PETALING JAYA: An educationist has called for the establishment of an independent body to monitor the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in schools.
President of the Association of Science Technology and Innovation (Asti) Yunus Yasin said such a body was necessary to ensure Form 3 students are subjected to high standards in STEM subjects.
He was commenting on an increase of almost five per cent in the enrolment of students in the STEM stream – going from 40.95% in 2021 to 45.73% this year.
“The question is how was the increase achieved? There are two ways to get an ‘A’. You either study hard or the standards for an ‘A’ are reduced.
“Streaming (through standardised assessments) is no longer done. PT3 was abolished a few years since. So, how was this increase achieved? It’ll be good to have an independent body checking on this,” Yunus told FMT.
Yunus said it is important to maintain the quality of STEM subjects taught in schools as the field is vital for the country’s development.
“For a country to progress, you need to have a strong grounding in science and maths, because technology drives everyday life.
“From the production of the food you eat to the fertiliser used (for farming), it is all technology-driven. All this requires technology and people that can create, build and manage technology,” he told FMT.
Former Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar said STEM students will be able to contribute to advancements in fields such as robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and renewable energy.
“STEM also plays a vital role in addressing global challenges such as climate change, healthcare, food security and sustainable development,” she told FMT.
She said the government should build on the increased enrolment by providing more training and resources for teachers to integrate technology into their STEM lessons.
“The ministry can also facilitate partnerships between teachers and professionals working in STEM fields. This can involve inviting guest speakers, organising field trips to STEM-related workplaces, and arranging for professionals to mentor students directly.”