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GENIUS STEM Talent harnesses nation’s best brains

18th November, 2020

PUTRAJAYA: An education system can only develop a nation’s human capital if, besides academic subjects, it also focuses on the development of critical thinking skills and leadership qualities.

Ahmad Faisal Hamdan, 24, and Abdul Razzak Khan Rustum, 18, who are alumni of GENIUS@Pintar College and Genius Insan College respectively, are among the students who have excelled under the GENIUS programme and they told Bernama they feel lucky and grateful to have been selected for the programme.

GENIUS@Pintar College, which was introduced in 2011 and is run in collaboration with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, caters to gifted and talented students who possess an IQ of over 130 (score based on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale) so as to leverage their potential.

Genius Insan College, run in collaboration with Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia since 2015, focuses on developing the potential of gifted and talented Muslim students with the aim of producing more Islamic scientists, technocrats, leaders, inventors and thinkers in the future.

Ahmad Faisal, who was among the first batch of students to undergo the GENIUS programme (previously known as the PERMATApintar Education Programme), said it provides a fast track education process for students.

“After I completed my Sijil Pelajaraan Malaysia (SPM), I didn’t have to undergo a foundation course, instead I received an offer to pursue a degree programme in the United States. This saved me about two years of my study time,” he said.

Monitoring alumni progress

Ahmad Faisal, who has a Master’s degree in physics from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and is now a failure analysis engineer at Infineon Technologies (Kulim) Sdn Bhd, said students who have undergone the GENIUS programme would have their performance at the tertiary education level monitored by GENIUS STEM Talent through its GSDB alumni information management system.

“The monitoring is carried out continuously to ensure that the alumni are giving their maximum contribution to the nation in various fields such as education, science and technology,” he said.

He said GENIUS STEM Talent also offers the alumni career paths through collaborations with various industries so that the nation benefits from their talents, as well as prevent a brain drain.

Kolej GENIUS Insan alumnus, Abdul Razzak Khan, who is currently taking an A-Level course at Kolej Yayasan UEM, said GENIUS programme students are given the opportunity to carry out research with university lecturers as early as the first year of their secondary-level education – Form One.

“I have published materials and articles (that were presented) at national- and international-level conferences. The exposure and experience have been invaluable to me,” he added.

Good platform to harness potential

Abdul Razzak Khan also said that the GENIUS programme’s education system does not only pay attention to the individual student’s academic achievement but also focuses on unearthing and developing their potential.

He said his own skills in mathematics allowed him to participate in the International Mathematical Olympiad at the Asia Pacific level.

“We did not compare our academic achievements and results but we helped each other. For example, if a friend of mine was doing a study in biology and since I was good with statistics, I helped him with some of the relevant tasks,” he said.

Both Ahmad Faisal and Abdul Razzak Khan hoped that the GENIUS programme would be expanded further as they believe that there are many students in rural areas who are not able to realise their true potential as they are unaware of the existence of this programme due to the lack of Internet access.

Since the establishment of GENIUS@Pintar College in 2011 and GENIUS Insan College in 2015, more than 700 students have successfully completed their studies at the two colleges. In fact, some of the GENIUS@Pintar College alumni have made it to the top universities of the world, namely the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Stanford University and Cornell University.

The implementation of various activities such as mentoring programmes, workshops and courses, in addition to sponsorship support, has created wide opportunities for the students to tap their potential.

The GSDB system, which links the alumni management centre with the alumni and enables them to update their data, is used as a platform to ensure that students who “graduate” from the two colleges continue to excel and improve their skills and competence in line with the nation’s and global needs. – Bernama

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