UK experience of tackling science skills shortage to help shape Malaysian education policy

Posted by ap507 at Mar 14, 2016 09:52 AM |
Experts from University of Leicester lead science education summit at Kuala Lumpur

Issued by the University of Leicester Press Office on 14 March

A team from the University of Leicester is heading to Malaysia to help shape the next two decades of science education policy at a three-day conference between 14-16 March.

In Malaysia, as in many countries, there is an acute shortage of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) specialists. The Leicester team will draw upon their UK experience to investigate ways to boost HE and FE recruitment in these subjects and, together with experts from around the world, will look at ways to help Malaysia meet future workforce requirements. The conference will be attended by prominent politicians, civil servants and leaders from UK high-tech industries including: Rolls Royce and BT.

Dr Tony Daniels, Director of EducationCPD+ and Dr Jo Anna Reed Johnson, Head of the Post Graduate Certificate in Education, School of Education will travel with Dr Mark Windale (Sheffield Hallam University) to the event which has been co-organised by the British Council, the Malaysian Ministry of Education and the University of Leicester. They will be supported in the UK by Dr George Forster, Director of Boost Education.

The aim of the conference is to review Malaysia’s progress toward its target of 60% of students graduating in STEM subjects and investigate ways to overcome challenges such as communication with large rural populations and students’ perceptions of STEM subjects as “boring and difficult”.

The conference is part of the Newton Fund initiative under the STEM Education strand. The Newton Fund is a £735 million initiative created to promote the economic development and social welfare of partnering countries by strengthening science and innovation capacity.

Dr Johnson, academic lead, will deliver a keynote speech on UK STEM education policy, while she and Dr Windale will share their experience of best practice in the UK.  Dr Daniels will support a series of high level Round Table Meetings involving experts from around the far-east and work closely with Dr Forster to write a post-conference report that will guide future Malaysian education policy.  Representatives from UK industry will deliver talks as part of a session on “planning the future workforce”.

Dr Daniels said:

Malaysia has identified a huge skills shortage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects that is only predicted to get worse over the next decade.

“The University of Leicester is helping to coordinate and deliver a three-day policy dialogue event, involving experts from Malaysia and the UK, which will discuss the issues in more detail and develop a roadmap for the future of STEM education in the country.

“Alongside academics from the University of Leicester and Sheffield Hallam University, there will be representation from Rolls Royce and British Telecom.


For further information/enquiries, please email

For further information about the Newton Fund, visit: and follow via Twitter @NewtonFund


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