ROBOMATTER’s TOP STEM PROGRAMME COMES TO MALAYSIA
CM Asia Learning Pte Ltd (CM Asia), a Singapore-based distributor of iCarnegie Global Learning’s STEM Robotics and STEM Computer Science K12 curriculum in Asia Pacific, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) on 18 February 2016 to make the renowned Robomatter teaching modules available to schools in Malaysia. Teachers and students trained under iCarnegie Global Learning’s STEM Robotics and STEM Computer Science programme will have the privilege of earning a qualification that is jointly certified by both TAR UC and the world’s top robotics research and education institution, Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy. TAR UC, for its highly recognised quality, consistent and high standard education, has been entrusted to join forces with the two principals from the United States of America to evaluate, assess and jointly award the certificate to the teachers and students who successfully complete the programme. In conjunction with this, Eduspec Holdings Berhad (Eduspec) was appointed as the deployment agent of CM Asia for the roll-out of these programmes.
The MoU signing was officiated by the Chairman of the Board of Governors of TARUC, YB Dato’ Sri Liow Tiong Lai. Guests at the event included Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Education II, YB Senator Tuan Chong Sin Woon, President/CEO and Chief Technology Officer of Robomatter Inc., Skip Smith and Timothy Friez respectively; principals of Chinese schools and members of the Persatuan Ibu Bapa dan Guru (PIBG). They were later treated to a luncheon, which included a Yee Sang toss in conjunction with Chinese New Year.
During his opening speech, YB Dato’ Sri Liow highlighted how Malaysia is prioritising STEM education and aiming for 60 per cent of its youth to take up STEM education and careers to ensure a better future for the country. “Our children cannot remain as just users of technology because they are capable of so much more. We need to nurture youths that will be creators,” he said.
“STEM has become a necessity in modern times. ICT knowledge, therefore, has become a basic skill that we need to instil in our children to ensure that they are able to thrive in today’s world,” concurred Eduspec CEO Lim Een Hong.
It is without a doubt that STEM is now the primary focus globally. In the United States, President Obama recently announced an initiative called “Computer Science for All”. The president has pledged to call for a budget approval of US$4 billion to help the United States pay for computer science education in schools when he presents his 2017 budget to Congress. According to President Obama, “In the new economy, computer science isn’t an optional skill – it’s a basic skill. Nine out of 10 parents want it taught in their children’s schools.” Adding to this, Robomatter President, Skip Smith elaborates, “In our increasingly interconnected and technical world, the skills that accompany a quality STEM education are more important than ever”.
Closer to home, our Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, said that to invest in STEM education is to invest in the future. He shared at the Global STEM Alliance at the United Nations headquarters that Malaysia aims for 60 percent of our country’s children and youths to take up STEM education and careers for a better future for Malaysia. To reflect this, the Malaysian education blueprint prioritises STEM education. It is an indisputable fact to say that digital knowledge is the new currency of the 21st century and STEM education is a major player in that new economy.
“Now, it’s not about getting them ahead; it is about ensuring that they are not left behind. We believe that the introduction of the Robomatter curriculum in our local schools can help the students think outside the box and pique their interest in STEM learning. We are privileged to have this opportunity to introduce the Robomatter modules into the country, and we are also grateful to TARUC for coming on board to help us with this endeavour,” Lim added. “Robomatter is proud to support the partnership between Tunku Abdul Rahman University College and CM Asia Learning in continuing the mission to provide high-quality, cost-effective K-12 STEM education solutions to classrooms around the world, helping ensure students are ready to compete in our global, emerging economy” Skip concluded.
STEM refers to an integration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines in the classroom. As we move into a more global and competitive economy, STEM learning has become increasingly important in helping students develop their critical thinking, problem solving, creative solutions and collaborative skills. Realising this, Robomatter practices a hands-on approach to excite and encourage students about science and technology. Additionally, its materials also incorporate real world applications that help develop students’ critical thinking skills.
Robomatter was founded in 2003 as an educational outreach of Carnegie Mellon University, which is well known for its research and expertise in robotics. Its programmes have been tested and certified through the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy. Robomatter is also a prominent robotics academy and leader in robotics educational products. Robomatter and iCarnegie Global Learning LLC (a subsidiary of Carnegie Mellon University) work cohesively to prepare students to compete in the emerging economy.
A leading provider of innovative ICT education programmes for schools, Eduspec offers a range of products and services including IT learning labs as well as e-learning and innovative programmes such as Robotics and School Management Systems in the Asia Pacific region. Here in Malaysia, it supplies these teaching and learning materials to local schools.