Archive for the ‘Industry Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0)’ Category

‘Half of Malaysia’s SMEs not digitally ready’

Monday, November 30th, 2020
KUALA LUMPUR: Digital transformation remains a challenge for most Malaysian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), said Siemens Malaysia Sdn Bhd president and chief executive officer Adam Yee.

According to Siemens Malaysia’s findings, 50 per cent of SMEs are not prepared to adopt the new normal of working from home as they are lagging in terms of infrastructure and the system to enable their staff to do so.

Yee said Covid-19 had pushed SMEs to adopt digitalisation to ease the impact of the pandemic on business operations to ensure continuity and survival.

“The pandemic is forcing most SMEs to adopt to digital business requirements for their operations and during the Movement Control Order.

“There are three factors hindering SMEs to move their businesses digitally — the misconception of high cost when adopting technology, lack of understanding of digital technology, as well as shortage of digital talent in the workforce,” he told the New Straits Times recently.

Siemens Malaysia Sdn Bhd president and chief executive officer Adam Yee. -- File Pix

Siemens Malaysia Sdn Bhd president and chief executive officer Adam Yee. — File Pix

Therefore, Siemens, with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, has been conducting the Digital Transformation Acceleration Programme. The company has been appointed as digital transformation labs partner to assist Malaysian companies with digital transformation plans.

Yee said under the programme, Siemens was helping companies identify their business plans using specific methodologies to brainstorm on new ideas, design new business models, develop new products and technology designs, and pilot the implementation plan.

He said when Siemens started assessing the digital readiness of companies, it found that SMEs were unwilling to invest for digital purposes.

Yee said it was important for Siemens, under the programme, to educate and advise SMEs about gains they could achieve through digital transformation.

“SMEs have to start to think what their journey entails or what their goals are to be competitive in the market.”

By Farah Adilla.

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Kelantan student must climb hill for internet connection

Monday, November 30th, 2020
Nurlieda Khaleeda Mohd Azmi climbing up the hill behind her house in Tanah Merah, Kelantan,  yesterday to get a better Internet connection. -- NSTP/ NIK ABDULLAH NIK OMARNurlieda Khaleeda Mohd Azmi climbing up the hill behind her house in Tanah Merah, Kelantan, yesterday to get a better Internet connection. — NSTP/ NIK ABDULLAH NIK OMAR

TANAH MERAH: WITH a mosquito coil and a small fan beside her, Nurlieda Khaleeda Mohd Azmi calmly answers some examination questions under a tent erected atop a 20m-high hill. On her table is her laptop and a WiFi modem.

The hill, located just behind the 20-year-old’s house in Kampung Bukit Petai Tujuh is the only location in her village with good Internet coverage.

Nurlieda studies medical laboratory technology at University of Malaya Medical Centre.

She is fine with her location despite having to put up with mosquitoes, leeches and possibly snakes disturbing her at the hilly forest area.

She said her village and five surrounding villages faced a common state problem of poor broadband and Internet coverage.

“This makes it hard for her and other students who need to attend online classes amid the pandemic.

The other five villages are Kampung Mengat, Degong, Che Nakaf, Jerangau Dalam and Jerangau Luar.

“I returned to my village in July and since then, I have been following online classes.

“Usually, I would need to travel 3km away from my village to receive better Internet coverage,” she told Harian Metro at her home.

Nurlieda Khaleeda Mohd Azmi studying inside a tent behind her house in Tanah Merah, Kelantan. -- -- NSTP/ NIK ABDULLAH NIK OMARNurlieda Khaleeda Mohd Azmi studying inside a tent behind her house in Tanah Merah, Kelantan. — – NSTP/ NIK ABDULLAH NIK OMAR

She said she would “attend” one or two hours of the online classes while she was in a car, as she had to venture further away from her village for better Internet reception.

Whenever there are online classes at night, her father or a younger sibling would accompany her in the car as they try to find better reception.

Nurlieda, the eldest of five siblings, said a few days before her examinations started on Nov 23, she began to worry about how she would record a live video of herself while taking the examination, which was a requirement by lecturers.

Her father, Mohd Azmi Ahmad, 48, previously placed a WiFi modem on a pole, which was set up behind the family home, but to no avail.

“I’ve been using the tent throughout my exams. We used extension cords so that I can connect my laptop and other items in the tent to an electricity supply.

