KUALA LUMPUR, October 22, 2015 – Four teams of the nation’s brightest students competed in three qualifying rounds in the finals of the National Science Challenge (NSC) held today, at the MATRADE Exhibition & Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
The finalists were teams from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Keat Hwa (Kedah), SMJK Perempuan Cina (Pulau Pinang), Sekolah Menengah Imtiaz Besut (Terengganu) and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Batu 8 (Selangor).
The NSC is the premier science competition for Form 4 science stream students organised by Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) and the Young Scientists Network (YSN-ASM), in collaboration with the ExxonMobil Subsidiaries in Malaysia as its sponsor, and the Japan Science & Technology Agency as its strategic partner.
The event was officiated by Science Technology & Innovation Deputy Minister, Datuk Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah, who was representing Minister YB Datuk Seri Panglima Madius Tangau.
“ExxonMobil’s support to NSC is part of our long term investment in the development of Malaysia’s human capital, especially in the area of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education,” said ExxonMobil Subsidiaries in Malaysia President & Chairman See Kok Yew.
“By supporting STEM programmes, we hope to inspire and encourage more students to take up challenging and rewarding STEM careers. For any country to progress, STEM professionals are needed to solve problems, develop solutions and address future challenges. It is our hope that our long term contribution will help fuel Malaysia’s ingenuity and create the next generation of scientists, researchers, engineers and innovators who are needed for the nation’s development,” he added.
ExxonMobil has been supporting the NSC since 2012, with a cumulative contribution of more than RM1.3 million.
Datuk Abu Bakar, in reading the Minister’s speech, said that programmes like the NSC help to create greater awareness and interest of STEM amongst students and develop new talents to meet the country’s aspiration towards achieving its STEM workforce needs.
“Students need to be aware that science is not only fun, but there are many new, attractive careers today such as technopreneur, chief technology officer and chief innovation officer due to developments in the STEM fields.”
“The support shown by ExxonMobil and others in the private sector for the NSC is an example of a successful public-private partnership between the government and the private sector for the development for STEM among future generations,” he added.
The NSC champions were awarded the grand prize of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Trophy and the opportunity of a study trip to Stockholm, Sweden to attend the prestigious Nobel Prize awards ceremony to be held on December 10, and other associated activities, including the Nobel lectures and visits to the Nobel Museum and science centre.
The other participants would not be going home empty handed. Apart from winning electronic devices, they were awarded a one-week study visit to Japan next May under the Sakura Exchange Programme in Science. The exchange programme, facilitated by the Japan Science and Technology Agency, will include visits to universities, research laboratories and science museums, experiments and hands-on activity with a Nobel Laureate, and opportunities to interact with Japanese students. The programme aims at enhancing exchanges between Asia and Japan of aspiring young scientists to enable them to build future collaborations between industry-academia-government in supporting the cause and agenda of STEM.
ASM has been championing the NSC since 1999 and continues to improvise the format and module in line with the progress of teaching and learning of science and mathematics.
This year’s competition saw the participation of more than 9,200 students who were tested on their knowledge of Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Science & Technology beyond the school curriculum. Questions for the finals were designed to test the students’ ability to relate scientific theories to occurrences in daily life. A new Project category was also introduced where the teams were required to deliver a presentation of a prescribed science topic including a model that they had built the day before using materials provided.
The NSC is endorsed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and the Ministry of Education (MOE). Now in its 27th consecutive year, the NSC has distinguished itself as a flagship science engagement programme by the ASM and ExxonMobil, which aims to make science fun and interactive. Targeting science stream students nationwide, the competition aims to promote, nurture and enhance interest in science, technology and innovation among students.