STEM Summer Camp 2015, here on June 17, 2015.

In her speech, Rosmah hoped that the UKM-Kazakhstan STEM Summer Camp becomes an annual programme so that both Malaysian and Kazakhstan students would learn how to live like a real global citizens.

She said Permata Pintar has been conducting camps for gifted children aged 8 to 15 years since 2009, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University Centre for Talented Youth.

“We do this because we understand that gifted children require unique educational experiences that challenge their superior abilities.

“If we fail to provide these enriching programmes, particularly in STEM, the outcome is a brain drain to countries that offer these opportunities,” she said.

A total of 51 students accompanied by eight teachers from Nazarbayev Intellectual School from aged 12 to 18 years attended the three week summer camps which started on 31 May.

In the three weeks they were here, the Kazakhstan students experienced Malaysian culture such as learning how to make handicrafts, local traditional dances, visiting the Malaysian craft centre, the Genome research Institute and Kuala Lumpur Twin Towers.

Meanwhile, UKM Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International Affairs), Prof Dato’ Ir Dr Riza Atiq Abdullah OK Rahmat expressed hope that the UKM-Kazakhstan STEM Summer camp will open windows of opportunity to collaborate in educating the talented students from Malaysia and Kazakhstan.

“This work can be in the form of teachers’ training programme, students and academic staff mobility programme, research, publication and many more.  I am sure both countries can learn from each other and this learning will benefit gifted and talented students from both countries,” Prof Riza Atiq explained

He said besides focus on STEM, Pusat Permata Pintar Negara offers the additional curricular on research skills, self-development programme, foreign languages and volunteerism.

“After five years in operation, Permata Pintar students have made Malaysia proud by winning awards in various research fields.

“Our aim is to develop students who are competent to take on the challenges of the 21 century, who have high self-esteem and confidence yet humble enough to appreciate knowledge in all natures and who are not just highly creative but also innovative in their thinking,” he added.