August 13, 2020

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Malaysian EduTech start-up raises massive pre-seed funding

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A local edutech start-up recently announced that it has secured US$500,000 in pre-seed funding from various major angel investors.

With the new investment, plans to move into their new campus this quarter, an integrated co-learning, and co-living space.

The intention is to immerse highly motivated students and professionals in a tech-driven community space besides creating more tech-focused programmes in computing-influenced STEAM fields that are increasing in demand from high-growth employers such as software engineering and mobile app development.

The start-up is a new technology and future skills school based in Penang, Malaysia, established to equip aspiring IT professionals with industry-ready skills required for the fast-moving tech sector.

It provides a range of expert-led on-campus training in coding, data science, design, digital marketing, and more.

Currently, the start-up offers boot camps for Android and iOS app development, React Native development, data science, and user experience design.

It also offers a programme that offers a two-year NitroDegree in Applied Software Engineering, where students study and work under the sponsorship of key local tech players for a minimum starting salary of RMD3,000.

The demand for students with innovative digital and creative skills will only continue to expand as Industry 4.0 (i4.0) sweeps the globe, both national and international.

The challenge is not just for individuals to keep pace with technological developments but for learning, institutions to lead the way.

The start-up’s team set out to design a new, revolutionary technology school. The next in the pipeline for the company is to grow its subscription-based offering for corporates and individuals. The approach will provide a number of classes and workshops.

It was noted that the revolutionary new school focuses on expertise and skills, not a paper qualification. Tertiary education can be over-academised and as both an investor and industry leader, it is expected that the start-up has what it takes to lead us in charting a new model of higher education in science and technology innovation.

Revitalising the education system

Education technology is seeing a rise across Malaysia. For example, virtual reality (VR) can bring an immersive environment into the classroom.

According to an Associate Professor from Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Education, the technology is more cost-effective than going on an actual trip.

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are among the technology pillars of Industry 4.0. While they are often used interchangeably, there are significant differences between the two.

VR removes users from the real world into a simulated one, the professor stated.

The sense of presence in the environment makes learning with VR a realistic experience. This is highlighted by stereoscopic visuals, sound and haptic feedback for a sensory immersion.

Meanwhile, AR has the ability to enhance the real environment and perceptually enrich the user’s experience. It is an enticing technology for educators to use as a tool since the real environment gets annotated and informative.

There is a need for educators to shift gears to embrace 21st-century learning. Malaysia’s typical classrooms are often vestigial products of a bygone 20th-century era suited to facilitate standardised mass education and disregarding the need for individualised learning.

With the advent of VR and AR, the country needs to selectively implement these assistive technologies and harness its potential to support immersive teaching and learning.

Pedagogically, VR and AR allow users to have multiple perspectives. Research has shown that the use of VR and AR highly motivates students to engage in the learning process.

Thus, as Malaysia’s education system is now moving towards demanding more technology, so can edutech start-ups capitalise on this demand and provide innovative solutions to help Malaysian learners.

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