Asean youth show the way
(The Philippine Star) - November 10, 2019 - 12:00am

The ASEAN Foundation together with SAP SE and Digital Economy Promotion Agency held the regional finals of the 2019 ASEAN Data Science Explorers (ASEANDSE), a competition that gathered young student competitors across Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to present insights and solutions to the region’s most pressing social and economic issues.

Krystel Iris de Castro and Nicole Dolfo (Team Sustainablue) from Ateneo de Manila University  represented the Philippines with their project focusing on automation and job displacement in the country. Team Sustainablue was the chosen representative of the country as they emerged as the national winners of the ASEANDSE Philippines.

In their presentation, Team Sustainablue said that wage workers should adjust to new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Robotics to screen that there will be no talent inadequacy and stagnancy, as well as to improve market revenue, job efficiency and productivity for the country’s economic growth.

“AI-enabled technologies make it more possible to go about our daily tasks such as checking e-mails, booking cars for transportation and the like, by exerting little effort. Despite these capabilities, AI and other disruptive technologies, such as IoT and virtual reality, put the human workforce in ASEAN at risk of unemployment, especially with rapid digitalization,” said de Castro. 

To address the issue, they proposed the Train and Track method – wage workers should be educated and trained with the right skills needed in Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution, the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies.

This transition can be done by improving the educational systems with virtual access and bridging programs, providing mid-career training for successful job transition and building an integrated ASEAN labor market where their skills are up for utilization. After learning these skills, the workers will then be placed in the industries where they are needed.

Based on their proposal and garnered data, when the needs are met in line with Train and Track, the threat of unemployment due to lack of talent in the Industry 4.0 will be eradicated. They also noted that once the right talents are met, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of ASEAN countries can increase up to 12 percent due to the efficient boost of labor productivity brought by the adoption of new technology. 

The ASEANDSE 2019 competition had 1,341 participants competing in the national finals held in all 10 ASEAN member-states. This year, the national champions progressed to compete at the regional competition in Bangkok, Thailand.

The winners for this year’s international competition were Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand. The three winners were chosen for the excellent capabilities in developing and presenting data-driven solutions that highlight six Sustainable Development Goals, namely good health and well-being; quality education; gender equality; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation & infrastructure and sustainable cities and communities.

Since its inception in 2017, ASEANDSE has empowered over 9,000 youths from 230 higher education institutions in the region with data analytic skills. Participating students come from a wide range of disciplines such as political science, engineering and architecture, gleaning actionable insights from data to come up with solutions that have an impact on these areas.

Ha Vu and Trung Vu (Team AWM) from RMIT University in Vietnam bagged the top spot with their project solution focusing on ethnic minorities as potential sources for economic development in ASEAN.

Singapore’s Team RE:volution, composed of Shi Xuan Teng and Egwin Fan from Nanyang University, was 1st runner up with their project designed to solve the region’s waste management problem while Thailand’s Team NT, comprised on Noppawan Rakthinkumnerd and Bao Tran Ngo Le from Thammasat University, bagged 2nd runner up honors with their project on gender equality in the workforce in ASEAN.

ASEANDSE is a regional program by the ASEAN Foundation and SAP that recognizes the importance of equipping ASEAN youth with skill sets that will help them thrive in the fourth industrial revolution and unleash the region’s full potential.

“ASEAN Foundation is honored and proud to collaborate with SAP for three consecutive years. SAP played a significant role in this initiative as together we are addressing the post-2020 direction of ASEAN youth development that focuses on fostering future-ready ASEAN youth through digital skills development. The initiative helps ASEAN youths to seize the vast opportunities that lie ahead of them. At the same time, the initiative equips them with relevant digital skills they require to tackle the challenges posed by the Industrial Revolution 4.0,” said Elaine Tan, executive director of ASEAN Foundation.

“We have identified that a widening digital skill gap is becoming a growing challenge across all industries and sectors in ASEAN. The collaboration with ASEAN Foundation has helped us to steer our focus on developing the human capital pool to ensure that all ASEAN young citizens have the relevant skills needed to thrive in the digital economy,” said Eugene Ho, Head of Corporate Affairs, SAP Southeast Asia. Through the ASEAN Data Science Explorers programme, we hope to work towards filling the digital skills gap in the region.”

“Seeing the youth as the generation of tomorrow, depa pays great attention to empowering them with universal mindset, innovative tools and most importantly compassionate visions. With the objectives of ASEAN Data Science Explorers being in line with our core mission and the theme of Thailand’s 2019 ASEAN Chairmanship ‘Advancing Partnership for Sustainability’, we are more than pleased to support the program by being the co-host of the ASEANDSE Regional Finals 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand and look forward to many more regional collaborative opportunities to come,” stated Ms. Kasama Kongsmak,.

Krystel Iris de Castro and Nicole Dolfo of Team Sustainablue proufly display the Philippine flag (above). Winners of the ASEANDSE from Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand pose with organizers at the close of the competition (top).


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