“For one or two hours when the exam is running, I need to take a video of myself using my handphone, which I fasten on a tripod so my lecturer can see.

“I have taken three exam papers and everything has been running smoothly.”

Her father said Nurlieda shared the same problem with his third child, Muhammad Amein Khalielee, 18, a Universiti Teknologi Mara student.

“He also needs the Internet to complete his assignments,” he said.

By Siti Rohana Idris.

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Never too old to gain digital literacy

Sunday, November 22nd, 2020

Crash course: Tan (standing) teaching senior citizens during a workshop in January at the Multimedia University in Johor.

PETALING JAYA: Two years ago, when Dr Tan Yun Yi returned to Malaysia after completing her studies in Hong Kong, she was devastated to see that cybercrime cases targeting senior citizens were on the rise.

Deciding that something must be done to help them improve their digital literacy, she set up Bengkel Teknologi Senior in 2019 at the Centre for Instructional Technology and Multimedia, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), where she is a lecturer.

The two-day programme offered free technology classes to Malaysian seniors over the age of 55.

“We teach them the fundamentals of cybersecurity so they could be more cautious and aware of online scams and threats.

“They are also introduced to creative modules such as digital graphics, digital photography, video production and video editing, which as it turns out, they enjoyed the most.

“In addition, they are also exposed to the usage of mobile apps that could improve their social independence such as ride hailing, food ordering, online shopping, GPS navigation and medical apps, ” said the Kelantan-born Tan in an interview.

She said each programme was designed to have a maximum of 20 participants, and priority would be given to seniors from B40 families or those living alone or far from the younger generation.

Before setting up Bengkel Teknologi Senior, the 32-year-old started her involvement with the senior citizen community when she was pursuing her PhD studies in Hong Kong.

“I would visit nursing homes to keep the seniors company and talk to them. I also visited senior citizens living alone in public housing, ” she said.

In one of her visits, Tan met a wheelchair-bound senior who lived alone and spent most of her time sitting in her living room, listening to the radio.

Although the woman was happy to meet Tan, she admitted that growing old meant losing the independence to do things on her own.

“She felt her days were very long and meaningless as she had to rely on social workers to send her food daily because she was unable to go out due to her weak legs.

“Sometimes, she also had to stay hungry a little longer when social workers were late due to unforeseen circumstances, ” she related.

Tan shared with her the convenience of digital services and how it could help her to regain her independence.

“I told her that food could be delivered to her doorstep via food delivery apps and also e-hailing service.

“She looked very interested to learn more but told me that no one would have the patience to teach old folks like her, ” said Tan.

That was when Tan realised that technology was something the younger generation took for granted and they had forgotten how seniors might be struggling to keep up.

After returning to Malaysia, Tan tried to launch her project by applying for grants and going for pitching sessions but failed.

“It did not stop me. If education is crucial for our first 20 years, what makes it less important for the next 20 years?” she asked.

All the stumbling blocks Tan had to overcome to see her project through has been worth it as she witnessed how it has helped and transformed the senior citizens.

“We saw how they changed from being fearful of using their own mobile devices to being able to make their first order on a food delivery app, ” she said.

Some participants also learnt to use navigational apps like Waze, while several others even purchased a smartphone so that they could use it during the workshop.

“One participant told us she wanted to own a smartphone but could not get anyone to assist her as her own family members were not supportive.

“We were touched when she informed us that our project has made her dream come true, ” said Tan.

Initially, the workshops were scheduled to be held once every two months as Tan and her project members planned to travel to every state to interact with the participants.

However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the workshop had to be restructured as its target beneficiaries were in the vulnerable and high-risk group.

To date, Tan said workshops had been conducted in Selangor, Johor and Kelantan.

Her next step is to set up an age-friendly technology learning lab at the centre in USM.

“With the lab that will also function as a one-stop centre, we will be able to provide more free learning sessions to more senior citizens, especially in the northern region, ” she said.

Tan’s vision is for a future where there will be no more seniors left behind in technology and digital literacy.

“Although we might not be able to reach out to every senior citizen, we hope that this project could be the starting point to inspire more people and organisations to help address digital ageism and digital divide, ” she said.

For her efforts, Bengkel Teknologi Senior is recognised as one of the 10 winners of the Star Golden Hearts Award 2020, an annual award that celebrates everyday Malaysian unsung heroes.


