12th May 2023 – Faculty of Electrical Engineering (FKE) students from UTM’s Jazari Innovation Club, in collaboration with FKE’s Department of Communication Engineering, successfully organized Technology Community 2023 (TECHNITY ’23) program at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Dato’ Sulaiman in Parit Sulong in Batu Pahat district. Nearly 50 students representing six secondary schools partook in the event. Participants were coached by Jazari Club crews to assemble robots on wheels, code the robots and remotely control them in a Sumo Robot competition held as the climax of the event.
The TECHNITY ’23 program was planned as an initiative to encourage students’ interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) technical education disciplines. The declining interest among Malaysian youth to enroll in universities’ STEM programs is a worrying trend that could challenge Malaysia, which aims to become a developed nation. Additionally, the flood that severely hit the Batu Pahat district until March this year, as well as the current heat wave experienced by Malaysia, had also affected school and co-curricular activities. Realizing the need to play a part in jump-starting STEM learning among secondary school students in the abovementioned area, FKE’s Department of Communication Engineering and Jazari club had synergistically planned and organized the community program to promote STEM application in a more enjoyable and personal approach.
School student participants were attentive to Jazari Innovation Club crews during the coaching session in developing and operating the robot on wheels.
In the organized program, Jazari expert crews guided school students in developing and operating robot-on-wheels kits. The educational robotic kits have been sponsored and supplied by two local industry players, Mechabotic Sdn. Bhd. and Move Robotic Sdn. Bhd. as part of their corporate social responsibilities. The robot on the wheel platform is an excellent educational kit that introduces a quick step-by-step process of assembling robot components equipped with wireless communication and a non-contact control system. The equipment presents beginner to intermediate technical skills and demonstrates a development framework, especially in leveraging technology to create practical solutions.
The event received strong support from Batu Pahat District Education Office, through which Form 2 and Form 3 students from six schools had registered in the program. The six schools were SMK Dato’ Sulaiman, as the program host, SMK Penghulu Saat, SMK Dato Onn, SMK Semerah, SMK Tunku Putra, and SMK Seri Medan. During the event, Batu Pahat District Assistant Education Officer (Students Talent Development), Hj. Yusri Salami presented winner prize awards for the Sumo Robot competition. Hj. Yusri was jubilant with the exposure to robotics given to secondary school participants in the program and welcomed UTM to Batu Pahat again for follow-up STEM programs, especially in rural parts of the district.
Hj. Yusri (second from right) from Batu Pahat District Education Office, accompanied by Muhammad Thalhah Faisol (rightmost), TECHNITY ’23 program director, presenting the prize award to the Sumo Robot competition winner team.
Also Attending TECHNITY ’23 was FKE’s visiting researcher from Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology in Tanzania, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Haji Fimbombay. Dr. Haji, who was attached to the Telecommunication Software & System (TeSS) research group in FKE’s Department of Communication Engineering, was very keen to observe community activities organized by UTM. In discussion with school officers during the program, Dr Haji also shared schooling and pre-university education similarities and differences between Malaysia and Tanzania and how local universities can play their role in promoting STEM education, hence, ensuring local talents are sufficient to drive growth in respective countries.
Dr. Haji from Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology encountered a celebrity-like experience with TECHNITY ’23 participants. Also joining the community program was Dr. Omar Abdul Aziz (leftmost) and Dr. Aishah Muhammad (rightmost) from the TeSS research group in FKE.
UTM’s TECHNITY ’23 left a positive mark on participants in the community program. Organizing the program also honed Jazari Crew members’ communication skills, especially in delivering training in the most effective and timely manner. The event also demonstrated UTM students’ capabilities to mentor others with the skill sets they have been equipped with throughout their university years. In addition to industry sponsors and FKE, the realization of this community program has been greatly supported by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Malaysia Communication Society and Vehicular Technology Society Joint Chapter, UTM’s Centre For Student Innovation And Technology Entrepreneurship as well as UTM’s Office of Students Affairs.
TECHNITY ’23 program deputy director and director Fikri Akmal Aizuddin and Muhammad Thalhah (middle front row) with Jazari crews after the event’s conclusion.