New Straits Times

Pilot programme gives Malaysian students a chance to build their own robots

Organisers say literacy in robotics and coding will become an important requirement in our lives and critical for the progress of mankind

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 May, 2017, 1:06pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 May, 2017, 1:33pm

A robotic programme tailored to provide secondary school students basic designing, coding and sensor training in robotic development has been introduced recently Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd (Digi) together with Petrosains, The Discovery Centre (Petrosains) in Malaysia.

Open to students from schools surrounding the Pusat Internet 1Malaysia (PI1M) across the nation, the workshop is aimed at diversifying the role of the PI1M centres to be a creative learning platform for the communities.

Digi’s chief corporate affairs officer, Eugene Teh said: “Together with Petrosains we are able to come up with a basic robotic programme with a hands-on approach that we hope will engage the students and create interest to get involved in engineering, science and technology.

A pilot workshop was held end of last year at the PI1M in Semambu, Kuantan involving 18 Form Four students from three schools. The four-day workshop, which was divided into two sessions, saw the students designing, assembling and programming their own robots under the guidance of trainers who are experts in the robotic field.

“Through the pilot workshop, we have seen how these students with almost no experience or background in robotics successfully tackled a project that requires a multi-skill approach. Not only do they need to be involved in many technical related decision making but they also have to learn how to work as a team, to think critically as well as to manage their problem solving skills.

“We believe this programme will help to instill engineering skills, computer programming, innovation and creativity among these students, just like the way we envision the role of PI1M as a centre for knowledge learning,” Teh added.

Under this collaboration, Digi will be providing the training facilities in terms of space and workstations at the PI1M centres, while Petrosains will be contributing the robotics training programme, modules as well as trainers.

Chief executive officer of Petrosains, Tengku Nasariah Tengku Syed Ibrahim, said: “This partnership with Digi has seen us customising a holistic robotics programme that encompasses modules covering basic, intermediate as well as expert levels, with a focus towards building knowledge on assembling robotic parts, coding programming and proximity sensors for schoolchildren.

“Our open-source robotics programme differs from others as it is made affordable with the sharing of robotic development tools in an open-source environment at the PI1M centres.”

“We truly welcome and fully support this opportunity by Digi to work together in delivering educational development programme for the younger generation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) specifically in the field of robotics and coding in Malaysia.

“As the corporate social responsibility arm of Petronas in the pillar of education, programmes such as this in the PI1M centres is organised by Petrosains to spark and sustain interest in science amongst students in the hope of inspiring them to take up career paths in science related fields including in the high-engineering, technological field of robotics.

“In the near future, literacy in robotics and coding will become an important requirement in our lives and critical for the progress of mankind. We hope that this partnership will continue in the long run as this will support the Government’s efforts to develop human capital through an integrated education system which involves the support from different and varied corporate parties,” adds Tengku Nasariah.

Pusat Internet 1Malaysia is a project initiated and funded by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commision (SKMM) via the Universal Service Provision (USP) fund. To date, Digi has been provisioned to manage 104 PI1Ms in Pahang, Kelantan, Terengganu, Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Penang, Kedah and Sarawak, and is committed to launch 30 more centres, which will also include in Perlis and Sabah, by end of this year.

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