23 April 2019, Johor Bahru –  Universiti Teknologi Malaysia has successfully organized its first ever innovation competition that focused on secondary school students from the B40 group. Five groups from five schools around Johor were selected out of twenty-four submissions received involving 72 students. The five groups had undergone a two-day boot camp and an eight-week mentoring session. They are required to build their innovative product from scratch using a micro controller named Arduino. This program was sponsored by the U.S. Embassy that focuses on students from the B40 group. The competition was also participated by students from six other states in Malaysia including those from Sabah, Sarawak, Kelantan, Penang, Kedah and Perlis which were coordinated and organized by university partners namely Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) respectively.

The objectives of this program are to provide opportunities to underprivileged children to learn Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM), to develop life skills – innovative problem-solving, design thinking, resilience, persistence, collaboration and pitching and to inspire continuous learning through systematic exposure to open-source software and hardware.

Participants from SMK Bandar Uda Utama explaining their product to the judges.

In the current Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) era, students are not only required to excel in the academic field but also to be more competitive in technological-related skills. Therefore, initiative and support from government could be seen as crucial especially in developing students with these skills. The exposure is vital to nurture computational thinking that is required in developing their problem solving skills.

The Grand prize winners for the Young Maker Challenge (YMC) which were Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Seri Perling and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bandar Uda Utama will be representing Johor at YMC@AC National on 2nd May 2019. They received certificates of achievement, RM200 cash prize, a plaque and a Maker Uno sponsored by Cytron Technologies Sdn Bhd. The consolation prize winners were Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Felda Ulu Tebrau, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Taman Desa Jaya and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Taman Johor Jaya 1. They each received certificates of achievement, RM150 cash prize, a plaque and a Maker Uno sponsored by Cytron Technologies Sdn Bhd.

Winners posing for a photo with VVIPs.

The Johor State Level YMC@AC which was held at Sultan Ismail Library, Larkin, Johor Bahru, was organized by UTM Centre for Student Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (UTM XCITE) in partnership with the U.S. Embassy and is supported by the Johor Department of Education and Ministry of Education as well as Johor Bahru City Council. The welcoming speech was given by Mr Bradley Hurst, the Counselor of Public Affairs from the US Embassy. The program was officiated by a representative from the Johor Bahru City Council, Mohamad Khairulanuar Esa.