Speech by Chief Minister of Penang
At The Opening of Penang Maths Platform
4 November 2017
Ladies and gentlemen
The importance of mathematics cannot be over emphasized. Scientists and economists agree that, “In the modern era, few succeed in their endeavors without firm mathematical background.”
Indeed, to succeed in the coming extreme digital economy, the transactional engine of the 4th industrial revolution, the mastery of the STEM subjects is crucial. Especially of M which is Mathematics.
Today marks an important chapter for Penang in our effort to make the State a Centre of Excellence for STEM education. With the official launching of Penang Math Platform (PMP), we have a complete and viable ecosystem under the Penang STEM group to achieve that vision which enables us to compete with the best in the world for the opportunities and rewards of Industry 4.0.
However, international assessments such as Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) have found that our 15 years old students are lagging behind in Science and Math achievements, compared to many East Asian economies like Singapore, Shanghai, South Korea and Japan. Worse, our students are even inferior to students from Thailand and Vietnam.
Setting up PMP as a dedicated centre to promote greater interest in Math will definitely boost our competitiveness in STEM capabilities. PMP is the first centre of its kind in Penang where the agenda and programs cover all level of needs, from pre-school students to professionals and experts in the field of mathematical sciences.
A wide spectrum coaching program is available for students, ranging from a sponsored Grade 1 Japanese Math for the 6 and 7 years old to tuition for those from Form 1 to From 6. The PMP blueprint includes activities that encourage engagement and collaboration to make learning more effective. These include seminars, competitions workshops and math camps that spur face to face interaction and mutual motivation. Rather than being just a delivery system, PMP will collaborate with international organizations such as the Math Olympiad and Mensa to develop tools and aids to train the trainers, be they career teachers or private coaches.
The sponsored Japanese Math class will not only enhance the pre-school and standard one students’ proficiency in the subject but it also aims to develop the children’s social skills. The Japanese Math method is not just focused on the answers but also the process to the answers.
Besides offering equal access to its expertise and resources, the PMP facility at the Karpal Singh Penang Learning Centre (KSPLC) at Gelugor , also houses a big study lab with Wi-Fi which is free for all students, regardless of race and background.
I urge Penangites to take advantage of the excellent facilities and resources of PMP, as well as those of the other Penang STEM organizations (namely, the PSDC, the PDL, the PSC, Tech Dome and ACat), to ready themselves and their children, for the opportunities of Industry 4.0.