It takes a whole village to raise a kid. In PETRONAS Group ICT's first Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiative, pupils from Damansara Jaya and Section 7 Shah Alam secondary schools were 'adopted' as mentees by staff mentors under the Brilliant Young Minds (BYM) programme.
Approximately 30 students aged between 13 and 14 from both schools have been selected for the intense six-month (2 semesters) immersion programme with BYM to learn how to code, design, make and present their passions and inventions.
Leveraging on our staff's core competency skills, an overwhelming 50 PETRONAS Group ICT staff volunteered to assist in the programme, where they then took on roles in mentoring, showcase event preparation and overall organisation and coordination of the programme.
Since the first BYM session kicked off in February, the pupils were taught basic programming and circuitry using the Scratch programming software and Arduino. They learnt how a micro controller works like a brain and that they, as the programmer, can decide what this electronic 'brain' can do through lines of codes.
The classes for the first semester were lit up not just by circuits, but also through the pupils' realisation of the potential and power in programming skills. The kids were most excited about how programming skills can help them develop games, and hopefully one day, a robot!
This newfound knowledge was then put to use in preparing the pupils' projects for the first BYM Showcase Day which took place on 6 May 2017 at Tower 1, PETRONAS Twin Towers. Attended by the pupils and their supportive parents, relatives, teachers as well as Group ICT's BYM volunteers, the event also marked the end of the first semester for the programme.
BYM's Programme Sponsor Lisa Chan highlighted the importance of nurturing innovation and creativity in young minds.
The BYM Showcase Day started with an opening speech by BYM Programme Sponsor and General Manager of Business Function-Operational Excellence (OEX) Lisa Chan. In her speech, Lisa shared that by leveraging on the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC's) #mydigitalmaker platform to introduce learning by doing and nurturing the next generation of professionals with higher order thinking skills for the digital economy, the BYM programme also supports the government's #negaraku initiatives to develop Malaysia into a more prosperous and successful country.
At the showcase, the pupils were given the opportunity to deliver their individual TED Talk on stage to boost their confidence, and undeniably, the judges were impressed with their talents and creativity. After evaluating the presentations, Lisa, who was one of the judges, said: "As judges, we were blown away by the quality of presentations and projects; some of whom had better communication skills than some working age adults!
The pupils had the opportunity to work on their communication skills as well as boosted their confidence in delivering public speaking when they pitched their ideas during the showcase.
From right: PETRONAS ICT's Chief Operating Officer Izwan Hasli, Head of Strategic Products and Services Governance Ganesh Kanagarajah and Head of Common Support Services Dr Amir A Samad probed both students and their mentors during the judging sessions whilst enjoying exploring the young minds' brilliant ideas and inventions.
Izwan was pleased to see our staff working and learning together with the students through the programme: "It is impressive to witness the passion and creative thinking of our future generations during this BYM Showcase Day, and I hope to see our staff adopting the same innovative mindset in our own roles", he said.
The second showcase for the programme, which will capture efforts from the second semester, aims to take place in September 2017. Under the guidance of our BYM mentors, the pupils will be exposed to more in-depth robotics coding and higher-order thinking skills. Stay tuned for more exciting updates from BYM!Testimonials on the programme:
"My family and I are really impressed with this programme. I told my son to grab and don't lose this opportunity. My son didn't stop practising over and over his script. He also insisted to wear his black shirt which has Science and Technology written on it for today's Showcase Day." – Proud mother of Ng Yee Cheng from SMK Damansara Jaya who won the 'Awesome Attitude' and 'Storyteller' Awards.
"This programme is very beneficial for the students as they are trained to speak in public. We are proud of our daughter, as this is the first time we see her present on stage confidently. It would be great if this programme can be spread to the urban schools too."– Parents of pupil Intan Radhiyah.
"Personally, I wish this programme existed when I was in school. It is a good opportunity for the kids to be exposed to industry leaders and step out of their daily school routine." – Parent of pupil Ng Jiunn Cheah.
"The students are expanding the limits of their creativity and quickly becoming young innovators." - BYM Mentor Kanahavalli Mardamutu, Executive, SAP Services, Strategic Products and Services Governance, PETRONAS ICT
"The pupils found the programme exciting and that it is a different approach to learning that encourages the asking of questions and learning through hands-on experiences rather than just by the book." - BYM Mentor Faris Iskandar A Rahman, Legal Counsel, Legal, PETRONAS ICT.
The Brilliant Young Minds (BYM) programme was developed by PETRONAS Group ICT in collaboration with ARUS Education to promote interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) among secondary school students through the Maker Education approach, as well as nurture the next generation of professionals with Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) for the Digital Economy.