NDO & APU Empowering the Underprivileged With Digital Skills | Asia Pacific University (APU)

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NDO & APU Empowering the Underprivileged With Digital Skills

A Unique Collaboration for Bridging the Digital Divide

Nicol David Organisation (NDO), spearheaded by the renowned squash champion Datuk Nicol Ann David, has embarked on a transformative journey alongside the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU), converging their expertise to drive philanthropic endeavours.

At the beginning of APU's extensive 40-hour learning programme, Datuk Nicol Ann David assisted kids in becoming acquainted with the educational resources available in the computer lab.

Partnering with APU, NDO aims to harness the university's pool of qualified professionals, particularly through the Asia Pacific Centre for Analytics (APCA), to introduce Creative Computing Workshops. These workshops are designed to empower underprivileged students with essential computational skills, addressing the stark digital disparity prevalent among economically disadvantaged communities.

Commencing on May 10, 2024, this initiative stems from a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) inked between APU and NDO on February 6, 2024. Twenty-five students from marginalised backgrounds are undergoing a comprehensive 40-hour learning programme at APU, slated for completion by October 2024.

Harnessing APU’s pool of qualified tech professionals, the Nicol David Organisation (NDO) spearheads Creative Computing Workshops for children from B40 and M40 backgrounds in collaboration with APU. In this picture, Datuk Nicol Ann David (3rd from the left in the back row) is taking a group photo with NDO members and the children.

During her presentation at APU to inaugurate the Creative Computing Workshops, Datuk Nicol pointed out, “Computer Science helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic, and creativity. Every student is entitled to this opportunity. However, due to their social and economic status, most primary and secondary school students from B40 and M40 backgrounds do not have access to it, creating a digital divide where some students are knowledge-rich and others are knowledge-poor.”

Echoing her sentiments, Ms Hema Latha Krishna Nair, Senior Lecturer at APU who heads APCA, explained the programme's core objective: offering hands-on experiences to B40 and M40 students, thereby transcending passive learning paradigms.

APU’s Senior Lecturer Dr Veerakumar Soundrapandian heads the training team for Creative Computing Workshops for unprivileged children, a joint effort between APU and the Nicol David Organisation (NDO).

“We at APU have formed a training team composed of experienced lecturers from the School of Technology (SoT) led by Dr Veerakumar Soundrapandian, Senior Lecturer of the SoT. The team will lead the children to participate in meaningful and personally relevant computing activities, to study and rethink the creative practices of computing,” added Hema.

The training curriculum encompasses diverse modules, ranging from basic computer operations to fundamental game mechanics, meticulously crafted to instil both technical acumen and critical thinking prowess among participants.

In tandem with the Creative Computing Workshop, APU students, under Ms Hema's guidance, have developed the NDO Students Performance Analytics dashboard. This four-month project underscores the symbiotic relationship between academia and philanthropy, driving impactful innovation in education.

While APU extends its infrastructure and pedagogical support, NDO enriches the learning experience by furnishing robotic kits and imparting supplementary skills in English proficiency and squash.

The MoU between APU and NDO delineates a strategic roadmap for collaborative ventures, aiming to pioneer groundbreaking advancements by leveraging their collective expertise for the betterment of society. Pictured from left to right are Dr Teh Choon Jin, APU’s Registrar and Senior Director of Administration; Datuk Nicol David; Ms Mariana de Reyes, Co-Founder and CEO of NDO; Prof. Dr. Ho Chin Kuan, APU’s VC; and Prof. Dr. Murali Raman, APU’s Deputy VC.

The MoU outlines a strategic roadmap for collaborative ventures between APU and NDO, spanning domains like sports analytics, technology applications, and educational interventions. Both entities are poised to pioneer groundbreaking advancements, leveraging their collective expertise for the betterment of society.

Expressing enthusiasm for the partnership, Datuk Nicol envisions a transformative impact on youth development and community welfare, underlining the convergence of sports and education as catalysts for societal change.

Professor Dr Ho Chin Kuan, Vice Chancellor of APU, echoes this sentiment, affirming the institution's commitment to fostering innovation and industry partnerships. He envisages a dynamic collaboration, characterised by mutual growth and sustained impact.

Nicol David Organisation stands as a beacon of hope for disadvantaged youth, offering a transformative pathway to holistic development. With a steadfast commitment to inclusivity, the organisation continues to nurture future generations, empowering them to realise their fullest potential.