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Internet as the third utility

Saturday, November 21st, 2020
Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the new policy is a step forward and an important benchmark in accelerating the ministry’s work of strengthening the country’s digital infrastructure.Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the new policy is a step forward and an important benchmark in accelerating the ministry’s work of strengthening the country’s digital infrastructure.

KUALA LUMPUR: The recognition of the Internet as the third utility in the 2021 Budget will pave the way for better Internet connectivity nationwide.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said in a press release that the 2021 Budget presented by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz would boost the ministry’s work in terms of Internet connectivity, digital economy, creative economy and cyber security.

“With Internet connectivity recognised by federal and state governments as a ‘third utility’, this new policy is a step forward and an important benchmark in accelerating the ministry’s work of strengthening the country’s digital infrastructure,” said Saifuddin.

Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah

Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah

He said one of the major problems faced by the agencies under the ministry, namely the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and telecommunication companies was the delay in approvals from the local authorities for the provision of telecommunication infrastructure.

“Today, developers need to prepare their plans for two utilities, namely water and electricity. It is not necessary to provide planning on Internet connectivity, because Internet connectivity is not regarded as a utility.

Planning for Internet connectivity only arises after the development is completed. This is the main factor why digital infrastructure work takes too long to complete.”

With this, the approval process and the construction of telecommunication infrastructure can be sped up.

Saifuddin said the matter was presented at the 36th meeting of the National Physical Planning Council, which was chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in October. This will also be tabled in the Prime Minister’s meeting with the Menteris Besar and Chief ministers in December.

“This is part of our proposal to be included in the Infrastructure Planning Guidelines (GPP-I) to facilitate the provision of digital infrastructure.

First, it requires the preparation of standardised guidelines to facilitate the provision of national digital infrastructure.

Ahmad Faisal Mohamed Fiah and Azizah Mochamad Abdul Latif

Ahmad Faisal Mohamed Fiah and Azizah Mochamad Abdul Latif

Secondly, it needs immediate coordination and consultation for the preparation of the guidelines at the state level, namely through sessions involving management and discussions with stakeholders,” he added.

The guidelines are expected to overcome three challenges faced in digital infrastructure planning today, namely the lack of reference sources for digital infrastructure planning for new developments; delays in the provision of communication services; and high cost, delays and consumer dissatisfaction.

This will also allow the people to get faster communication services, a higher broadband capacity and better quality of experience. Local authorities will have better planned developments that make it more competitive and sustainable to attract investors because communication services are already available, while service providers will be able to attract more investment opportunities.

The usage of the Internet in e-commerce, the gig economy and in online education has also increased significantly at every level of society, which in turn has accelerated digitisation towards Industrial Revolution 4.0.

With Internet connectivity recognised as the third utility, the ministry will be able to implement the National Digital Infrastructure Plan (Jendela) 2020-2022 to the best of its ability.

These include a telecommunication credit assistance of RM180 per person for the B40 group amounting to RM1.5 billion; free Internet data by telecommunications companies amounting to RM1.5 billion; Internet connectivity for 430 schools nationwide amounting to RM500 million; the expansion of broadband services for the period 2021-2022 via MCMC amounting to RM7.4 billion and Internet connectivity in 25 industrial areas amounting to RM42 million.

To assist the country’s economic recovery process, the focus is on continuing to boost digital economic activity through Skills Enhancement and Re-Training Programme by the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) amounting to RM100 million to facilitate the transition of existing workforce talent into the field of ICT; RM1 billion Industrial Digitalisation Transformation Scheme which aims to revitalise digitisation and automation activities until Dec 31, 2023; and Shop Malaysia Online incentives implemented by MDEC amounting to RM150 million to encourage online spending and is expected to benefit 500,000 local entrepreneurs including halal and handicraft product operators.

From left: Nor Azila Ramli and Nurul Najihah Mohd ZainFrom left: Nor Azila Ramli and Nurul Najihah Mohd Zain

“At the same time, the more we increase our online activities, the more we need to improve our country’s cyber security controls. In this case, CyberSecurity Malaysia (CSM) was given an allocation of RM27 million to deal with cyber crime.,” Saifuddin said.

Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Faculty of Communication and Media Studies senior lecturer Ahmad Faisal Mohamed Fiah said Internet connectivity was extremely important for communication especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Employees who work from home need access to high-quality telecommunication network access and affordability.

