Photo - (From left) Jason McKenna, Director of Global Educational Strategy of Robomatter, Incorporated; Yeoh Cheng Poh, CEO of CM Asia Learning; and Pang Chong Leong, Advisor of Kesatuan Kebangsaan Guru-Guru Besar Malaysia (KKGGBM) speaking of the impact and benefits of STEM education.
In a bid to transform the traditional classroom format used to teach STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in Malaysian national schools, local K-12 education technology provider Eduspec Holdings has formed a partnership with Robomatter and iCarnegie Global Learning to present a cutting edge STEM teaching methodology, called STEM CS.
During the launch event in Kuala Lumpur, Educspec Holdings' chief executive officer E H Lim said the STEM CS program was developed by iCarnegie Global Learning and Robomatter based on the resources provided by Carnegie Mellon, which was recognised and ranked as the No. 1 Computer Science School in the United States of America.
The program, which will complement the national curriculum, will cover Computer Science and Coding by providing a whole classroom package with plenty of activities for students and also include resources for teachers, said Lim.
STEM CS has been specially designed to teach students computer programming to solve real world problems by getting them to learn by doing, he said. "This immerses them in the problem-solving process as well as help develop 21st century skills such as teamwork and creativity all in a fun and stimulating environment."
"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," said Lim.
Critical thinking skills
"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," he said,
Lim also announced that in collaboration with CM Asia Learning, Eduspec will also simultaneously introduce STEM CS to other ASEAN countries: Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, and two North Asia countries. "Schools in South Korea and Taiwan have already signed up for this program."
He added that STEM CS was in line with the government's initiative to encourage more students to pursue STEM-related career. The National Education Blueprint has highlighted the need to promote and strengthen STEM education in schools in order to increase the number of students who will pursue STEM related fields to 60 percent and in turn help boost the country's economy.
Speaking during a panel discussion at the launch, Jason McKenna, director of Global Education Strategy for Robomatter said students to start the program as young as possible. "Growing up in a digital world, these subjects 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."
"This is because there is a need for digital skills in the workforce. How much more will it be needed in the future when the current work field is already demanding for critical and analytical thinking that is developed from studying STEM subjects that is not limited to just coding and computer science," said McKenna. "All parents and educators should consider pushing for STEM CS to be implemented at all schools."
Educators and parents who are interested and need more information on the STEM CS program can refer to CM Asia Learning's website at cmasialearning.com.
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