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SCIENCE EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA: CURRENT STATUS, ISSUES & CHALLENGES

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  1. SCIENCE EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA: CURRENT STATUS, ISSUES & CHALLENGES A Paper presented at the SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SCIENCE EDUCATION IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC October 16, 2008, Ankara, Turkey by Ting-Kueh Soon1 & Ai-Hwa Quek2 1Academic of Sciences Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  2. 1.MALAYSIAN SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY MALAYSIAN FACT SHEET Independence Now 2008 Population 7.4 million 27.4 million Life Expectancy (Years) M 56 F 58 M 72 F 76 Infant Mortality Rate 76 per 1,000 5.1 per 1,000 Gross Domestic Product RM 5.0 billion RM 1,000.3 billion Per Capital GNP < RM 800 RM 38,860 Literary Rate 50% 98% School Enrolment Rate M 50% F 32% M & F 98.4% Poverty Rate 51.2% 5.0%

  3. 1.1 GDP GROWTH IN MALAYSIA / WORLD GDP Growth (Malaysia) 1999 6.2 per cent 2000 13.9 per cent 2001 - 2.4 per cent 2002 7.9 per cent 2003 5.7 per cent 2004 7.1 per cent 2005 5.7 per cent 2006 5.3 per cent 2007 5.5 per cent 2008* 5.6 per cent * Forecast GDP Growth 2005 China 9.8 per cent Thailand 5.6 per cent Philippines 5.8 per cent Malaysia 5.7 per cent Indonesia 5.6 per cent Hong Kong 4.5 per cent R of Korea 4.0 per cent Singapore 3.5 per cent USA 3.5 per cent United Kingdom 2.1 per cent Euro Area 1.5 per cent Japan 1.3 per cent World 4.0 per cent

  4. 1.2 S&T DEVELOPMENT IN MALAYSIA: THE EARLIER YEARS Malaysia – gained its independence from the British in 1957 • R & D Expenditure (2002) – 2,500.6 million or 0.69% of GDP, comprising 1,633.1 million for private sector and 867.5 million for public sector • R & D Human Resource (2002) – 10,728 comprising 7,154 researchers, 1,379 technicians & 2,195 supporting staff

  5. 1.3 S&T DEVELOPMENT IN 8TH MALAYSIA PLAN (2001 – 2005) • INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY • MICROELECTRONICS • AUTOMATION & ROBOTICS • BIOTECHNOLOGY • ADVANCED MATERIALS • MICROSATELLITE AND AEROSPACE INDUSTRY

  6. 1.3 S&T DEVELOPMENT IN 8TH MALAYSIA PLAN (2001 – 2005) • MULTIMEDIA SUPER CORRIDOR (MSC) 7 Flagship Projects 2nd phase of development – MSC clusters • MALAYSIAN BIOTECHNOLOGY CORPORATION 3 Biotech Institutes – Agriculture, Industrial & Health-Care

  7. 1.4 S&T DEVELOPMENT IN 9TH MALAYSIA PLAN (2006 – 2010) • NATIONAL BIOTECHNOLOGY POLICY – launched in 2007 by the Prime Minister of Malaysia – envisions Biotechnology as a new economic engine for Wealth Creation and Social Well-being • Formation of the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (MBC) Sdn Bhd

  8. 1.5 S&T DEVELOPMENT IN 9TH MALAYSIA PLAN (2006 – 2010) MALAYSIAN BIOTECHNOLOGY: • Pro-business government • Political stability • Cost-effective base for business • Excellent transportation and ICT infrastructure • Cost-competitive base of knowledge workers • Rich diversity in flora and fauna

  9. 1.5 S&T DEVELOPMENT IN 9TH MALAYSIA PLAN (2006 – 2010) MALAYSIAN BIOTECHNOLOGY: • Agricultural Biotechnology Modernizing agriculture – increasing yields & productivity, development of natural products and new materials, bio-farming technologies • Healthcare Biotechnology Creating new value and growth opportunities in health care and wellness – Bio-generics, diagnostics for infectious diseases & vaccines for tropical diseases • Industrial Biotechnology Value creation in industrial production in Enzymes & Industrial Chemicals, Renewable energy and Bio-materials

  10. 2. SCIENCE EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA THE NATIONAL PHILOSOPHY Our nation, Malaysia is dedicated to achieving a greater unity of all her people; to maintaining a democratic way of life; to creating a just society in which the wealth of the nation shall be equitably shared; to ensuring a liberal approach to her rich and diverse cultural traditions; to building a progress society which shall be oriented toward modern science and technology.

