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Aspiring Young Innovators Across the Nation Gear Up for the Sime Darby Young Innovators Challenge 2018

Teams from schools across nine states will compete in state-level competitions ahead of the national championship in September 2018

Kuala Lumpur, 27 June 2018 – The much anticipated Sime Darby Young Innovators Challenge 2018 (SDYIC 2018) is back for its third edition this year to hone and challenge adolescents’ innovative streak.

Teams from 300 schools comprising a total of 3,000 students will battle to be named champions of state-level competitions which will be held in nine states – Perak, Penang, Selangor, the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak. Qualifying state winners will then compete to be crowned champions of the SDYIC 2018 National Championship which will be held on 29 September 2018. 

Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) Chief Executive Officer Puan Yatela Zainal Abidin said the initiative encourages Malaysian youths aged 13 to 16 to collaborate and discover innovative, creative and actionable solutions by honing design thinking, innovation, leadership and entrepreneurial skills. “We are proud to be part of this initiative with such a sustainable impact on these young Malaysians, who will no doubt contribute to the development of our nation."

“We are looking forward to see what they have created with their research, determination and imagination because from our experience in the past 2 years, the young ones never fail to surprise us. The winners from last year’s challenge created an affordable microscope that support and aid the education of students from underprivileged schools, which we have further developed and are distributing for free to selected schools soon."

“On behalf of YSD, I would like to thank social business start-up Chumbaka, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), and partnering universities for their invaluable support of this year’s programme,” she said. 

The annual competition is co-organised by YSD and Chumbaka in collaboration with MDEC, with supporting partners for the Young Innovators Challenge (YIC) hosting state-level competitions such as Tabung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Sarawak (TEGAS), Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research Sarawak (MESTRS), Hap Seng Group in Sabah, Yayasan Hasanah in Perlis, Maybank Labuan in Labuan and Cyberview for schools in Cyberjaya, partnering universities as well as Teach for Malaysia.

Endorsed by the Ministry of Education (MoE), the initiative seeks to develop students’ life skills especially in problem-solving, tenacity and collaboration in solving real-life problems with innovative technology. 

They will be guided by teachers and undergraduate mentors to not only invent a solution but also to market it to their target audience. The competing teams will have the opportunity to meet industry experts, STEM professionals and other enthusiasts in the field of innovative technology who will provide knowledge, solutions, information on market validation and entrepreneurial skills to the students. With a total of 9 universities involved this year, university students who serve as mentors to secondary school students will be able to develop their leadership skills as well as explore careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-related areas.

MDEC Vice President of Talent and Digital Entrepreneurship Sumitra Nair said this initiative is one of the key programmes supporting the agenda of the #mydigitalmaker movement, a public-private-academia collaboration to nurture the next generation of talents for high value digital economy jobs. “It has been our pleasure to have been part of YIC journey, which started off with 4 schools in 2014 to 300 schools and 9,000 students impacted in 2018,” she said. “Since launching #mydigitalmaker movement in 2016, close to half a million students have benefitted via training or awareness programmes conducted by various organisations such as Sime Darby and Chumbaka.” 

SDYIC 2018 is different from the previous edition as it has been formulated to be more than just a STEM innovation competition for secondary students. The SDYIC programme this year involved 200 teachers and 242 undergraduates trained to lead the teams of secondary school students, during a 2-day Train-the-trainer (TTT) programme. 

Chumbaka’s Principal Consultant Dr Chew Yen Seng said the initiative is in line with the MoE’s policy to promote 21st century teaching and STEM subjects, as well as create a platform for students to have opportunities, gain experiences and aspirations to further maximise their talents.

“SDYIC has moved from STEM Innovation Competition for Secondary schools to a capacity building programme for teachers where it complements MoE’s initiatives. SDYIC has also became a platform for many other initiatives which share the same vision to support our teachers and children,” he said. 

Under the Education pillar, YSD to date has awarded scholarships worth RM263 million to 3,738 deserving and needy students both in and outside Malaysia. This is in addition to funding amounting to more than RM27 million towards research and public advocacy on education development as well as initiatives which aim to reduce gaps in access to quality education between urban and rural societies, and improve access to basic education for the marginalised.

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Last Updated:
16 Aug 2018
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