Speech by Chief Minister of Penang
15 August 2017
This is a special day, a special day indeed. Why do I say that?
For a long time, I have been an advocate of Coding classes for our students and youths, because, I strongly believe that the ability to code is an essential skill that all students should have in the digital age. In fact, I would even go so far as to say it is the 4th R. In addition to the traditional 3Rs of Reading, ‘wRighting’ and 'aRithmetic', we need to add Coding.
Not only for our students, but for our youths too. Imagine a single mother working in a McDonalds struggling by, barely earning enough to get through the day-to-day expenses. And then, after picking up Coding skills, she gets a job that pays her at least 2 times higher! Imagine how her life will have improved just by Coding skills. Not only that, but her child’s life and her parent’s life would be so much better just by having the ability to write software.
The positive impact would extend even further. Industry now is facing problems finding talented people in software. If we can expand our talent pool in software engineering in Penang and Malaysia, that will certainly drive our economy forward and create lots of good paying jobs and more entrepreneurs.
This is why I am very happy and proud to be part of Penang Science Cluster. When the State Government together with industry captains formed PSC 8 years ago, we wanted PSC to spark interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and get our young students excited about pursuing STEM careers. Since then PSC has grown from strength to strength, reaching more and more students and offering greater diversity of programs. Last year alone, 18,000 students attended PSC’s workshops or participated in PSC’s TechMentor programs.
At this point, I would like to thank all our industry partners and directors in PSC who have provided so much financial support and encouraging your employees to help PSC as mentors or in the Penang International Science Fair. Thank you to you all!
For today, I am happy be here to launch PSC’s newest initiative called Code-on-Wheels.
In Code-on-Wheels, PSC will bring 40 notebooks to schools where students will learn and have fun coding by creating their own music videos or video games like Pong or junior Flappy Birds using Scratch, a programming language created by the world-class university, MIT. Each coding session will accommodate 40 students at a time, with multiple sessions until school day ends.
Code-on-Wheels are intended to get students excited about Coding. After the excitement, students then continue their learning in TechMentor Coding with another 12 hours of Scratch in Year 1 followed by Python in Year 2. Students not just learn, but create projects to compete during the Penang International Science Fair.
In addition, PSC is training teachers under our partnership with MDEC so that this coding exposure can reach every student in the school. Imagine that, every student will be exposed to Coding!
Code-on-Wheels will impact 40 primary and secondary schools this year with the plan to double next year.
Today's event is one small step to build a support system that will help establish Penang as a Centre of Excellence for science and technology in Malaysia. Penang as a COE for science and technology is important if we want to be part of Industry 4.0 that encompasses Big Data Analytics (BDA), Cloud Computing, E-Commerce and Internet of Things (IoT).
For this latest initiative, I would like to thank 3 sponsors:
1. Mark Chang of Little Rain Children Trust for sponsorship of the Toyota Avanza.
2. Sunil of Hewlett-Packard Manufacturing Malaysia for sponsorship of 40 notebooks.
3. ECM Libra Foundation for sponsorship of the operational cost for 3 years.
Thank you for helping PSC bring coding to our young!
With this, I hereby declare the launch of Code-on-Wheels!