Prepared by Sathiabama T. Thirugnana and Haslina Md. Sarkan
On 22nd July 2021, Razak Faculty of Technology and Informatics (RFTI) in collaboration with IEEE Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Subsection, had successfully organized a virtual STEM forum with the topic of “STEM Education for Prosperity – by Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. There were 60 participants across UTM academics, IEEE members, students, teachers, parents, and industrial STEM partners. The forum was conducted online via the Webex platform and RFTI FB live streaming.
The opening remarks were given by Prof. Dr. Norliza Mohd Noor, the interim chair for IEEE Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Subsection. While the forum was designed and moderated by Ts. Dr. Sathiabama T. Thirugnana, the Educational Activity Coordinator of IEEE KL Subsection. Focusing on the current status, challenges, creative thinking, and role of the academia such as UTM in STEM education. The forum had shared numerous information and the way forward to promote STEM education.
Dr. Ihsan Ismail, from the Ministry of Education, Malaysia, was invited as a guest speaker to share the “Current status of STEM Education in Malaysia”. He is an icon of STEM education in the country and is the former head of the National STEM Centre. His field is in Mathematics and Data Analysis and he is indeed passionate about teaching pedagogy, Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE), and conducts various workshops for school teachers.
Dr. Poovarasi Balan, a lecturer from Monash University Malaysia, was sharing her experience on “Creative assignment design to promote SDGs in STEM education”. She is from the Department of Chemical Engineering. Her research field includes environment-friendly anti-corrosive coatings for mild steel, biodegradable coatings, and the detection of bio-fouling. She is an enthusiast in SDGs and STEM education.
Prof. Dr. Astuty Amrin, the Dean of Razak Faculty of Technology and Informatics, excitedly shared about “The importance of Academia and its role to promote STEM education for future generations – for national and global excellence”. Her academic background is from the Mechanical Engineering department and her research field includes material science, corrosion, and erosion of metal, and metallurgy. Currently, she is mentoring many young academic staffs in UTM.
The forum got heated up during the 2 rounds of the Q&A session and was overwhelmed by questions from the audience. Overall, there were more than 60 participants on the Webex platform and FB Live streaming and made the forum successful.
All the guest speakers urged and highlighted the importance of STEM education and for students to develop their critical and higher level of thinking skills based on the fundamental problems by bridging what they have learned in their syllabus, class, assignments, and projects with their daily lives to bring prosperity to people, planet and environmental sustainability. Both directly and indirectly many SDGs can be achieved – namely, Goal No. 4 – Quality Education for humanity.
In conclusion, STEM education is vital for nation-building and we as educators play a vital role to promote quality education, by proactively introducing creative thinking and lifelong learning in our class. We ought to do this for the prosperity of mankind.