Thursday, 5 September 2019

Alternative path to success for Malaysian youth

WHILE we have all heard of the phrase “success is a journey, not a destination”, this journey is not equal for everyone.
A smooth journey towards success depends highly on the vehicle and route taken. We each have access to different routes and vehicle modes.
Besides, not everyone is given the luxury of choice to be a driver or a passenger.
A person’s ability to succeed is highly dependent on his or her surrounding, upbringing and access to opportunities.
Education, information and circles of influence have the ability to shape a child’s ability in the future, or even their performance in school.
Therefore, it is key that name callings such as “failures” or “hopelessness” not be placed on children based on their performances in the early stages of their life.
After all, they have a long way ahead and it would be futile to give up hope on them at such an early phase.
It is important that efforts are made not only to reduce such inequality, but also create avenues that pave the way for alternative forms of success through different routes. The advent of technology has added urgency the recognition of unequal access to opportunities.
This week, the Malaysia Auto- motive Robotics and IoT Institute launched the Youth Forward programme, with more than 200 upper secondary school students from Sabah taking part in its pilot project, as an alternative path towards success.
The programme, organised and coordinated by MARii, is an alternative for secondary school students to be away from academically-oriented education routes.
Through the programme, the students will be trained in various skill-based modules to be part of the nation’s skilled workforce in various sectors.
Participants of the initiative will undergo 30 sessions over four months, followed by practical training that will be conducted for five months where they will be placed in various industries.
The sessions would cover numerous aspects to provide intensive exposure to life skills, time management, safety in the home and vehicle, communication skills enhancement, public speaking, financial management and other life skills.
Modules relevant to their technological future would also be conducted, such as Introduction to Industry 4.0, basic robotics and coding.
The students will undergo a five-month practical training in various industries to expose themselves to cultures and practices of working life.
The programme is an important milestone in our effort to provide opportunities to all, including our youth.
In order to access these opportunities, we believe there should be a wide range of modules to cater to different backgrounds and exposure levels.
The Youth Forward programme is yet another access point towards success through the skill route.
It will be soon be extended throughout the country, ensuring our children receive the early exposure they deserve, based on their own strengths.
At the end of the day, the most important aspect in a child’s upbringing is positive reinforcement of their strengths.
Although nobody is perfect, it is important we work on perfecting the things they do best In future, it is their specialisation that makes them relevant to the value chain of global markets.
This week, more than 400,000 students in Primary 6 would begin their first educational hurdle in the UPSR exams.
While this is a major test for those ending their primary education, I understand it is equally nerve wrecking for the parents and teachers.
Irrespective of the outcome, the results are not an indicator of their future, but more importantly an indicator of the routes to be taken towards success.
Success does not lie in a piece of paper that inks their passes or failures, but in their ability to convert their abilities into meaningful gestures that benefit their families, their communities and the nation.

The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii)

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