To keep up with its digital economy aspirations, Malaysia is rolling out education initiatives to ensure its graduates and educators are ready to face a future of automation.
According to Microsoft Malaysia Managing Director K. Raman, not only will digital competence become a pre-requisite to most future jobs, advancements in technology will also create new employment opportunities.
“Sixty-five percent of the jobs you will hire Generation Z candidates to do don’t even exist yet.”
Raman was speaking at an event last week to announce Microsoft’s collaboration with Malaysia’s Youth and Sports Ministry in the Digital ILKBS initiative. The ILKBS stands for Institusi Latihan Kemahiran Belia dan Sukan, which translates to “Youth and Sports Skills Training Institutes” in English.
Under the initiative, the ministry’s ILKBS technical institutes will have access to all learning tracks under the Microsoft Imagine Academy, a programme designed to help academic institutions train and certify students and educators on Microsoft products and technologies.
The collaboration is aimed at “futureproofing” students and teachers as the world enters the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0.
At the event, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin estimated “by 2020 robotic automation and artificial intelligence will be responsible for a new loss of more than five millions jobs across 15 developed nations.”
And the Malaysian youth need to be prepared, he said.
“What we are doing today is building Malaysia’s workforce of the future,” Khairy said.
After liaising with over 1.7 million Malaysian youths, the ministry concluded this partnership would allow students to reach their aspirations. Through the programme, students will have access to a wider STEM curriculum with a more interactive, hands-on approach to education.
Students will also gain further insight into STEM subjects through the improved learning facilities and varied teaching methods the programme will provide, while gaining industry-recognised credentials.
They will learn basic programming and general digital competence as well as explore virtual and augmented reality.
Most importantly, they will leave prepared for the modern job market.
Khairy claimed there are reports of 6 million unfilled cyber-security jobs globally. He said:
“If the past industrial revolutions have taught us anything, it’s that while new technologies make some jobs obsolete, they also create new jobs.”
The launch was described as a “landmark event” for education in Malaysia.
It will be implemented in ILKBS classrooms from February and the partnership will draw to a close in December 2020.
The programme is expected benefit over 10,000 students over the course of the next three years. This is the first time ever it will be available to students from vocational schools.
“This newly incorporated curriculum will empower students to achieve even greater heights than ever before, nurturing them with the skillsets to compete globally,” Raman said.
The ministry’s collaboration with Microsoft is part of a wider effort by the government to digitalise the country’s education system. The government has also allocated RM250 million (US$63.5 million) to develop the quality and accessibility of STEM education.