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MDEC and industry partners to equip children with digital skills

Image Credits: The Borneo Post, News Report

The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), UNICEF and a mobile service provider in Malaysia with the support of the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced their collaboration to embark on a Future Skills For All programme yesterday.

The collaboration aims to make the learning of digital skills easier and more accessible for school children.

The launch was officiated by the Assistant Education and Innovation Minister.

Also in attendance were Resource and Educational Technology Division deputy director; Education Sector, Sabah Education Department deputy director; the Head of Sustainability at the telecom; MDEC vice president of Digital Talent Development Division; and UNICEF’s education specialist.

School children in Sabah, primarily those from the rural and underserved areas, currently lack the access to digital learning resources that can otherwise assist in bridging the skills gap, thus stimulating the growth and development of future talent in the state.

The programme in Sabah is encouraging to see as school children in rural communities are currently learning these subjects through the aid of textbooks without the opportunity to have hands-on learning as their schools may be deprived of the necessary tools.

The aim is to change that through the implementation of this programme and empower school children from all walks of life to have equal access to future skills learning.

The telecom’s ambition has been to engage one million schoolchildren in Malaysia by 2020 as part of their Yellow Heart commitment and this programme helps set that goal in motion.

The company hopes to empower the underserved communities and strengthen inclusivity within rural areas by establishing a sustainable education programme focused on capacity building.

Moving forward, the telecom is looking to expand the availability of the programme to other communities in Sabah and ultimately, across the country, with the aim of reaching a wider community of school children and to make learning interactive and hands-on experience.

MDEC stated that the agency is pleased to be working with MOE its industry partner and the NGO to enrich the teaching and learning experience of digital tech skills via this initiative.

The collaboration is in line with the aspiration of the #mydigitalmaker movement of MDEC to provide Malaysian youth with essential digital innovation and creativity skills for the future workforce.

In the meantime, UNICEF representative in Malaysia stated that through this initiative, they want to close the gap between those with access to digital technology and those without.

The move is part of the NGO’s efforts to ensure quality education for all in Malaysia, especially indigenous children, children with disabilities, and undocumented children.

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, it must be ensured that no one is left behind – this includes equipping them with the digital skills needed for the future.

Through this long-standing partnership, the parties aspire to explore more sustainable ways to enrich the educational experience for school children in underserved communities and aim to build more digital modules to upskill them in its upcoming second and third phases of the programme.

The programme started in Sabah recently with a four-hour workshop hosted by Universiti Malaysia Sabah with 60 digital natives consisting of teachers and school children from four primary schools around Kota Kinabalu, internet centre managers, representatives from e-Desa, state libraries and selected non-profit organisations.

At the workshop, participants were introduced to the digitised materials and to develop the required competencies to enable a training and learning environment, all of which are facilitated through a digital classroom format.

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