Preparing students for higher education

A briefing by Geology Department head Dr Bill Downey.

MIRI: More than 100 Form 5 students from nine secondary schools in northern Sarawak were given the opportunity to experience student life at Curtin University, Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) when the university hosted the second day of the three-day Northern Zone Training and Industrial Awareness (TRIA) programme here.

Selected students from SMK Merbau, SMK Agama Miri, SMK Taman Tunku, SMK Lopeng Tengah, SMK Pujut, SMK Riam, SMK Dato Permaisuri, SMK Merapok and SMK Limbang converged on the university’s campus for a day of activities designed to inspire them to pursue education relevant to the state’s industrial needs and empower them to become the future changemakers.

The day started with an opening ceremony officiated by Sarawak Education Department deputy director Abang Mat Ali Abang Masagus, followed by a talk entitled “What’s Engineering” by Curtin Malaysia’s engineering and science faculty deputy dean Assoc Prof Vincent Lee.

The rest of the day included a tour of the campus, hands-on activities facilitated by the engineering and science faculty and Curtin Young Associates volunteers as well as “Creative Learning Strategy” workshop Universiti Malaysia Sarawak’s computer science senior lecturer Syahrul Nizam Junaini.

Curtin Malaysia deputy pro vice-chancellor Prof Beena Giridharan thanked the workforce development unit of the Chief Minister’s Department and Tabung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Bumiputra Sarawak (Tegas), for maintaining the university as a partner of their TRIA Programme.

“These initiatives are aligned with our own ideals. It is always a pleasure to work with organisations that share our passion for educating as well as creating career opportunities for young people, and help develop human capital for the state and the country,” she said in a speech at the opening ceremony.

She said such exposure was important to broaden students’ learning, exposing them to career opportunities and developing interest in technical and vocational studies after their SPM examinations.

She expressed hope that the experiences they gained at the event would inspire them to achieve their career goals.

The TRIA Programme is aimed at exposing secondary school students to opportunities in technical and vocational education and training (TVET), which has become a significant focus for Sarawak.

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