He said it was the responsibility of the government as well as telecommunication service providers to improve and provide more digital infrastructure facilities in the country especially in the rural areas, which required more attention.

Document controller Azizah Mochamad Abdul Latif, 38, said life without the Internet was difficult.

“Internet connectivity is now very important. In everyday life, many things are done online including learning, payment, shopping and ordering food. “Even though Malaysia enjoys a 4G network, it is sometimes still slow. I hope that we can see better speeds with the allocation announced in the 2021 Budget”.

Online entrepreneur Nor Azila Ramli, 34, said she was highly dependent on the Internet for her business.

“As an online merchant who uses social media platforms, namely Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, the Internet is very important. Without the Internet, it would be difficult for me to do business.

“Currently, the children are also learning online and their school work is given through WhatsApp.

“The allocation provided in the 2021 Budget will help to alleviate the burden of the people, especially the B40 who were affected during the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.

Postgraduate student Nurul Najihah Mohd Zain said to further develop the Malaysian economy the government needed to prioritise Internet connectivity.

“Besides making the Internet on a par with electricity and water, the government should add more telecommunication infrastructure and at the same time not burden consumers.

This investment is important to facilitate the people who now rely heavily on Internet access for their daily affairs, and also to allow more transactions to move towards a ‘contactless’ platform.

By New Straits Times

Ministry committed to roll-out 5G technology by end 2022 – Saifuddin

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

5G connectivity may be coming to Malaysia by the end of 2022 or early 2023. AFP File Photo

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 19): The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia today reiterated its commitment to roll-out 5G technology by the end of 2022 or early 2023, with connectivity being one of the government’s top priorities.

Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the implementation would be with detailed planning and targets as stated in the National Digital Network Plan (Jendela).

He said implementation of this 5G network project included availability in terms of connectivity, people’s readiness to receive the network, regulatory and industries’ preparedness.

“In terms of connectivity, it is useless if we have 5G in some areas, when even 4G or others are not available in the rural and interior areas… there ought to be availability of access to avoid the digital divide.

“On industry accessibility, we expect 70 per cent of 5G deployment will be for the use of industries while the remaining 30 per cent will be among the general public,” he said during question and answer session in the Dewan Rakyat today.

by Bernama.

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Addressing digital poverty in Sabah should be a priority – Salleh

Monday, November 16th, 2020

Usukan assemblyman Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak has urged the Sabah state government to find the best solution to the issue of digital poverty in the state. – AFP file photo

KOTA KINABALU (Nov 16): Usukan assemblyman Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak has urged the Sabah state government to find the best solution to the issue of digital poverty in the state.

He said digital poverty was a state of deprivation, especially in terms of information and communication technology (ICT) in the community, either due to the lack of ICT infrastructure or ICT skills.

“Digital poverty is not necessarily related to one’s economic position. A person may already have ICT devices such as a computer, smartphone and high-speed Internet but could still be digitally poor.

“This is because a person is still not proficient in using ICT properly in his or her daily affairs. The community is too familiar with face-to-face communication and has not yet been able to practise the concepts of working from home and doing business online.”

He said this at the state assembly sitting, here, today when proposing the motion of thanks to Sabah Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin for the latter’s speech at the opening of the assembly last week.

Salleh opined that the issue should not be allowed to go on as it would have a real economic impact and cause Sabah to lag far behind in development.

Thus, Salleh hoped the state government could plan appropriate measures or provide incentives to tackle digital poverty in the state.

Meanwhile, in winding up the debate on the speech, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor said the state government would take note and act on all the recommendations made at the sitting for the betterment of the state.

“On the issue of digital poverty raised by the Usukan assemblyman, I admit that Sabah is still lagging in digital development, and the matter will be given attention and priority to ensure the state’s digital communication status can be improved,” he added.

by Bernama.

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Newspapers are flexible language teaching aids

Saturday, November 14th, 2020
Pix for representational purposes only. -- NSTP File PixPix for representational purposes only. — NSTP File Pix

LETTER: I was thrilled to read the article titled “Reading newspapers will help hone language skills” published on Nov 11, 2020, as it brought me down memory lane. I still remember when, in my primary school days, we had a programme called Newspaper in Education (NIE) in which The News Straits Times pioneered efforts to allow students to buy the newspaper weekly at discounted rates.

