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Youth urged to join STEM fest

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Education minister Hang Chuon Naron. Photo by Education Ministry

Youth urged to join STEM fest

Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Hang Chuon Naron encouraged youths to participate in the annual Cambodia STEM Festival, which is held online from January 25-29.

This year’s theme is “Prepare for the Future” because Cambodia will need an increase of professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in order to have the necessary human resources to drive future development, the ministry said.

The 16th Annual Cambodia STEM Festival will light up screens in a live-stream hosted by the official Facebook pages of the STEM Education Organisation of Cambodia (STEMEOC) and the education ministry from 9am to 11am.

This festival has five carefully chosen STEM topics related to some of the world’s most pressing issues. The ministry sees the online festival as a platform to provide useful digital resources in response to the Covid-19 school closures across the country this past year.

The areas of focus are public health; physics and mathematics; biology and ecology; environmental science; technology and robotics; and chemistry and science.

Education minister Chuon Naron and environment minister Say Sam Al, who both presided over the opening ceremony of the online festival on January 25, spoke about the importance and need for human resources and STEM skills in promoting Cambodia’s economic development.

Chuon Naron said STEM education in all fields is very important due to the rapid technological advances taking place around the world.

“In Cambodia, capacity development to prepare for the future is dependent on the impetus driving Cambodia’s worker’s efforts to gain these needed skills so they can fully contribute to our development and economic growth. Cambodia’s growth will increasingly depend on these areas of knowledge,” he said.

The minister said his ministry has continued to develop teaching capacity and to strengthen STEM education by including communication, information technology and technology subjects in the curriculum.

He added that this year’s festival will test the ability of youths to use STEM skills to help the country prepare for the future.

“I would like to encourage the students who participate in this event to pay close attention and accept new ideas. They should consider pursuing opportunities in these fields. Cambodia needs more experts with STEM skills in areas like climate change, technology and medicine,” he said.

STEMEOC director Una McCarthy-Fakhry said the festival is one of Cambodia’s flagship STEM events with the mission of igniting a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics among young Cambodian students.

“Last year’s event was an enormous success with over 13,000 visitors in attendance and 200 STEM projects,” she said.

Environment minister Sam Al said this year’s festival has made a significant contribution to inspiring and encouraging youths to study STEM subjects to find innovative solutions based on science and technology in order to help prepare for Cambodia’s future.

“The rapid evolution of technology has been changing everything, including the way we think, communicate, work and live,” he said.

The minister said technology and science are the core components of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and therefore a strong catalyst for future economic development. The gains achieved in productivity and efficiency will empower all of Cambodia’s sectors and transform the Cambodian economy and usher the country’s traditional industries into modernity.

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