PUTRAJAYA: Elements of computational thinking and computer science will be integrated into the formal education system nationwide starting next year to create a nation of young ‘Digital Makers.’
Officially launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah in Putrajaya this morning, the #mydigitalmaker movement will see a new curriculum with the integration of digital competencies across the board into all subjects.
This means that subjects such as Bahasa Malaysia, Mathematics, Geography and the rest will have computer-science related elements such as coding, sequencing, and trend spotting in the learning process to draw out students’ interest in digital technology, according to Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) CEO Datuk Yasmin Mahmood.
The digital push – under the joint public-private-academia initiative called the My Digital Maker Movement – will benefit over 1.2 million students from over 10,000 schools nationwide for both primary and secondary level education.
“This movement will transform Malaysian youth from mere digital users to makers in the digital economy,” said Yasmin.
The integration into all subjects will start with students in Standard One while basic computer science elements will only start in Form One. The more advanced pure computer science elements will be introduced starting in Form Four.
Students will not need to head to the computer lab just for ICT literacy classes as the learning process will now be ‘unplugged’ and present in all subjects, added Yasmin.
Yasmin pointed out that 20 million Malaysians are active Internet and social media users. “This is also why we need to nurture our youth to create their own digital innovations instead of being just digital technology users.”
“For most young people, digital technology is an everyday part of life. Many of them are avid consumers of digital media,” said the Prime Minister.
“We want to mobilise this generation of young people with the drive, confidence and know-how so that they can embrace and be the makers of their own technology be it websites, apps, hardware, games or innovations we have yet to imagine,” said Najib.
The formal learning process will be complemented with extra co-curriculum activities involving clubs and societies such as Digital Maker Clubs focusing on the practical aspects of computer science.
“Those who are further interested and have demonstrated the talents will then be able to proceed to the Digital Maker Hubs located in communities nationwide,” Yasmin added.
At these centres, students will be able to take advantage of tools such as programming kits, Arduino electronic boards and 3D printing machines to help them turn the ideas into creations according to Yasmin.
The public sector on the other hand will be providing support in the form of internship, learning tools, and teaching modules.
“As 90% of all future jobs will require digital competencies, it is important for us to ensure that our upcoming digital workforce are future-proof and well equipped to ride this evolution,” said Yasmin.
The digital economy currently makes up 17% of the country’s total gross domestics product (GDP) and is targeted to hit 18.2% by the year 2020, but Yasmin is confident that it’s possible to surpass the target given the rapid progress made over the recent years.
The My Digital Maker effort is spearheaded by the Ministry of Education with the support of MDEC.
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