My English teacher ensured that we made maximum use of the newspaper in the classroom. We had activities like cutting and pasting new vocabulary into our exercise books, writing sentences from selected pictures and photos for writing skills, and not forgetting the reading aloud of individual segments of selected articles.

Newspapers are one of the most powerful tools if we intend to improve the mastery of English, as it will improve vocabulary, grammar, and of course, ideas for writing essays. Activities like identifying main ideas, comparing readings, forming new phrases and sentences from vocabulary collections, and writing summaries allow for interaction with authentic materials found in the newspaper, which gradually improves proficiency in English.

Another interesting activity was when we were given the freedom to create stories or captions of selected pictures of our choice from the newspaper. Once done, we would proudly paste the work on the class notice board. Though it was not an easy task, it sharpened creativity and of course, enhanced critical thinking skills in us, especially after sharing ideas with peers.

If you are a teacher who believes in meaningful noise and positive movement of students in the classroom, then you can try using the advertisements found throughout the newspaper. Let your students search for an advertisement that catches their attention.

Have them write a few sentences or a paragraph about reasons why they chose the ad, and create a display section for them to role-play selling and buying something at their desks. By doing so, students will not only hone their writing skills, but also verbal persuasion skills.

Another group of students who can take advantage of newspaper use in classrooms are those with learning disabilities. Most often, they become frustrated and less motivated to learn English with traditional learning approaches.

I believe teaching them using materials from newspapers can be helpful for special education teachers who want to create individualised teaching methods, since they appeal to students who are not easily motivated.

In conclusion, English language teachers should realise that the newspaper is an inexpensive and flexible teaching aid to improve students’ language skills. It takes practice to get it into the classroom, but it is worth trying.

I believe dedicated teachers reading this will try using the newspaper in their lessons, whether in a face-to-face or online distance teaching mode.


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A micro-credential framework for the future

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020
OpenCreds are unique because they connect the learning experience to automatically generated digital portfolios that showcase a learner’s actual skills and knowledge.OpenCreds are unique because they connect the learning experience to automatically generated digital portfolios that showcase a learner’s actual skills and knowledge.

KUALA LUMPUR: Online learning platform OpenLearning has released the OpenCreds for Malaysia micro-credential framework for Malaysian education and training providers to use via the OpenLearning platform.

Adapted from the OpenCreds framework launched in Australia in July, the framework has been localised to align with the Malaysian Qualifications Agency’s (MQA) Guidelines to Good Practices: Micro-credentials, and ensures that all micro-credentials built and delivered via the OpenLearning platform adheres to existing Malaysian education policies and the Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF).

It is the first cross-sector micro-credential framework for Malaysia, and has the potential to be the new industry standard for the delivery of micro-credentials — enabling interoperability between higher education, technical and vocational education and training, and professional learning opportunities.

The release of the framework is in direct response to the rapid and fundamental changes to the economy that are disrupting labour markets, and the increased demand for new types of skills.

OpenLearning Group chief executive officer and managing director Adam Brimo said, “The release of OpenCreds for Malaysia is an exciting milestone for
OpenLearning, the Malaysian education and training sectors, and lifelong learners. Now, Malaysian providers have the opportunity to not only meet the learning needs of industry and learners, but to also enable them to diversify revenue, increase brand awareness, and future-proof their businesses.

Around the world, the nature of work is changing, as is the frequency with which we will need to upskill and reskill. The current pandemic too has played its part in accelerating the changes and disruption brought upon by Industry 4.0 and digital transformation to the jobs and employment market.

In order for Malaysians to remain employable and to improve their standard of living, they must learn new skills, increase their productivity and be more adaptable. It is this shift in mindset towards continuous lifelong and life-wide learning that will drive our talent and workforce to prepare for the future of work.

The OpenCreds for Malaysia framework aims to enable education and training providers to adapt and capture this opportunity in the market by providing a common structure for the delivery of micro-credentials.

This will make it possible for providers to offer flexible, more affordable courses that lead to credit in a formal qualification, are recognised by industry, and with a high-quality learning experience.

For learners, completing micro-credentials can lead to bigger qualifications or pathways depending on their individual goals— whether for a promotion or career change.

Micro-credentials that are delivered on OpenLearning are unique because they connect the learning experience to automatically generated digital portfolios that showcase a learner’s actual evidence of their skills and knowledge.

