Secondary school students from Penang and the Northern region will soon be able to explore and dive into the exciting world of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), thanks to the combined efforts of Motorola Solutions Foundation and INTI International College Penang (INTI) in launching a new STEM Lab at INTI.
As an effort to address the growing need for STEM professionals in the country, the STEM Lab was launched by Dr Hari Narayanan, former Managing Director of Motorola Solutions Malaysia Sdn Bhd to provide a space for students to explore and learn from employers on the numerous opportunities available in STEM related fields.
In attendance at the ceremony was also Motorola Solution’s current Managing Director, Solomon A. Lorthu and other industry leaders including Tan Chian Ming, Director of Engineering, Motorola Solutions; Chandra Segar A/L Rama, Senior Human Resources Manager, Flex Ltd; Koay Kah Hoe, Principal Consultant, DreamCatcher Consulting Sdn Bhd; and Joseph Chee, Operations Manager, Intel Malaysia Sdn Bhd, as well as students and representatives from Chung Ling High School, SM Bukit Jambul and SM Penang Free School.
Aimed at providing an open facility for young Malaysians to explore the various facets of STEM and to nurture their interests in related careers, the STEM Lab was established with funding received from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, the charitable arm of Motorola Solutions. For the past five years, INTI has been one of the recipients of its global grant valued at USD 35,000.00 which serves to benefit communities and institutions to advance STEM education.
Citing TalentCorp’s Critical Occupations List 2017/2018, Hemalatha Murugiah, Chief Executive of INTI, explained that the need for STEM professionals in the country had reached a critical stage. If left unaddressed, she shared, Malaysia would not only continue to see a decline in local STEM professionals such as software engineers and data scientists, but would inevitably face challenges in achieving its long term development goals, especially in light of the Industrial Revolution 4.0.
“Encouraging an interest in STEM must start at an early age, especially if we are to fulfil the nation’s aim of a 60:40 ratio of science stream to non-science students, especially in meeting the global shift towards a STEM-driven economy. The establishment of this STEM Lab provides a space for academic and industry leaders to connect with students and carry out STEM-related programmes that help them increase students’ awareness, and inspire them to opt for STEM careers in the future.”
Solomon A. Lorthu, Managing Director of Motorola Solutions explained, “We are pleased to be a part of INTI’s efforts in aligning education with industry and the nation’s needs, especially in preparing students for the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and beyond. As a global leader in innovation, Motorola Solutions recognises the need to address the perspectives of younger generations and to work hand in hand with our academic partners in preparing young people to be agile and broadly skilled at the youngest age possible. We also see the importance of exposing secondary school students as early as possible in STEM subjects to help lay a solid foundation for their educational future and interests. As we continue to work with INTI in engaging these students, we hope they will be encouraged to take up STEM-related careers and not only enhance their own capabilities, but those of the country.”
In addition to the launch of the STEM Lab, a forum for secondary school teachers was also organised on the topic Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in designing our Nation’s Future. The forum was attended by INTI’s industry partners and teachers from partner schools, and led to fruitful discussions on current issues and opportunities to develop the interest in science, technology and innovation among secondary school students. Concurrently, secondary school students who attended the launch had a great time learning how to build their own audio USB player at the STEM Lab.
“Industry-academic collaborations are an important means through which we can meet the needs of the 21st century. The launch of the STEM Lab at INTI serves to provide a space for students from all ages to explore the possibilities of STEM and to connect and learn from industry leaders such as Motorola Solutions. Through these engagements, students are in a better position to understand the practical applications of STEM in everyday life and to explore potential careers they may have never have thought about. Empowered with such knowledge, our hope is that in the long run, this future generation of professionals will carry Malaysia forward in achieving its goals,” concluded Murugiah.