The second iteration of the ASEAN Data Science Explorers competition has concluded. Hosted in Singapore, three student teams from Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam made it to the top. Out of 801 participating teams from the region, it was Singapore’s NUS High School of Math and Science which emerged as the winner. No small feat, given the triple in the number of submissions this year. Their winning project, titled ‘From Slumming to Sustainability’ aims to galvanise ASEAN to transform slums into sustainable microcities.
A total of 5000 youths across 175 institutes of higher learning in ASEAN came together to increase their digital literacy and cultivate a sense of responsibility and ownership for ASEAN’s future. The central focus of the competition was to tackle six of the seventeen United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Namely, good health and wellbeing; quality education; gender equality; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation & infrastructure; and sustainable cities and communities. Participants tapped on their training prior to the competition. Through a series of webinars and in-country seminars, youths were trained in SAP’s Analytics Cloud software.
Among the finalists, there was good representation of teams across ASEAN and disciplines of study. Ten teams were recognised as national finals winners.
Participants weren’t solely from a computing or engineering background. Students reading architecture and even Political Science and law tried their hand in the competition. They leveraged on the insights garnered from data analytics to make an impact based on their area of study.
How ASEAN youth are using Big Data
Cambodia’s qualifying finalist, The Visionary team, is a good example. Made up of two undergraduate law students from the Royal Universities of Law and Economics, the duo tackled the issue of traffic accidents. Traffic accidents are among the top causes of death in Cambodia. Titled, ‘ASEAN Vision Zero’, aims to reduce and eliminate traffic-related death through improved policies, sanctions and public education and outreach.
Participant’s projects also looked beyond problems close to home.
The other top team from the Philippines, Dimicrocambio, chose to analyse the issue on unemployment in ASEAN and how the education system can be fundamental to overcoming this. Their project is called ‘Recalibrating educational gears through entrepreneurship education’. The project explains the role of the educational system in tackling unemployment, and how entrepreneurship education can empower students to turn their ideas into action.
RMIT University Vietnam’s team Pangolin chose to tackle the issue of disadvantaged trading due to disparity in sea transport capacity among ASEAN countries. Team members are doing their Bachelor of Marketing, and Economics and Finance.
University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s UTCC ASEAN Rangers decided to use data-driven solutions to address the issue of suicide in youths and young adults. With a background in International Business Management faculty, the team was undeterred and emerged as a regional finalist. The project they endeavoured analysed the various factors contributing to the suicide rates.
Big Ideas for Big Data
The ASEAN Data Science Explorers provides a unique competitive platform to strengthen ICT skills and enhance youth employability within ASEAN.
Adeline Lee, Head of Executive Support Division of ASEAN Secretariat, said, “The participants gain skills and insights valuable to launch their own professional careers, contribute to the digital economy and be ready for the Industrial Revolution 4.0. and we are keen to support the continued expansion of such programs through the ASEAN Foundation and SAP.”
In the same vein, Elaine Tan, Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation said, “Education is one of the foundational cornerstones of ASEAN’s integration and socio-economic development blueprint. To this end, initiatives such as ASEAN Data Science Explorers promotes greater cross-border interaction and mobility across the region and equips our youths with critical skillsets needed to thrive in an increasingly challenging and disruptive future.”
She added, “We are very encouraged by the creativity and innovation displayed in the entries today, which is a strong testament to the passion of ASEAN youths to aimfully create a better future for their societies.