Mastercard, Arus Academy partner with MOE to inspire girls to pursue STEM careers in Malaysia
By Digital News Asia October 19, 2021
- Enhancing digital learning with Agents of Tech, a Girls4Tech™ STEM program
- Extend Agents of Tech to all-girls schools, Girl Guide associations & targeted workshops
Across the globe, the gender gap in the STEM field persists with higher representation of men compared to women. The enrolment in STEM among Malaysian school students is also on the decline. To help narrow the gender gap and increase take-up of STEM at the grassroots level in Malaysia, in late September Mastercard partnered with the National STEM Center of the Ministry of Education (MOE) and social enterprise, Arus Academy, to announce the integration of Agents of Tech, a Girls4Tech™ STEM education program, within the Digital Educational Learning Initiative Malaysia (DELIMa) portal.
Agents of Tech is a digital learning platform that offers a fun, engaging curriculum built around global science and math standards. It is localized to inspire Malaysian students, especially girls between the ages of 8 and 17, to explore STEM in their education and future careers. Offered in both Malay and English, the program underscores DELIMa’s mission to promote lifelong learning, providing the opportunity for students to develop the necessary skills to be employable – not only in Malaysia – but globally.
Based on the foundations of Mastercard’s Girls4Tech™ curriculum, students will learn through a series of comics and interactive dialogue where they will follow a character – Agent Aliya – to solve five missions based on themes comprising Cryptology, Detection, All Things Digital, Big Data and AI for Social Good. As part of the missions, students will need to come up with fresh ideas and innovative solutions, receiving a certificate of completion at the end of all five missions.
Dr Ihsan Ismail, Deputy Head of Secretariat (Technical), Digital Education Policy Secretariat, Ministry of Education Malaysia, said, “The Agents of Tech program is timely and in line with MOE’s effort to strengthen STEM education in Malaysia. We want students throughout Malaysia, especially girls, to take on STEM-related subjects so that they would be able to think analytically and be more creative and innovative as these are the most needed skills in the future, especially amidst a highly technology-savvy environment.”
As part of a nationwide rollout, Mastercard and Arus Academy have also received support from the Perlis State Education Department and Miri District Education Office to implement Agents of Tech as one of the learning modules to supplement their school syllabus. Plans are also underway to extend Agents of Tech to all-girls schools, Girl Guide associations and through targeted workshops.
Alina Amir (pic), cofounder, Arus Academy said, “If we want to see equal representation across the board, especially in a male-dominated fields like the technology industry, it is important that girls are exposed to STEM from a young age. Agents of Tech is not only about foundational STEM knowledge and 21st century technology skills but empowering them on how they can play a role in making sure technology is used for good, enabling them to break glass ceilings as future cryptologists, fraud detectives, data scientists, software engineers, among others and creating paths for themselves and other women after them.”
“Today, people in Malaysia are living more digital lifestyles, including children who had to pivot to virtual classrooms and learning. As Malaysia’s digital economy continues to expand, it is essential that everyone is included and has access to this world. This partnership with the government and Arus Academy will enable students, especially girls, to better access STEM subjects and gain an educational experience that will fuel their passion in these areas. It will also give them the skills they need to help accelerate the country’s digital future. The initiative is part of Mastercard’s ongoing support for Malaysia’s MyDigital roadmap which aims to create first-class digital capability in the next five to 10 years. It is also part of Mastercard’s global commitment to bring 1 billion people into the digital economy by 2025,” said Perry Ong, Country Manager, Malaysia and Brunei, Mastercard.
By year-end, Mastercard and Arus Academy aim to enroll more than 5,000 girls across Malaysia in Agents of Tech. To access Agents of Tech, students, teachers and parents should log into https://sites.google.com/moe.edu.my/login/login and key in the ID and password provided by the school. On the landing page, within the students menu under Rakan DELIMa, Agents of Tech is listed as one of the platforms they can choose to further enhance their learning. Students can also access the site directly at arus.cc/agentsoftech.
As of October 2020, Mastercard’s Girls4Tech program had reached its milestone goal of educating one million girls globally and now has a new target goal to reach five million more girls globally by 2025. Malaysia is the 40th country to join the Girls4Tech mission to inspire girls to become future problem solvers.