  11. 2. SCIENCE EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA THE NATIONAL PHILOSOPHY We, her people, pledge our united efforts to attain these ends guided by these principles: • BELIEF IN GOD • LOYALTY TO KING AND COUNTRY • UPHOLDING THE CONSTITUTION • RULE OF LAW • GOOD BEHAVIOUR AND MORALITY

  12. 2. SCIENCE EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA NATIONAL PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION Education in Malaysia is an on-going effort toward developing the potential of individuals in a holistic and integrated manner, so as to produce individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced and harmonious based a firm belief in and devotion to God. Such an effort is designed to produce Malaysian citizens who are knowledge and competent, who possess high moral standards and who are responsible and capable of achieving a high level of personal well being as well as being able to contribute to the harmony and betterment of the family, society and the nation at large.

  13. 2. SCIENCE EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA NATIONAL SCIENCE EDUCATION PHILOSOPHY In consonance with the National Education Philosophy, science education in Malaysia natures a Science and Technology Culture by focusing on the development of individuals who are competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient, and able to master scientific knowledge and technological competency.

  14. 2. SCIENCE EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA The Malaysian population is well educated in science and technology, and is comfortable with their use in everyday life. The Malaysian Government recognizes and strongly supports the role of science and technology in socio-economic development of the nation. There is a general consensus that science and technology will play a major role in Malaysia’s future.

  15. 2. SCIENCE EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA THE MALAYSIAN EDUCATION SYSTEM • Six years of primary school • Five years of secondary education • Two years of pre-university Education System is very much examination oriented with major examination at the ends of primary, secondary and pre-university studies.

  16. 2. SCIENCE EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA Science is taught from primary one onwards and continues until secondary five for non-science school students For science students, they will continue to major in science in pre-university before enrolling in a university for a science, engineering, medical, or other science-related course

  17. 2. SCIENCE EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA For the last two decades or so, there is a decline in the interest in science as shown in the enrollment of science students in schools The students are being influenced by more lucrative jobs in the employment market – lawyers, accountants, banking & finance, & more recently computer and information technology

  18. 2.1 DECLINING INTEREST IN SCIENCE REASONS FOR DECLINING INTEREST: • SCIENCE IS DIFFICULT & BORING • CAREER IN SCIENCE – NOT REWARDING FINANCIALLY & HAS LITTLE SCOPE • CAREER OPPORTUNITIES – LIMITED • PEER AND PARENTAL INFLUENCE • LACK OF UNDERSTANDING AND APPRECIATION OF SCIENCE

  19. 2.2 REVERSING THE TREND • ENCOURANG MORE STUDENTS TO DO SCIENCE IN SCHOOLS • PROMOTING BETTER PUBLIC AWARENESS AND UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY • PROVIDING SCHOLARSHIPS & OTHER INCENTIVES • CREATING MORE JOBS & OPPORTUNITIES

  20. 2.2 REVERSING THE TREND MALAYSIA: FOR THE LAST TWO DECADES Percentage Enrolment of Secondary Schools Year Science Arts 1997 32 % 68 % 2002 47 % 53 % 2010 60 % 40 % (targeted) - Minister of Education (3.03.2003)

  21. 2.3 CURRENT ISSUES IN SCIENCE EDUCATION • ENCOURANG MORE STUDENTS TO DO SCIENCE IN SCHOOLS • CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT IN THE CONTEXT OF RAPID DEVELOPMENT IN S&T • DEVELOPING LANGUAGE & SOFE SKILLS • PROVIDING HUMAN CAPITALS FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT • TEACHING SCIENCE & MATHS IN ENGLISH

  22. 2.3 CURRENT ISSUES IN SCIENCE EDUCATION • TEACHING SCIENCE & MATHS IN ENGLISH Pros & cons in the use of English as a medium of instruction

  23. 2.4 THE NATIONAL EDUCATION BLUEPRINT (PIPP) The National Education Blueprint (PIPP) 2006-2010 was launched by the Prime Minister in 2007 as a master plan to provide quality education for all The Blueprint is provided with an allocation of RM 23 billion under the Ninth Malaysia Plan

  24. 2.4 THE NATIONAL EDUCATION BLUEPRINT (PIPP) The Blueprint emphasizes on the following: • Education for nation building • Education for human capital development • Strengthening of national schools with reduction of the education gap • According prestige in teaching and accelerating educational excellence

