UCSI University partnered with the Education Ministry to organise a science challenge that required contestants to devise scientific innovations to solve real-world problems. Christened the Student Life Hacks TikTok Innovation Challenge, the competition also required secondary school students to upload a portrait-mode video of their innovations, explaining their game-changing potential. The objective: To make STEM fun. By utilising social media, students could share their innovations with their friends.
The effort could not come fast enough. The Education Ministry’s 2020 Annual Report highlighted that Malaysia’s annual tertiary education enrolment in STEM courses was 47.18% - a far cry from the government’s target of 60%. While there were many interesting videos, Lee Shao Xuan and Tan Ming Qi, both 18, stood out with their innovation called “sports steward” - a device that analyses and corrects one’s posture as they work out. “We both love science and we worked on this device because our friend Cheng Xin injured her knee during gymnastics training due to postural problems,” said Shao Xuan at the prize giving ceremony.
“We tested the device with some of our friends and they found it useful when they were reminded to correct their posture.”
For their efforts, the duo from the Penang Chinese Girls Private High School walked away with RM3,000 in cash and a full tuition waiver to continue their studies at UCSI. National STEM Association president and founder Prof Dato’ Dr Noraini Idris said that the competition was an ideal way to generate interest in STEM-related studies.
“STEM is the engine of growth for innovation and future generations must master it to excel in critical industry sectors,” said Prof Noraini who is also an honorary professor and advisor of the Universiti Malaya STEM Centre.
“By focusing on innovation, UCSI has instilled interest in STEM and I look forward to seeing more efforts like this.”
She added that the National STEM Association had set up a STEM Mini Theatre project for B40 students to ensure no one would be left behind.
Also present was UCSI vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir who said that UCSI had incorporated IR4.0 technology into all its academic offerings.
“Our main objective is to provide a holistic education with cutting-edge digital technology as a means of gaining access to a high-quality education,” she said.
“We have trained our lecturers and students to adapt to the new norm and be agile in an era where change is the only constant.”
Organised by UCSI’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the competition drew participation from 55 schools. Plans are afoot to take the competition nationwide next year.