KUALA LUMPUR, 22 July 2019 – In an effort to further STEM literacy in Malaysia and in line with the nationwide STEM4ALL initiative launched in March 2019 with the Education Performance and Delivery Unit (PADU), the Ministry of Education partnered with Microsoft (Malaysia) and the ASEAN Foundation to launch the Future Ready ASEAN platform. The platform will serve as a resource centre, providing educators and students with tools and learning materials to cultivate the necessary digital skills in order to thrive in the 4thIndustrial Revolution.
“As a nation that values progress and development, it is imperative that we equip Malaysian youths with the skills needed to propel the nation forward and leverage the advances brought about by the 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Dr Ihsan Ismail, Head of the National STEM Centre. “In this journey towards becoming a regional technological hub, initiatives such as STEM4ALL and the ASEAN Digital Innovation program provide impetus to spread the message of the importance of STEM literacy and education among youths. Through the Future Ready ASEAN platform, educators and students are now able to find the right resources needed to learn crucial STEM skills with the click of a few buttons.”
Developed as part of an ASEAN-wide initiative which aims to train 520 teachers and 46,000 underserved youth across eight ASEAN countries, the Future Ready ASEAN platform provides resources that allows anyone to learn digital skills online. The platform provides four learning tracks for both beginners and advanced learners in the fields of data sciences, computer programming and Artificial Intelligence. Each track also offers badges upon the completion of a course, which helps gamify the learning experience. Students that reach the advanced level are subsequently invited to pursue additional online courses that will ultimately provide them with Microsoft’s industry-recognised certifications.
The training initiative was kickstarted in Malaysia in conjunction with World Youth Skills day and will continue until October 2019. About 40 educators attended a two day ‘Train the Trainer’ workshop in Microsoft’s office in Kuala Lumpur and following this, a series of digital skills and computer science workshops will be conducted across all states, including Sabah and Sarawak. Over 200 teachers and 10,000 students will be trained with skills such as HTML5 and CSS programming with support from the Ministry and Microsoft trainers.
Commenting on the partnership is Dr. Jasmine Begum, Director of Legal, Corporate & Government Affairs for Microsoft Malaysia, Indonesia and New Markets, ”For the past 27 years, Microsoft has had the privilege of working with the Malaysian government to empower every student and educator to achieve more, especially in the realm of STEM education. It is a cause that we hold close to our hearts, as we believe that the success of a nation lies in education. In line with our ASEAN Digital Skills Vision 2020 pledge, we hope to continue the momentum by launching the Future Ready ASEAN platform as well as through the “Train the Trainer” workshop, to ensure a bright future for our nation and its people.”
The ASEAN Digital Skills Vision 2020 was launched during the World Economic Forum in 2018, whereby Microsoft pledged to provide 15,000 university students with internship opportunities, deliver digital skills training to 2.2 million SME employees, and to hire 8,500 digital workers by 2020 across the ASEAN region. Subsequent to making the pledge, Microsoft partnered with the ASEAN Foundation to help realise the goals laid down in the pledge.
“The ASEAN Foundation was established over 20 years ago with the singular aim to help bring about shared prosperity and a sustainable future to all ASEAN countries,” said Muhamad Nuzul, Project Officer, ASEAN Digital Innovation Programme. “The Foundation recognises that the future of ASEAN is in the hands of its youth. Thus we, as an extension of ASEAN, strive to cultivate an ideal ecosystem for youth to learn and empower themselves so that they can become catalysts for economic, social and cultural development for the ASEAN Community. The ASEAN Digital Innovation Programme is the embodiment of this commitment.”
The ASEAN Digital Innovation programme is one of ASEAN Foundation’s initiatives under its education segment that intends to build the skills of youth to be competitive for today’s digital economy. It is aligned to the plan developed during ASEAN SOMY (Senior Officials Meeting on Youth) to equip youth with the necessary digital skills. The initiative is a multi-stakeholder effort driven by the Ministry of Education and Microsoft, in partnership with ASEAN Foundation, UNESCO, Empire Code, National STEM Centre, and the Malaysian STEM Teacher Association.
The Future Ready ASEAN platform is part of Microsoft’s efforts to democratize access to digital skills learning opportunities. STEM tools and courses can therefore be accessed by anyone for no fees at the Future Ready ASEAN website here.