LAST month, the Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair (KLESF) was held virtually for the first time since it was launched eight years ago. The e-KLESF 2020 took place on Zoom and garnered more than 3,400 views.
It is hoped that the fair would generate interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among primary and secondary school students, the general public, parents, as well as participants from other economies, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) said in a press release.
UTAR and Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) were among the organisers of the e-KLESF, which was supported by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia and the Education Ministry.
“This time, we did things differently because of the Covid-19 pandemic. We managed to organise the event and promote interest in STEM among the younger generation via a virtual platform.
“This pandemic is a challenge that we would not be able to overcome without science. The way we adopt safety measures to minimise the spread of the virus is based on scientific knowledge and data,” KLESF Steering Committee co-chairman-cum-TAR UC president Prof Dr Lee Sze Wei said.
With such development, he believes interest in science will grow to become more intense among youngsters, which will help them to find solutions to problems in life.
ASEAN Academy of Engineering and Technology president Emeritus Prof Tan Sri Datuk Dr Chuah Hean Teik said various programmes and activities such as webinars, workshops, quizzes and demonstrations were conducted at the e-KLESF.
UTAR president Prof Dr Ewe Hong Tat said the virus will not stop them from creating opportunities for students to continue learning about STEM.
“Enjoy STEM education as STEM is everywhere; it is all around us in our everyday lives,” he added.
Education Ministry deputy director-general (development and teacher professionalism) Dr Ahmad Rafee Che Kassim said the KLESF resonates with the country’s aspiration in developing highly skilled talents to push the country further in high-technology areas.
“Considering the long-term advantages of STEM education, the younger generation must be given opportunities at an early age to learn STEM subjects and to be aware of its relationship to their daily lives.
“This connection will hopefully spark their curiosity in STEM and encourage them to pursue careers in the field.
“We hope that the KLESF will continue to support the ministry’s efforts to prepare students with the skills to meet the challenges of science and technology in the Fourth Industrial Revolution era and to ensure that Malaysia has sufficiently qualified STEM graduates,” he added.
The ministry encourages all teachers and parents to participate in the KLESF in the coming years, he said, to reap its benefits.