Penang manufacturers want computer classes in primary school syllabus ‘now’

The Penang branch of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers stressed an urgency for computer literacy from young in view of the government’s move towards Industry 4.0. ― Reuters file pic
The Penang branch of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers stressed an urgency for computer literacy from young in view of the government’s move towards Industry 4.0. ― Reuters file pic

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GEORGE TOWN, Sept 5 ― The Penang branch of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) today urged Putrajaya to introduce computer classes into the syllabus of primary schools without delay.

Its chairman Datuk Ooi Eng Hock stressed an urgency for computer literacy from young in view of the government’s move towards Industry 4.0.

“The government must do it now. They must introduce computer classes for primary school students because there is now a gap between primary school students and secondary school students,” he told a press conference during the FMM-Universiti Sains Malaysia CEO forum here.

He said if the government is serious about pushing for science, technology, English and mathematics (STEM) education, classes must start at the primary school level.

USM vice-chancellor Datuk Asma Ismail who was also present at the news conference highlighted a shortage of engineering course students at its campus.

“We are not producing enough to meet the needs of the industry,” she said.

She said the additional mathematics was one of the basic requirements for its engineering courses, which could be one of the reasons for the lack of interest .

“This year, we are full for the engineering course but we don’t know about next year,” she said, adding that other universities may be affected by a shortage of students for engineering courses.

She said the number of students taking up engineering courses may dwindle each year and it will be a problem for the industry.

She said USM is now trying to generate interest among secondary school students for STEM and engineering through its [email protected] programme.

The programme allows secondary school students to be involved in projects directly with manufacturers so they know the needs of the industry.

“We hope to generate interest among students so that we can increase the numbers of students for engineering courses,” she said.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state government is also doing its part to promote STEM at the school level through Penang Science Cluster and Penang Tech Dome.

“We want to inculcate interest at an early stage to produce more students that will go into engineering,” he said.

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