STEM Education in Asia Pacific: Study Reveals Strong Student Interest in STEM, but Students and Teachers Need More Resources

Amgen Biotech Experience Launches in Asia Pacific to Empower Teachers and Bring More Hands-on Learning to Students

Published November 28, 2017

Hong Kong, November 23, 2017 — Amgen Asia and the New York Academy of Sciences’ Global STEM Alliance (GSA), today announced the results of the “STEM Education in Asia Pacific” survey. The survey, conducted by an independent third-party research firm, polled 1,580 secondary school students and 560 teachers in Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan to understand what motivates students to study science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The results show that while the majority of students like STEM, students, and teachers want better resources.

The findings were published in conjunction with the announcement of the Amgen Biotech Experience’s (ABE) expansion to the region. The three-week in-class lab initiative is launching in four new markets: Australia, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Key findings from the survey include:

  • Students say access to practical experiments and an interesting curriculum are the most important factors to sustain their interest in studying STEM. However, less than half of the students are happy with what they receive at school.
  • More than 80% of the students feel that quality of teachers (who make classes fun and subjects interesting) is important to motivate them to study STEM subjects. Yet less than 30% of teachers completely agree that their schools provide opportunities and/or funds for their professional development.
  • 83% of the students want more hands-on activities, while more than 70% want better practical experiments and more real-world experiences.
  • In addition to limited access to professional training, STEM teachers in the region say their biggest challenge is that the current teaching methods are not focused on cultivating students’ passion in STEM.

“Amgen was built more than three decades ago, by people who saw the incredible promise of biotechnology to develop innovative medicines for unmet medical needs and today have 18 approved medicines,” said Penny Wan, Regional Vice President and General Manager, JAPAC, at Amgen. “The most disruptive changes are taking place in the life sciences and we're connecting the dots between DNA and treating disease. We believe in inspiring the next generation to continue the mission, and do so by fostering an early love for science in tomorrow’s leaders.”

“In a global based economy, it is imperative that all countries develop their STEM talent to ensure economic and social development,” said Celina Morgan-Standard, SVP, Global Business Development for the New York Academy of Sciences. “The Global STEM Alliance was launched in 2015 with the support of 250 global partners to support access to quality STEM education to the students who need it most. We believe that inquiry-based programs like the ABE initiative provide the type of experiences that enable students to develop STEM skills and the critical 21st century skills necessary for the knowledge economy.”

Amgen Biotech Experience Empowers Teachers to Bring Real-World Learning to Students

The Amgen Foundation has joined forces with local partners in the region to expand ABE to four new markets: Australia, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The expansion of the program in Asia Pacific is expected to engage over 9,000 students by 2020. ABE empowers secondary school science teachers to implement real-world biotechnology labs in their classrooms, helping students better understand science and how it influences their daily lives. The three-week in-class lab initiative provides teacher professional development, teaching materials, and research-grade equipment to schools to immerse students in the concepts and techniques scientists use to discover and develop medicines.

A pilot of ABE was run across the four new markets in 2016 and has benefited nearly 100 teachers in the region. Organizations involved in ABE’s Asia Pacific rollout include:

  • Australia: The University of Sydney
  • China: The Zhiyuan College of Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Singapore: The Science Centre Singapore

Amgen Biotech Experience: A Proven Program

 Results of an independent and rigorous evaluation have found that students involved in ABE in the United States show increased confidence and interest in science and biotechnology. Additionally, there was a statistically significant increase of participants’ biotechnology knowledge and skills upon the conclusion of the ABE program.1

“The Amgen Biotech Experience has proven its impact in communities around the world. We are excited to see how ABE will transform the student learning experience and build interest and confidence in science and career possibilities in Asia Pacific,” said Rebecca Lewis, Director of ABE Global Program Office at Education Development Center.

Amgen Biotech Experience has existed for nearly 30 years with over US$25 million invested by the Amgen Foundation in this program, and has reached over 600,000 students across the world. Nearly 100 teachers in Asia Pacific have already benefited from the pilot program. If you are a teacher interested in participating or learning more, visit AmgenBiotechExperience.com.

Reference:

  1. ABE Student Assessment Study

About “STEM Education in Asia Pacific” Survey

The “STEM Education in Asia Pacific” Survey, commissioned by Amgen Asia and the Global STEM Alliance, was conducted by an independent third-party research agency to capture what motivates students to study STEM in the Asia Pacific region, and how teachers perceive STEM-related needs. The survey was conducted online in October 2017, among 1,580 secondary students aged 13–17 and 560 teachers in Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.

About the Amgen Foundation

The Amgen Foundation seeks to advance excellence in science education to inspire the next generation of innovators, and invest in strengthening communities where Amgen staff members live and work. To date, the Foundation has donated over $250 million to local, regional, and international nonprofit organizations that impact society in inspiring and innovative ways. The Amgen Foundation brings the excitement of discovery to the scientists of tomorrow through several signature programs, including Amgen Scholars, Amgen Biotech Experience, and Amgen Teach. For more information, visit www.amgeninspires.com and follow us on Twitter @AmgenFoundation.

About Amgen

Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology. Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people's lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world's leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential. For more information, visit www.amgen.com and follow us on www.twitter.com/amgen.

About the Global STEM Alliance

The Global STEM Alliance (GSA) is a coalition of more than 250 organizations united in their commitment to increase the number and diversity of students in the STEM pipeline. GSA partners are educational institutions, government entities, industry leaders, and not for profit organizations from around the world. Together with the New York Academy of Sciences, they are supporting programs to identify STEM talent wherever it exists, and to inspire and prepare the next generation of STEM innovators. Visit www.nyas.org/gsa  for more information.