The prime minister's wife Rosmah Mansor has called on female undergraduates to take up programmes related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and choose the fields later in their career so that they would be able to remain competitive.
She said this was because the "Science and Technology Human Capital Roadmap: Towards 2020" report revealed that the total number of students taking STEM programmes at institutions of higher learning had dropped drastically compared to the government's target to raise the ratio from 20:80 to 60:40.
“Another challenge to the formation of a developed nation in the 21st century is the domination in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or in short, STEM.
“With the world's transition from industrialisation to STEM, we need to be prepared to provide manpower in the field to meet the needs of the country over the next 25 years,” she said in her speech at the “Siswi Cinta Negara” programme at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Merbok near Sungai Petani today.
Also present were Kedah menteri besar Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Nancy Shukri.
Rosmah also said the female undergraduates must equip themselves with a new set of skills in dealing with future challenges known as 4Cs, namely critical thinking and problem-solving; communication; collaboration; and creativity.
Meanwhile, the prime minister's wife also shared about the Permata Programmes, namely Permata Pintar and Permata Insan in which the students of the two programmes had been exposed to the syllabus that focused on STEM subjects.
“Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah), the programme under my own auspices has already thought about the importance of STEM in fulfilling the needs of human capital in the future, since (it was founded) in 2009,” she said.
Rosmah said the programmes managed to produce excellent graduates in STEM and a number of them were now pursuing masters and doctorate at leading universities abroad.
“I am confident that they will be able to contribute to the country's development in STEM once they have returned to Malaysia,” she said.