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AI for Universities Programme to bridge gap between industry needs and talent supply

30/11/2021 01:52 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30  -- The Artificial Intelligence for Universities (A14U) Programme, launched under the recently tabled Budget 2022 to improve the quality of education, is a testament to Intel Malaysia’s continuous commitment in bridging the gap between the needs of the industry and the supply of young local talents.

The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) said the AI4U programme is an initiative that is set out to introduce an “AI-based machine vision” to the university community. 

“Parallel to the Malaysian government’s aspirations of preparing the country and its youth for the future, the programme supports the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) to advance the digital economy; normalise digitalisation for inclusive development; accelerate research, development, commercialisation and innovation; as well as capitalise on emerging technologies,” it said in a statement yesterday.

The AI4U programme, which was virtually launched yesterday, is organised by MIDA with the collaboration of Intel Malaysia and the Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC).

The event is a continuation of Intel’s pilot Artificial Intelligence for SMEs (AI4S) programme launched in January 2021.

The statement also said that the AI4U programme is expected to benefit young graduates and the underprivileged further through technical and vocational education and training.

Meanwhile, MIDA deputy chief executive officer of investment promotion and facilitation Sivasuriyamoorthy Sundara Raja said it emphasises the importance of cultivating an AI mindset among university graduates, especially those without a computer science background. 

“Effectively, the programme is expected to shatter the traditional notion that AI is only for ‘techies’.

“I am confident that this initiative developed by MIDA, Intel and MPC will serve as a catalyst to the local universities and education centres in proactively creating a new generation of AI-savvy Malaysians who are primed to propel the nation towards achieving the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0),” he said.

He expressed hope that the AI4U programme will also inspire other multinational companies in Malaysia to emulate Intel’s goodwill in contributing back to the talent ecosystem in Malaysia, not only on the prospects of increasing talent capabilities overall but the enhancement of their own value proposition as well.

“MIDA has stepped up its efforts in preparing local talents for future jobs, sharpening the country’s competitive edge to become the preferred investment destination. 

“Being the government’s principal investment promotion and development agency, MIDA has been collaborating with academic institutions, policymakers, and industry players to undertake initiatives that will drive the right skilling and continuous technology grading of the local talents,” he said.

Intel Malaysia managing director Aik Kean (AK) Chong said Intel will be supporting the programme by laying the groundwork for these modules to be executed, including training to the lecturers.

“The AI4U programme is yet another collaborative initiative between Intel, MIDA and MPC to prepare our future workforce for the AI world, after the launch of the AI4S and AI for Youth (AI4Y) programmes. 

“It has been inspiring to work together with MIDA and MPC to address the AI gap in Malaysia, and through programmes such as AI4U, we hope to bring AI technology and knowledge to all students regardless of their specialisation, as part of our overall goal of equipping a wider segment of the population with AI skills,” he said.

MPC director general Datuk Abdul Latif Abu Seman said AI4U is a follow-up programme from the success of the AI4S programme. 

“As the operational partner of this AI4U project, MPC will be managing the entire training process with technical support from Intel,” he said.

The virtual launch featured a line-up of five public and private universities, namely the University of Malaya, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Universiti Tenaga Nasional and Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation.

These institutions were presented with Intel’s AI kits needed to establish their respective AI labs and will serve to empower students of all faculties to learn and adopt AI-based machine vision systems.




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