Empowering Marginalized Communities for IR 4.0

The goal of our project is to create a space with equipment, tools and mentors for students and teachers from vocational and rural schools in the interior region of Sabah located in East Malaysia, to experience, experiment and explore STEAM.

Due to inadequate infrastructure and limited resources, students these areas have little access to emerging technologies and current issues related to Industry 4.0, sustainable development goals and disruptive innovations (in which all are encapsulated in STEAM). Consequently, they are lagging behind their counterparts in urban areas as well as the more developed parts of the country particularly in West Malaysia. Similarly, teachers have limited skills in these areas which affect their teaching practice that does not cultivate artistic skills, scientific skills and technological capabilities of their students. There are also stereotypes on those from vocational schools that they are not capable of learning technologies and techniques related to STEM or STEAM which are usually seen as an exclusive field for boarding and elite schools of academic high achievers. Thus, our target population is the students and teachers from these backgrounds.

We run a programme called STEAMathon where we carry out a series of activities: elevator pitch, 3D pen tutorial, drone challenges, robotic championship and workshop on mobile app developments. We provide the participants situations such as operating drones to rescue survivors from a fictional miniature city or controlling robots to battle monsters and save the world. The participants are also learning the arts of elevator pitch, language skills and entrepreneurial skills through elevator pitch. They are able to express their artistic talents in creating objects through 3D pens. We organize this activity at a school in the area and each activity usually consists of a training session (day 1) and a competition (day 2).

Funded by STEAM (October 2020)