Amidst a rapidly growing digital industry, the number of students taking Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)’s subjects is dropping yearly. The talent pool continues to shrink despite STEM-related positions being among the top emerging jobs. According to the Star Online, in 2018, only 44% of Malaysian students were in the STEM stream as compared to 48% in 2002 which represents an average reduction around 6000 students each year (article published on Sunday, 17 Mar 2019).
The trend can also be seen at the global level, where the participation rate of proficiency in reading and mathematics is small in percentage.
Therefore there is a need in promoting STEM among students such that the awareness of the importance to have experts in STEM for the future of our country can be delivered effectively, in line with the Education Sustainable Development (ESD) in meeting the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, 2016 – 2030), in Group 4, which is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all whereby it is focused on the holistic person in humanizing education and not the reverse that promotes only human capital as it is today.
As an initiative, Kulliyyah of Engineering, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) supported by Persatuan Santis Muslim Malaysia (PERINTIS) and PERINTIS Youth Club IIUM Chapter (PY) are proposing to organize a national-level STEM competition this coming November 2019, which is at latter planned to be an annual event. The competition is proposed to be in collaboration with Pusat STEM Negara such that the certificates will be signed by the Pusat STEM Negara under the Ministry of Education.
The main objective of the competition is to promote STEM to the younger generation by stimulating fun and creative environment for them to flourish and learn the subject matter. Workshops on coding, website and application development are proposed to be done before the competition. The workshops are conducted to prepare the students for the competition and are made optional. Qualified trainers and trained facilitators will be appointed to conduct the workshops and the competition. The winner of the competition will get awards in the form of a medal, monetary and certificates as well as some company special awards, which will be sponsored by renowned companies.