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Malaysia’s Ministry of Education to introduce AI, robotics and computer programming in school

The subject of Design and Technology (RBT) related to Artificial Intelligence (AI), computer programming and robotics will be introduced to Year Four Pupils beginning 2020, according to a recent report.

The Ministry of Education’s Curriculum Development Division deputy director stated that pupils will be taught algorithms on how to develop both simple and more complicated computer programmes.

Software like Arduino Micro Bit will be introduced to students at a primary school level under RBT, to expose them to Robotics, AI, and the coding and programming of hardware.

From next year, students will also learn how to use Scratch, a freeware for coding and other resources.

RBT was introduced as subject to Form One pupils since 2017, with coding also already being taught in secondary schools via Basics in Computer Science (Asas Sains Komputer) and Computer Science (Sains Komputer).

These subjects, the report explained, exposed students to the use of simple coding methods using Microsoft Visual Basic, JAVA, HTML, Javascript, Microsoft Access, MySQL, XAMPP and Notepad.

The report noted that the ministry will do away with specific subjects on Microsoft Word and Powerpoint, explaining that this will be integrated into subjects where students will be required to use the software to prepare presentations.

Moreover, the ministry has been cooperating over the past few months with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation in training lecturers at the Institutes of Teacher Education (IPG), adding that the ministry aims to train about 500 teachers and provide them with adequate coding skills.

In April 2019, OpenGov Asia reported that there is growing concern around the increasing number of cybersecurity scams and data breaches. This has resulted in the immediate need for information in and training in how to more securely protect information.

In 2018, the Malaysia Computer Emergency Response Team (MyCERT) reported that more than 10,000 cybersecurity attacks on corporations and individuals nationwide occurred. Recent incidents including ransomware, banking account leaks and other data breaches were also reported.

By 2020, analysts estimate more than 50 billion devices will be connected globally, showing the increased importance of safeguarding the Internet space for both financial and personal safety.

As hackers and hacking technologies become increasingly sophisticated, the need for more digital security professionals is pressing. Many leading cybersecurity and tech firms have expressed concerns on global talent shortage respectively.

The Asia Pacific University (APU) has, thus, been prompted to address these concerns while demonstrating the university’s strength in providing first-class education in the area of cybersecurity.

At APU, students will be trained to become qualified cybersecurity professionals who are ready to face challenges in the digital world through a wholesome experience.

With the support of industry partners and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), APU is responding to the talent demand, working to train and nurture “superheroes” of the digital space who will combat digital crimes and safeguard digital assets when they graduate.

An industry advisory panel consisting of experts from the cybersecurity field is involved the design of the curriculum at APU, ensuring the syllabus taught is up-to-date and relevant for students to change and improve the landscape of secure computing.

It is clear that Malaysia is working to create an educational environment conducive for tech learning. This will result in students becoming equipped with the skills and resources they need to meet and overcome the challenges prevalent in a digital economy.

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