Team UTM Clinches 2nd runner-up at ASEAN DSE Regional Finals 2020

The Malaysian team of Oscar Fang Jack Ling (left in pic) and Quah Chun Meng (right in pic) from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia emerged as the second runner-up of the recently concluded virtual ASEAN Data Science Explorers (ASEAN DSE) 2020 competition organised by SAP SE and ASEAN Foundation.

Calling themselves Team Psyduck, the duo finished behind the team from RMIT University Vietnam which had emerged as the competition’s grand champion; while first runner-up was the Singaporean team comprising a collaboration between students from National University of Singapore and Yale-NUS College.

As part of the competition, the top 10 teams, representing the 10 ASEAN countries, presented various data-driven solutions to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the region.

The Malaysian duo’s project was focused on Digital Integration within the spheres of Quality Education, Decent Work and Economic Growth, together with Sustainable Cities and Communities.

“ASEAN DSE was, without a doubt, an enriching learning experience from start to finish. We both got to learn and immerse ourselves in ASEAN’s development, issues and values,” said Oscar.

“Besides picking up important 21st century digital skills, we also learnt about the importance of soft skills such as communication, pitching, critical thinking, and perseverance from our participation in the competition,” added Chun Meng.

The duo also expressed their gratitude to their mentor, Associate Prof. Dr. Yeong Che Fai (pic), for guiding them throughout the competition, as well as the organisers for having hosted the competition virtually amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to thank the tireless organisers – from ASEAN Foundation and SAP – who had hosted such a wonderful event for the ASEAN youth community,” the duo said.

“The ASEAN DSE programme underpins the cultural diversity that SAP celebrates and embraces in the ASEAN region. Digital skills are essential for the workforce of today and the future. SAP Analytics Cloud aims to bridge the digital gap in ASEAN and empower youths to create more sustainable innovations to address socio-economic issues,” said Thomas Zipperle, Chief Financial Officer, SAP Southeast Asia.
“ASEAN Foundation and SAP share the common objective of equipping youths with future-ready skills that will enable them to thrive in the new normal era and supporting the theme of Viet Nam’s ASEAN Chairmanship, which is building a ‘Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN,” said Dr. Yang Mee Eng, Executive Director of ASEAN Foundation.

In the lead up to the Regional finals, the ten teams competed in their respective home countries between August and September 2020. A total of 852 proposals were submitted for this year’s competition.

Judges evaluated participants based on their ability to collect, analyze and present data, as well as present the best concept that tackles ASEAN socio-economic issues aligned with the selected six SDGs themes – Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and Sustainable Cities and Communities.

The diverse range of issues addressed by youths in the region included social inequalities, relooking into and managing new energy sources, mental and physical health, empowering people with disabilities and youth to be active contributors to community and society, and growing ASEAN’s workforce through digital integration.

ASEAN DSE is an annual collaboration programme between the ASEAN Foundation and SAP established since 2017. The programme is a reliable avenue for young people in ASEAN to improve their data analytics skills and brings about digital inclusion in the region. ASEAN DSE has empowered up to 16,309 students and 1,420 lecturers from 370 institutions across ASEAN countries with data science skills. The programme will keep expanding its reach in the following years by providing inclusive data analytics training opportunities to disadvantaged youths and students.

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