March 10, 2017
Image (GraphicStock) - Innovation, technology
With the end goal of creating a more knowledgeable and technically advanced Malaysia, local engineering-based infrastructure and services conglomerate UEM Group with support from Google Malaysia will roll out initiatives aimed at encouraging digital innovation and attracting students to STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
The partners will organise coding, circuitry and robotics makerthons for school going students aged between 13 and 17. Known as Project STAR (Share, Think, Ask, Respond), it is an education and community-focused initiative involving lower band schools located in and around Klang Valley. It was rolled out by UEM Group in 2015 with teaching provider, Chumbaka.
Under the collaboration with Google Malaysia, teams from Project STAR will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges after which chosen groups will participate in Google's Code-In, an annual global contest that introduces pre-university students to open source software development.
Dato' Izzaddin Idris, Group managing director/chief executive officer of UEM Group, said: "Our collaboration with Google is in line with our aspiration to play a role in creating a knowledgeable and technically advanced Malaysia. Technology and computers are very much the core of the global economy going forward."
Photo- 250 local students to benefit from new collaboration between UEM Group and Google to encourage digital innovation which includes coding, circuitry and robotics.
"For Malaysian students not to be left behind and to prepare them for the demands of the 21st century, it is essential that they learn basic computer programming skills. I believe that the ability to code and understand the power of computing is crucial to success in today and tomorrow's hyper-connected world," said Izzaddin.
"Project STAR is designed to nurture innovation and creativity amongst Malaysia's younger generation. We started with 2 schools and 25 students in 2015 to 5 schools and 136 participants in 2016, and for 2017, we have expanded it further to 5 schools and 250 students. The uniqueness of Project STAR is the participation of our employees who act as mentors where they guide, assist as well encourage the students to complete their respective project and compete in competition," he said.
In 2016, UEM Group announced it was investing some RM150 (US$33.7)million on an integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud Solution for itself and its subsidiary companies, which demonstrated the Company's corporate social investment commitment, he added.
Some of the Project's past achievements include five of its students winning a spot to visit Silicon Valley via MDEC's Digital Maker Global Exchange Programme; won top prizes in various competitions including International Invention and Innovation Exhibition 2016, KL Engineering Science Fair and Young Innovate Competition.
"Google's mission is to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful, and because of that we are always eager to help whenever it leads to more Malaysian students embracing STEM education along with opportunities that celebrate innovation in the classroom. We are so glad to be part of UEM Group's corporate responsibility outreach that we feel encourages interest in science and technology in lower band schools - something we ourselves love to champion," said Sajith Sivanandan, managing director of Google Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines and New Emerging Markets.
This article first appeared on Computerworld Malaysia 10 March 2017.