PHNOM PENH —
A four-day workshop focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics will be held in Phnom Penh this month where fifty young Southeast Asians will showcase their work.
Sponsored by the U.S. State Department through the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh, the YSEALI STEM Education Regional Workshop provides an interactive platform to forty members of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) and ten young Cambodians to discuss ways to integrate STEM into their schools’ curriculum, find ways to address challenges in applied technology and discover STEM education's best practices.
According to a statement by the Asia Foundation, which is a co-organizer of the event, between February 28 until March 3 participants from ASEAN nations will attend informational sessions, engage in discussion and a group presentation on topics of STEM education, and participate in invention challenges.
Allen Dodgson Tan, founder, and managing director of the Cambodia Science & Engineering Festival, said hosting the workshop allowed Cambodia to showcase its vibrant technological transformation and leadership in STEM education over the past four years.
“The YSEALI workshop is really great because it is a chance for Cambodia to show the leadership and progress that they’ve made also in the STEM with the STEM Festival, and to share it with other groups in the region,” he said.
STEM Education has become a focal point of the Ministry of Education's policies in recent years, aimed at upgrading the skills of Cambodia’s young population of 15.7 million people, more than 60 percent of whom are under 30.
Hang Chuon Naron, minister of education, last week told a solar energy conference in Siem Reap that “science lays a foundation for us going forward. Technology has pushed us even further into the future. Engineering stimulates the hunger for creative inventions. Mathematics sustains this ‘dream’.”
Tan said that for Cambodia to remain economically competitive, STEM expertise has to expand. “We look around us and see that the world runs on machines. Being able to deal with these machines, to fix them, to keep them running, that is the key to keep the economy running,” he said.
Overlapping with the STEM Education workshop is the country's annual Cambodia Science and Engineering Festival, a joint initiative between the public and private sector. From March 1 to March 3, the festival will host 50 participants of the YSEALI STEM Education workshop to present their projects, engaging larger stakeholders and the public.