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It is time jump on the "Steam" train

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In the 21st century, it is expected that a student and future graduate is equipped with transferable skills. The best educational experiences prepare learners for the real-world, providing them the skills and knowledge to adapt to complex situations they may face later in life. Learners should be taught to think not only critically, but creatively too. Even history’s greatest inventors would not have accomplished what they had without their less-than-conventional ideas.

 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) education fills this gap, encouraging learners to think outside the box, hence changing the way they perceive and navigate the world. It can also help to nurture individuals who are better prepared to address complex global concerns. Even more, if we hope to enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) well-prepared, we need to boost our efforts in nurturing a skilled workforce and STEAM education is a crucial component of this.

Evolving from STEM, the inclusion of Arts helps recognise the field as being equally important to one’s development, and teaches students the value of creativity, innovation and communication. It also includes a broader range of subjects, like liberal arts, fine arts, performance arts, language, design, and more, widening students’ perspectives on a problem and how best to approach it.  

The University of Nottingham Malaysia’s (UNM) Faculty of Science and Engineering and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences recently delivered a masterclass on STEAM, with over 500 high school students from 100 schools across Malaysia participating, both physically and virtually. During this masterclass, we presented current topics such as The Luck of (Genetic) Drawand 3D Print Your Future’, and ‘How To Be A Real Influencer’, ‘How to build a diversified investment portfolio’ and ‘Korean 101 (and Foreign Language Learning)’.

The masterclass was aimed at providing young learners a taste of the latest trends, and the skills and knowledge that they will one day need to contribute to the future economy. In addition, we wanted to increase accessibility to STEAM education for our young learners, and to reintroduce it in a way that was interactive and fun, proving that STEAM is not as intimidating as it is often made out to be.

STEAM education can also help equip learners for some of 2022’s most in-demand jobs in Malaysia as listed by JobStreet, such as information and technology (IT), software development, digital marketing, finance, business development, medicine and education. With the goal of developing industry-ready graduates, exposure to STEAM can provide our young learners with the competitive advantage needed to navigate jobs of the future, jobs which we can only expect to increase in demand over time.

From the success we have had, we hope to see more educational institutions, and its educators, take the initiative to boost STEAM education for all. We also call for parents and guardians to recognise the impact and benefits of STEAM education on a child’s development, academically and otherwise. We continuously speak of the need to produce a skilled workforce, but it must begin with us to make these programmes accessible for all young Malaysians. Only when they grow, can we grow as a nation. 

Note: This is an expert opinion by Dr Kher Hui (Marina) Ng, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FOSE) and Dr Joanne Lim Bee Yin, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS).


For media enquiries please contact: Sarah Soo, Head of Communications, University of Nottingham Malaysia at

Note to editors: The University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) offers a distinctly British education in an Asian setting with a legacy as the first overseas campus of a UK university to be established globally. UNM is recognised for its excellence in teaching and learning, as well as the outstanding student experience offered on its 48-hectare campus just an hour south of the KL city-centre. UNM's extensive and diverse research community develops solutions that tackle key global challenges in the areas of food, health, the environment, sustainability, and socio-economic issues within the ASEAN region. The University of Nottingham is ranked Top 100 in the QS World University Rankings 2024 and is rated “Competitive” in the SETARA rating system by the Government of Malaysia. Established in 2000, UNM has about 4,500 students from over 75 countries with 15,000 alumni working with the world’s top 100 global brands.

Posted on 28th October 2022

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