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What should parents know about STEM education & how can it benefit our children?

In Malaysia, the number of Form 5 (Year 11) students studying Science subjects has dropped an average of 6,000 per year since 2012, and 2018 enrolment stood at only 167,962 out of 375,794 (44.7%). Equally worrying is more than 48% of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) candidates failed to obtain a Credit grade of C for Additional Mathematics, a prerequisite to enroll in STEM undergraduate courses (The Star, 21 Oct 2018).
Secondary students’ STEM literacy has declined in relative with the increasing Higher Order Thinking (HOT) Standards set in SPM syllabus. As such, students aren’t taking up difficult subjects like Additional Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science, Design & Technology, and ICT due to higher cognitive demand.

Base on a research, student performance is related to motivation to learn. As motivation generally declines during lower secondary education, one might expect performance to decline as well during this period. Notably, a consistent finding in research on academic motivation is that motivation tends to decline after the transition from primary to secondary education. This academic motivation decline occurs most consistently during early adolescence, until 15 or 16 years of age (Wijsman, Warrens, Saab, Driel, Westenberg, 2015). Similar trend is seen in other European countries as well.



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