PUTRAJAYA, Dec 17 — Almost half, or 41 per cent, of science teachers in Malaysia do not have a Bachelor’s degree, according to a report by national think tank Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM).
The report titled “Science Outlook 2015: Action towards Vision” released today by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti) agency also showed that 70 per cent of teachers in general who hold a Bachelor of Education fall short of the requirement to have at least three distinctions in SPM to enter the degree programme.
“Questions have also been raised as to the qualification of our science teachers, and if they are sufficiently equipped with the required knowledge and orientation for effective subject delivery,” said the report that the ASM released to a press briefing here.
The report by ASM showed that 70 per cent of teachers in general who hold a Bachelor of Education fall short of the requirement to have at least three distinctions in SPM to enter the degree programme. — Picture by K.E. Ooi
“Approximately 41 per cent of science teachers in the country do not possess a Bachelor’s degree, with 37.1 per cent holding only SPM/ STPM qualifications and 3.8 per cent holding diplomas,” it added.
The report also noted that although the number of primary and secondary school teachers has been increasing over the years, the ratio of science and mathematics teachers to students was only 1:17, which is less than half the international average of 1:8.
Malaysia has a target of 500,000 skilled science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workers by 2020.
The 500,000 target, however, would only comprise 3 per cent of an expected total workforce of 15 million in 2020, compared to 30 per cent in most advanced countries, according to the report.
The report noted that in 2010, unskilled workers represented more than 75 per cent of total workers employed and that those with tertiary education and applicable skills made up only a quarter of the workforce.
“To meet our 2020 STEM needs, it is estimated that we need a 0.2 per cent increase per annum in the number of STEM diploma holders; 10 to 40 per cent increase per annum in STEM degree holders; and 5 to 10 per cent increase per annum in PhD holders,” said the report.
Malay Mail Online reported last month that less than 13 per cent of those who sat for the Form 3 PT3 examination last year scored at least a C in both science and mathematics, according to the Education Ministry, despite Malaysia’s aim to achieve developed nation status in less than five years.
The Education Ministry also said that the average percentage of secondary school students who qualified for the science stream, based on their results of the previous Form 3 PMR examination, only hovered around 30 per cent over the past 10 years, though Malaysia has been aiming for a 60:40 ratio of science/ technical/vocational and arts students since 1970.