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Raising STEM in Malaysian schools: IBM, UPSI scheme

AvantiKumar | March 14, 2016
To help Malaysia achieve its ambitious target of 500,000 science stream graduates by 2020, IBM and UPSI announce a pilot programme.

IBM teachers STEM

Photo- Teachers giving the thumbs up to IBM Teachers Tryscience. In middle and black baju kurung (dress) is Pn Hajah Normah binti Haji Ismail, Deputy Director Inspectorate, Ministry of Education who launched the programme.


Technology solutions giant IBM has partnered with Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) with a pilot program to raise STEM proficiency in Malaysian schools.

The collaboration in the Malaysian state of Perak involves creating lesson plans under the IBM Teachers TryScience initiative, which will be incorporated into the science and mathematics syllabus.

This move is an attempt to help Malaysia achieve its ambitious target of 500,000 science stream graduates by 2020 to provide enough human capital to speed up the country's growth and achieve developed nation status.

"The multi-stakeholder partnership established through the MY Teachers TryScience programme is a proactive step in leveraging on the expertise unique to each stakeholder towards increasing the number of STEM graduates in the country," said Hajah Normah binti Haji Ismail, deputy director Inspectorate, Ministry of Education, speaking at the launch of the MY Teachers TryScience Training of Trainers Workshop where 30 master teachers will undergo professional development in STEM teaching incorporating design-based learning.

This should help shift from the current practice of theoretical and memorised learning to a more practice-based approach, envisioned in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013 - 2025, which has called for ongoing professional development for teachers.

Design-based learning

Associate Prof. Dato' Dr. Tan Wee Hoe, director, UPSI Education Research Laboratory, said UPSI will steer the pilot programme in collaboration with IBM and focus on science and mathematics at the lower secondary level. An estimated 15,000 students from 300 schools will benefit from the programme.

"We have developed training modules, teaching plans and aids for teachers to conduct hands-on learning activities that are aligned to the national curriculum," said Dr Tan. "Through close collaboration with the Perak State Education Department, 30 selected teachers from each district will be empowered as master teachers to mentor and upskill 300 science teachers across the state of Perak."

Chong Chye Neo, managing director, IBM Malaysia, said: "This programme is part of IBM's commitment to upskill teachers in the country to prepare them for the cognitive era, and provide tools and resources to spark students' interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). We hope to inspire and nurture the development of applications on the cloud."

Chong said that this phase of the programme would help to assess the feasibility of a larger scale programme implementation for teachers across the country.

The free MY Teachers TryScience has been based on IBM Teachers TryScience, an online resource of 150 lesson plans, for teachers to create and customise hands-on learning materials. Each plan includes a hands-on experiential project to drive the points home.


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