Posted by Penang STEM on Friday, September 15, 2017

The Penang STEM Launch: A kick start to futureproof your skills for Industry 4.0


A World Economic Forum (WEF) report, quotes a popular estimate that 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist. The shift is beginning. The most in demand skillsets are beginning to be those that do not exist five years ago.

This is one of the impacts of the new industrial revolution, Industry 4.0. It will create a new world order, changing the way we live and work like no other time in history.

Penang STEM Launch


Klaus Schwab, the Chairman of the World Economic Forum issues a warning that, Industry 4.0 is fundamentally different from previous revolutions. It is not just a change in digital technology. It is not just an emphasis on robotic technology, or a focus on genetic technology. It is a fusion of technologies and their interaction across the physical, digital and biological domains. It will fundamentally change the way we work and the way we live. “The changes are so profound that, from the perspective of human history, there has never been a time of greater promise or potential peril,” he asserts.”

Unlike the other industrial revolutions, this is not a total upheaval where 100% of the existing equipment has to be changed. Where the playing field is levelled again with, almost, everybody at the starting line-up. Embracing a new technology. This is a revolution by evolution.

This industrial revolution takes a life of its own as technologies build upon one another to amplify the potency in driving productivity and efficiency. The scope and impact is fluid and evolving. It cannot be pinned down in a terse description.

However, many experts are clear on what skillsets are required to embrace the promises of Industry 4.0. While the current soft skills, enhancing human interactions are still relevant, the specific set of ‘hard’ skills critical are well defined.

Navigating future work and opportunities, spewed by Industry 4.0, requires a specific set of skills, integrated as STEM. The STEM curriculum is knowledge and skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Another dimension imperative in STEM education is one of active learning, or the ‘hand on, mind on approach.’ Analytics and the utilization of data will be huge, in the new world where heightened and widened connectivity drives manufacturing flexibility and rapid design.

Experts conclude that people living in states and cities where there is collaborative effort between the public and private sectors to fill the anticipated lack of skills and embrace STEM learning, will be the most likely to succeed in Industry 4.0.

Penang has been visionary in establishing separate centres of education in Science, Engineering and Technology such as the Penang Skills Development Centre (PSDC), the Penang Science Cluster (PSC), ACAT Penang (@acat), Tech Dome Penang (TDP), the Karpal Singh Learning Center (KSLC) and the Penang Digital Library (PDL). To galvanize efforts ensuring that Penang has a viable STEM learning ecosystem to benefit its people, the State Government has formed Penang STEM Sdn. Bhd.

YAB Lim Guan Eng, the Chief Minister of Penang first announced the establishment of Penang STEM at a Press Conference on July 20, 2017.This entity, headed by L.H. Ang, a veteran of the high tech industry, aims at synergizing the energy and effort of the six centres, thus enabling the people to pursue STEM education in an integrated and coherent manner. To strengthen this approach, Ang will dedicate the Karpal Singh Learning Centre to focus on inspiring greater interest in Mathematics education.

The YAB has been consistent in emphasizing the importance of STEM, in not only preparing our young for the future but also preparing the future of our young.

At the Official Launches of Penang STEM; the Sunway Carnival Mall on July 28-30, 2017 and the Gurney Plaza on August 18-20, 2017, the Chief Minister noted that the six centres combined, are already offering 250 STEM related programs. He would like to see greater proliferation of the programs to the rural areas. In recognition to the leadership and staff, YAB shared that he was pleased with the performance of the six centres. Penang STEM, he explained, will create a synergistic ecosystem and a more coherent approach.

Click here to view the list of programs.