Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in collaboration with the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI), Malaysia Research Accelerator for Technology & Innovation (MRANTI), Ministry of Education Malaysia (KPM), and Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB) had conducted the Drone Edu Challenge 4IR program (DEC4IR) 2022 targeting 5,000
participants from primary and secondary school students throughout Malaysia. The program is organized by the Sports and Technology Innovation Center (SITC), an internationally renowned research centre for research and consultancy at the Institute of Human Centered Engineering (iHumEn).

DEC4IR was conducted online and will last five months, from June to October 2022, with participants from public, private and special education schools. It is a program designed to enhance and support the development of the talents of the next generation of students in primary and secondary schools. It is the result of UTM’s collaboration with all strategic partners to provide opportunities and enhance students’ capabilities through increasing student participation in STEM and optimizing student learning in terms of future knowledge and skills. Thus, producing students who like challenges, reflection, and high quality in system assessment.

The Pre-Launch Program Competition DEC4IR 2022 was officiated on 25 June 2022 by the YB Dato’ Sri Dr Adham Baba, Minister of MOSTI, at the Iskandar Puteri. Also present was the Secretary General of MOSTI, YBhg. Datuk Zainal Abidin Abu Hassan, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Prof. Dr Rosli Md Illias, and the Johor State Director of Education, Mr Md Said Md Daimon.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation), Prof. Dr Rosli Md Illias, in his welcoming speech, said the program integrates technology, teaching, and learning, such as Augmented Reality (AR), IoT, 3D modelling, Project-Based Learning, and opportunities to interact with experts from the industry. The DEC4IR program began in 2020 and impacted over 3,500 students and 100,000 participants exposed to drones, robotics, and programming through a program conducted virtually for five months.

While in 2020, the first year of the implementation of the DEC4IR program, Form 1 to 5 secondary school students were excited to complete all Drone challenges through webinar sessions, quiz activities, assignments, software use, and coding development fly drones. Students could answer all the questions about the challenges posed during the interview session with a panel of drone experts from industry and academia.

The momentum of this excitement was extended to 2021 as 3780 registrations involving 2370 students and 1271 teachers from all categories were competing. It is hoped that the numbers will keep growing by 2022.

This program symbolizes that UTM is committed to supporting the Malaysian Government’s aspirations in achieving the Digital Education Policy, which emphasizes three main aspects: providing a digital fluent generation, enhancing competencies and professional development, and leadership and integrating digital technology in education.