GOOGLE, UEM LOOK FOR PRO­GRAM­MERS

Col­lab­o­ra­tion aims to en­cour­age dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion among Malaysian stu­dents aged be­tween 13 and 17

New Straits Times - - Business - KUALA LUMPUR

EN­GI­NEER­ING-BASED in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vices con­glom­er­ate UEM Group Bhd, with the sup­port of Google Malaysia, is en­cour­ag­ing dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion among Malaysian stu­dents by draw­ing stu­dents’ in­ter­est in science, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics (STEM) sub­jects in a com­pet­i­tive yet in­for­mal set­ting.

The col­lab­o­ra­tion will see both par­ties or­gan­is­ing cod­ing, cir­cuitry and ro­bot­ics mak­erthons for stu­dents aged be­tween 13 and 17.

Known as project share, think, ask, re­spond (STAR), UEM Group said the project which was rolled out in 2015 with teach­ing provider, Chum­baka, is an ed­u­ca­tion and com­mu­nity-fo­cused ini­tia­tive in­volv­ing lower band schools lo­cated in and around Klang Val­ley.

“Teams from project STAR will be given an op­por­tu­nity to 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,” it said.

Group man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Iz­zaddin Idris said project STAR is de­signed to nur­ture in­no­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity among Malaysia’s youth.

“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. 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 hy­per­con­nected world,” he said.

“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.”

Since 2010, over 3,200 stu­dents from 99 coun­tries took part in the con­test.

Project STAR’s past no­table achieve­ments in­clude five of its stu­dents win­ning a spot to visit Sil­i­con Val­ley via Malaysia Dig­i­tal Econ­omy Corp’s dig­i­tal maker global ex­change pro­gramme.

They also won top prizes in var­i­ous com­pe­ti­tions in­clud­ing In­ter­na­tional In­ven­tion and In­no­va­tion Ex­hi­bi­tion 2016, KL En­gi­neer­ing Science Fair and Young In­no­vate Com­pe­ti­tion.

Google man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for Malaysia, Viet­nam, Philip­pines and new emerg­ing mar­kets Sa­jith Si­vanan­dan said Google was al­ways ea­ger to help when­ever it led to more lo­cal stu­dents em­brac­ing STEM ed­u­ca­tion along with op­por­tu­ni­ties that cel­e­brate in­no­va­tion in the class­room.

UEM Group has in­vested some RM50 mil­lion be­tween 2013 and last year in com­mu­nity en­gage­ment and char­i­ta­ble ac­tiv­i­ties with ed­u­ca­tion be­ing its core fo­cus.

UEM Group man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Iz­zaddin Idris and Google man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for Malaysia, Viet­nam, Philip­pines and new emerg­ing mar­kets Sa­jith Si­vanan­dan at the launch com­mu­nity ini­tia­tive in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day.

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