In recent years, interest in micro-credentials have risen as competency-based learning continues to gain momentum

Malaysian learners can complete credit-bearing micro-credentials and earn credits towards qualifications or pathways.Malaysian learners can complete credit-bearing micro-credentials and earn credits towards qualifications or pathways.

More employers are now beginning to hire based on competencies, in addition to, or instead of, degrees. This presents a gap in the market for localised industry-relevant, demand-driven, stackable micro-credentials and pathways.

OpenLearning is currently working with key partners in Australia to produce 26 OpenCreds, including higher education leaders like Open Universities Australia, Le Cordon Bleu Australia and DeakinCo.

In Malaysia, some early adopters are already leading the charge for micro-credentials, one of which is Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

USM Centre for Development of Academic Excellence director Professor Abd Karim Alias said, “The OpenCreds framework seamlessly supports the creation and delivery of micro-credentials for both providers and learners. To date, we have already developed a series of over 40 micro-credentials on the OpenLearning platform, with plans to roll out many more in the following months.”

The Finance Accreditation Agency (FAA) is also committed to being the bridge between regulatory agencies, professional training providers and academic institutions to jointly design and develop micro-credentials on OpenLearning.

“We are producing a set of quality assurance guidelines for the financial services sector to turn their continuous professional development and licensing programs into practical, competency-based micro-credentials,” said Dr. Eddy Chong Siong Choy, Chief Technical Officer at FAA.

Dr Lee Yew Kong, eLearning Coordinator at Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Medicine sees potential for micro-credentials in the context of post-graduate medical education.

“Medical professionals do not have the time to complete a 14-week semester-based course. What doctors need are short courses that fit in with their busy schedules, clinical rounds and postings. Micro-credentialing then presents opportunities for a seamless, interoperable system of accumulating credits that clinical masters students can complete at their own pace, on their way towards becoming specialists.”

The OpenCreds for Malaysia framework makes it possible for education and training providers to capture this opportunity in the market for flexible, affordable, industry-recognised online courses.The OpenCreds for Malaysia framework makes it possible for education and training providers to capture this opportunity in the market for flexible, affordable, industry-recognised online courses.

OpenLearning will host a virtual OpenLearning Micro-credential Symposium 2020 on Nov 26 as a platform for providers to come together for actionable discourse, practical workshops and partnership opportunities.

As part of the symposium, and to support the development of MQA-aligned OpenCreds, OpenLearning will announce a RM600,000 investment towards building 30 market-leading micro-credentials via the OpenCreds for Malaysia Support Fund.

Higher education providers, vocational education and training organisations, industry associations, accreditation agencies and professional bodies who want to build their own micro-credential programs are welcomed to apply to the Fund. Successful applicants will each receive, per OpenCred, up to RM20,000 worth of learning design services, access to workshops and training, course building templates and collaborative marketing opportunities.

“The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report estimates that 85 million global jobs could disappear by 2025. We see the launch of OpenCreds for Malaysia as just the beginning of our ongoing support for providers to increase access to lifelong learning and quality education. Through the framework and upcoming symposium, we aim to spark cross-sector dialogues between institutions to form partnerships, innovate and capture market opportunities with micro-credentials.” said OpenLearning Malaysia managing director Sarveen Kandiah.

To download the OpenCreds for Malaysia framework, and to register for the OpenLearning Micro-credential Symposium 2020, head to the site at

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Fate of students without electronic devices, Internet at home highlighted

Monday, November 9th, 2020
With the return of students to online learning until next year, former Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik has raised questions over the fate of close to 40 per cent students across the country that are without electronic devices and Internet connection at home. - NSTP file picWith the return of students to online learning until next year, former Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik has raised questions over the fate of close to 40 per cent students across the country that are without electronic devices and Internet connection at home. – NSTP file pic

KUALA LUMPUR: With the return of students to online learning until next year, former Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik has raised questions over the fate of close to 40 per cent students across the country that are without electronic devices and Internet connection at home.

In questioning this, Maszlee said it was paramount that his successor, Senior Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin addresses the matter to ensure that group of disadvantaged students do not fall behind in their studies during the school closure from today until Jan 20, 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“What is the minister’s plan for 36.9 per cent of students who do not have devices at home?

“What is the alternative plan to ensure that this group is not left behind while their peers get to go on online for classes with their teachers?

