The year 2020 has helped catapult our awareness that the reliance on technology and virtual apps had directly or indirectly help guide us through the unchartered waters of a pandemic and a prolonged lockdown. Work, business and studies was very much virtual, purchases were through apps and entertainment all within the confinement of the home via various platforms that are all technology driven. Travel was completely curtailed and the dependence on Science and Technology to monitor the extent of the pandemic and ultimately seek out a cure cannot be denied. The world has moved into a new era where 6G and the effects of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 will guide and control our lives. This is in fact the new norm, the Science and Technology Norm. It has dawned upon us and is here to stay.
The Gen Z (1965–1985) are adapting well to this upswing in technology but it is the Millennials (1985-2000) who are scrambling to acquire as much knowledge and expertise of a new kind taking place before our midst. However, it is the Generation Z (1996–2012) who will need the required knowledge and skill-sets to fill the many new careers and professions as a result of this changing technology landscape and education institutions and its curriculum need to step-up in tandem or they will end up as the lost generation, a generation who are adapt to the use of this new technology but unable to contribute in any significant way in its development and maintenance of it.
Sri Bestari Private School Kuala Lumpur (SBPSKL) have been cognisant of this rapid shifting technology revolution and with the increased emphasis on Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) in education and examinations, an overhaul of how we approach education was required. SBPSKL acknowledged the critical changes made by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in introducing higher technology elements into the curriculum, giving focus to programming and STEM education as well as developing students analytical and logical thinking in HOTS which is timely in helping develop an era of students who are adept to STEM education and great thinkers in problem solving which is much needed in nation building. Kudos to the Malaysian Ministry of Education and its revolutionary Education Blueprint 2013–2025 which had set the right stage for the creation of a future generation of thinkers and doers.
The team at Sri Bestari Private School Kuala Lumpur together with her Board of Governors than set out to craft a dynamic educational approach taking after the many positives and direction set by our MOE to implement additional measures within our means to ensure those MOE objectives are achieved within the shortest time frame and in the most effective manner. This brought about a flurry of initiatives and programs above and beyond a normal school to support the National Curriculum and in ensuring the students are the end beneficiaries.
We began with the all-important ECO Schools program as it was felt that besides the many aspects of Science which students could acquire through the program, students would also be endowed with the needed sensitivities towards sustainability and climate change. Eight (8) years on SBPSKL is a 3-time Green Flag holder which is the highest award for an ECO school under WWF-Malaysia and the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE), Denmark and have embarked on an active Outreach program to share our ECO best practices in Malaysia and abroad where each and every SBPSKL student is today an ECO ambassador.
Experiencing and the learning of Science was given a boost with the implementation of the Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) in collaboration of the International Centre for South-South Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation (ISTIC), Academy of Science Malaysia (ASM), MOE and La main à la pâte Fondation, Paris. Five (5) years since the IBSE set foot in SBPSKL, the school is now an IBSE Pilot Centre taking after the much acclaimed twenty (20) IBSE Pilot Centres in France. This is tremendous credit to the school being recognised as an IBSE Pilot Centre outside France and is now poised to help guide other apprentice schools who are keen to roll-out IBSE in Science classes and we have pledged to work closely with MOE to identify these sister-IBSE schools for collaboration.
The school also noticed that the Mathematics exam standards were on the rise with the implementation of HOTS elements. Taking that Mathematic principles cannot be isolated in the quest for acquisition of Technology, and that Science and Mathematics are essential in spearheading any technological advancement, Sri Bestari Private School Kuala Lumpur started inculcating the much-acclaimed elements of Singapore Mathematics into the teaching of Mathematics from Kindergarten right up to Secondary and the benefit and results have been profound. The pedagogical approach used imbeds Singapore Mathematics together with the national curriculum and it is seamless but benefits immense.
Taking the Science and Technology agenda a step further, the school embarked on a concerted effort to infuse the elements of STEM into the school and through collaboration with SMLab we had set-up a well-equipped dedicated STEM Lab and drew up a STEM program based on the Mitsubishi Electric (Nagoya) Industrial Robot Syllabus and is supported by Mitsubishi Electric Singapore. The success of the program was evident when our students managed to secure a third place Bronze Award and the Best Work Award in the Teenager Category at the Top International Robotic Tournament (TIRT) organised and supported by various Taiwan universities, Taiwanese local councils and their technology industries held from July to November 2020 involving 80 teams from nine (9) countries mainly Japan, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Macau, and Thailand. The achievements by the two (2) SBPSKL teams is an enormous achievement bearing in mind this was a first ever STEM competition for all the students.
Moving forward, efforts are being made to enhance the Computer Science syllabuses for primary and secondary with elements of STEM and for roll-out in Academic Year 2021 and in the recent visitation by Pusat STEM Negara and Bahagian Perancangan dan Penyelidikan Dasar Pendidikan (BPPDP), MOE on 15 December 2020 led by Dr Ihsan Ismail to Sri Bestari Private School Kuala Lumpur to further understand our success in IBSE and STEM program and opportunities for collaboration with Pusat STEM Negara and MOE was timely and most welcome. SBPSKL has pledged to work closely with Pusat STEM Negara and MOE to spearhead the IBSE and STEM agenda for the benefit of all Gen Z students moving forward. Our success would have never been made possible not for the close working relationship between MOE and the various governmental agencies who have supported us throughout our journey of Science and Technology advancement in the school.