‘Push for Science and Maths needed’

Country producing only 30 science-based professionals per 10,000 workers

SNEAK PEEK: Fadillah (left) and Soedirman awaiting their turn as Atei peeks through a telescope at the ‘Astronomy Day’ at Sultan Iskandar Planetarium Civic Centre.

KUCHING: More efforts are needed to promote science and math among students judging by their lacklustre interest in the subjects.

According to Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) Datuk Fadillah Yusof yesterday, the country was still relatively behind as far as students’ interest in the two subjects were concerned.

“From the latest facts on June 2010, the ratio between students in literature and science based classes is 2:1.

“In science classes, ratio between male to female students is 1:1.4 which means female students are more interested in science compared to boys,” he said at the launch of ‘Astronomy Day’ at Sultan Iskandar Planetarium Civic Centre.

“In universities, the ratio of students in science and literature subjects is 0.8:1. It means that we have 56 per cent students in literature and only 44 per cent students in science,” he added.

Fadillah hoped that programmes such as the ‘Astronomy Day’ would be able to spark more interest among the young.

“This thing needs effort from everyone including parents, leaders and schools to promote innovation and science.

“We need to find ways to encourage creativity and innovation among the people so that they can turn that into innovation, processes and new technology to improve on what we have now,” he stressed.

He added that students’ lack of interest might be mainly due to the misconception that Science and Math subjects were difficult.

“We still have so much to do in encouraging interest in these subjects in schools. Because that is the most vital stage to set a strong foundation for the love of the subject,” said Fadillah.

The Petra Jaya MP also said that Malaysia is now producing only 30 science-based professionals per 10,000 workers instead of 50 which is one of the benchmarks of a fully developed nation.

“We need at least 50 scientists, researchers, engineers per 10,000 workers. That is our aim in order to be a developed nation.

“But now we only manage to produce only 30. If we want to be known as a developed nation, we need to have 50 people,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fadillah also mentioned that he would be requesting for new digital equipment for Sultan Iskandar Planetarium during the mid-term review of the 10th Malaysia Plan.

“We hope we will be able to get allocation for the new digital equipment to help relive this planetarium so that children can visit it and be more interested,” he said.

Also present was Social Development and Urbanisation Ministry (KPSU) permanent secretary Soedirman Aini and Kuching City North Commission (DBKU) mayor Mohamad Atei Abang Medaan.

The programme was organised by KPSU and Mosti.

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