“How about poor families and the Bottom 40 group who not only do not have devices but also Internet connection at home?” asked Maszlee, who is Simpang Renggam MP, in a statement today.

It was reported in April that research conducted by the ministry showed that 36.9 per cent of students nationwide do not possess any electronic devices.

The findings were part of the ministry’s research involving the teaching and learning platform (PdP) on access to communications technology among teachers and students.

Radzi had reportedly said that the findings showed that six per cent of students have their own computers, 5.67 per cent own tablets, nine per cent own laptops and 46 per cent have smartphones.

He said the research which involved over 670,000 parents and close to 900,000 students found that ownership of hardware and electronic devices for learning from home was limited.

Radzi had back then said the ministry was looking into the best ways to overcome the problem.

Maszlee had also expressed concern on over 600,000 students who are recipients of the Supplementary Food Programme (Rancangan Makanan Tambahan) and if the ministry has any special plan to assist them and those from the B40 group who were fully dependent on the free meals at school.

By Dawn Chan.

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Companies have to act fast as far as innovation is concerned

Sunday, November 8th, 2020
Did you know WhatsApp users share 41,666,667 messages every minute? - AFP file picDid you know WhatsApp users share 41,666,667 messages every minute? – AFP file pic

DID you know WhatsApp users share 41,666,667 messages every minute? Were you aware that LinkedIn users apply for 69,444 jobs around the world every minute?

This is the latest finding by Domo Inc, a United States based cloud software company specialising in business intelligence tools and data visualisation.

Without us realising what goes on across the Internet universe, an unfathomable amount of digital activity is occurring at any given moment.

This ongoing explosion of activity is the aggregate output of 4.5 billion Internet users today, a number that’s projected to increase even further in the coming years.

What can we learn from the evolution of what happens in an Internet minute? Can you imagine how many millions of people are getting updates on the pandemic at this very moment?

Or just how many people in the world are posting messages on the crucial and controversial US presidential election on Facebook or Instagram every minute in a day?

The Internet has proven to be a catalyst for social, political and economic activities in every aspect of our lives.

Domo Inc discovered that YouTube users upload 500 hours of video every minute of the day. Facebook users upload 147,000 photos and share 150,000 messages every minute, while Netflix users stream 404,444 hours of content at the same time.

The increasingly popular TikTok application gets 2,704 new users every minute of the day and Instagram users post 347,222 stories in the same time.

Reddit, a social news aggregator, web content rating and discussion website, sees 479,452 people engaging with content every minute of the day.

On business platforms, Amazon ships out 6,659 packages every minute, while Instagram business profile advertisements get 138,889 clicks in the same time.

Since the pandemic triggered the remote working or work from home culture early this year, Zoom now hosts 208,333 participants in meetings every minute, while Microsoft teams connects 52,083 users in the same time.

These collaboration tools are widely used for remote working across the globe, including in Malaysia. It appears that this trend is here to stay, especially in the pandemic era.

If we look at how the Internet has empowered digitalisation in its relatively short history, we’d discover that it has been a catalyst for both the rise and demise of new companies and platforms as well.

Platforms like Tumblr, Flickr, and Foursquare were performing so well several years ago, but they have fallen out of the mainstream as they are not as relevant to users today. Companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook have risen to become tech giants.

They obviously have the sustaining power, and in the process, they’ve caught up to longer-standing titans like Apple and Microsoft at the top of the tech chain.

Likewise in Malaysia. This pandemic has allowed us to witness how the digital economy affects many facets of our lives.

E-wallets is one of them, where we can load funds into a virtual wallet and use those funds to pay for goods and services.

The way we look at business has also changed. In commerce, brick and-mortar establishments seem to have become a thing of the past and perhaps one day they may disappear.

Shoppers now embrace e-commerce. Even if they do shop at shopping malls these days, the frequency has dwindled significantly. In Southeast Asian countries, more and more shoppers are “streaming” online malls like Shopee or Lazada to buy their daily necessities.

Innovation inhow we create, do and transact business (and even how we connect with each other) seems to be changing rapidly every day. It requires companies to reinvent and reinvention requires them to adapt to changes in work culture.

Whatever changes companies pursue now will require faster decision-making and improved productivity via the adoption of new technology and using data in new ways.

Companies also need to accelerate the scope and scale of innovation in terms of creating new business models, new products and redeployment of human resources. And that’s for sure.

By Rohiman Haroon.

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