  25. 2.4 THE NATIONAL EDUCATION BLUEPRINT (PIPP) The Blueprint also emphasises on quality teachers and teacher education & training • The selection process for teacher trainees has been made more vigorous & stringent – M-TEST& Interview • Providing incentives such as better pay and working condition, in-service training and career development path to create a quality and motivated teaching profession

  26. 3. SCIENCE HIGHER EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA TERTIARY SCIENCE EDUCATION • Highly academic • Content-driven • Examination-oriented Graduates • More suited for academic / teaching careers • Less attuned to interests of employers at the workplace

  27. 3. SCIENCE HIGHER EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA CHANGES IN TERTIARY SCIENCE EDUCATION Making Malaysian science graduates – knowledgeable & employable At present, Malaysian University Science Curricula: • highly academic, content-based & examination oriented • Weak in the command of the English Language • Lack in ICT, other “soft skills”, entrepreneurship and other business skills

  28. 3. SCIENCE HIGHER EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA Changes in tertiary science curricula to incorporate • Courses in psychology, management & marketing • Use of English as the medium of instruction • Incorporating ICT skills in instructional design • Incorporating other soft skills such as: Team-building skills Inter-personal skills Evaluation skills Problem-solving skills Innovative skills Value-improving skills Resourcefulness Global-understanding skills Research skills Entrepreneurship skills

  29. 3.1 SCIENCE HIGHER EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA Table 1: Output of Degree Courses in Malaysia (1986 – 2005) COURSE 5MP (1986-1990) 6MP (1991-1995) 7MP (1996-2000) 8MP (2001-2005) Number % Number % Number % Number % Arts & Humanities 27,780 53 49,018 62 82,123 57 161,102 48.4 including Business, Economics & Law Science including 17,510 33 19,642 25 40,077 28 100,967 30.4 Medicine, Pure Sciences, Agriculture & Others Engineering, 7,550 14 10,504 13 21,953 15 70,650 21.2 Technical, Architecture, Surveying & Others TOTAL 52,840 100 79,164 100 144,153 100 332,719 100

  30. 4. PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING & ATTITUDE TOWARDS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY • Understanding refers to “The public’s comprehension of scientific and technological concepts and methods” • Attitude refers to public interest in science and technology, perception towards science and technology, and importance attached to science and technology

  31. 4.1 UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY • Malaysia ranks poorly compared to other advanced nations such as USA, Japan & EU (MASTIC) • The level has also declined over the years from 2000 (MASTIC)

  32. 4.2 ATTITUDE TOWARDS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY • Malaysians generally feel positive about the effects of science and technology, scientific research and the future role of science and technology (MASTIC)

  33. 4.3 IMAGE OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY • Malaysians have good perception of scientists and engineers • Malaysians generally do not favour working in science and technology • Malaysians are positive on the social and economic role of science and technology

  34. 4.4 ACTIVITIES IN PROMOTING PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING AND AWARENESS Activities undertaken by the following: • Public institutions such as government ministries, agencies and Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) • Private corporations • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as Malaysian Scientific Association (MSA)

  35. 5. SCIENCE LITERATE SOCIETY • A society that is not only capable of generating new knowledge and technologies, but is also able to utilise this knowledge to produce innovative products and services as well as to ensure their widespread diffusion and adoption

  36. 5. SCIENCE LITERATE SOCIETY • Science for Policy Providing scientific advice and understanding to politicians, senior government officials and corporate leaders on issues related to development, environment and quality of life • Policy for Science Informed decision-makers making informed policy-decision on what is good science and appropriate technologies

  37. 5. SCIENCE LITERATE SOCIETY • Science for the public Public understanding of science to make informed decisions on issues related to science and technology and ways of life Public opinion on issues related to development, environment and sustainability

  38. 5. SCIENCE LITERATE SOCIETY • Science for the individuals Public understanding of science for individuals to make informed choices on careers and lifestyle Informed individuals to make informed decisions on finance, investment, government and other related issues

  39. 6. CONCLUSION • Science, Technology and Innovation today Rapid development in science and technology In order for us to be competitive in the global market place, there must be a high level of science and technology development There must also be innovations in products and services So, the Malaysian society must be able to constantly uplifting itself in science, technology and innovation to be on par with the best in the world

  40. Thank You Datuk Dr Soon Ting Kueh Academy of Sciences Malaysia