A Research of Big Data Analytics in the World’s Outbreak of COVID-19

This post is an appeal, an interest, a proposition, an idea and perhaps an initiation to a proper work that might be taken up by those who are in the right fields. It is prepared out of the writer’s to contribute to the idea on how to utilise the approach of Big Data in suggesting a problem solving method to the outbreak of COVID-19.

With current outbreak of COVID-19 across the globe, the campaign of lockdown and Movement Control Order which had been enforced in most countries had turned each citizen to practice something new in their life: social distancing, less movement, new learning paradigms, home-based jobs and new normal to be adopted during this period.

Out of curiosity, automation and information can play vital roles in aid to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic from spreading. Computing world and data science are essential disciplines to provide formulation for problem solving.

This entry is proposing a mechanism on how to identify the next research topic that can be studied by multi-disciplinary researchers particularly those who are familiar with Biomedical, Medicine and Computer Engineering knowledge to provide solutions and conclude remedies for this outbreak.

 

Study of Big Data in COVID-19 Cases

As per suggested by the above diagram, the area of scope of study is the Big Data of COVID-19. To further define its scope, we have identified that the broad topic is the Data Analytics of COVID-19 Family. Whilst the narrow topic of this study has been identified as Big Data Analytics (BDA) of COVID-19 and Fatality Records. Out of this practice, we initially put our focus topic as: Big Data Analytics of Possible Remedies from COVID-19 Case Records and Medicinal Approaches (certainly this topic will be further furnished once the right method of solution has been found).

Out of the identified focus topic, it is expected that the parameters of this study should include: (i) world’s/ local population, (ii) types of coronaviruses, and (iii) medicinal data of previous coronavirus cases. From these parameters, the variables involve might vary and widely defined spanning from the study of big data and computational area itself, with statistical patterns and data deduction/ induction, the types of medical equipments and chemical formulation, the precision of those machines and chemical testing, and human physiology and reactions to the propose remedies.

From this study, the expected outcomes would include minimum number of fatality (and hopefully towards zero death) and the medicinal remedies (approved by most chemists and registered medical practitioners) out of the performed study in this method.

The research framework should formulate on how those identified parameters to achieve expected outcomes. Methodologies can include matrices, optimization, decision support system and computational network. In addition, the scope of work can utilize the facilities of artificial intelligence, knowledge representation and machine learning.

#StaySafe Everyone ❤

 

10 States in 10 Days

This is a throwback story. I have been trying to do a write up of my journey to North America ever since I came back from the States 4 years ago. But commitment constraints, it is only by today I am happy that finally I managed to finish this. Though it might not be the same travelog experience that it should be, at least I still have the entry on the moments that I have spent my time at the Midwestern state of United States of America. And the journey that we have made was to the east coast of the country.

Let me try to sum up my journey of summer holiday in 2015 from the state of North Dakota to Virginia which covering about 10 states in between.

My journey might not be the same as other travelers because I am traveling with my family consisting of 5 persons (2 adults and 3 children aged between 6 to 11 years old). So, I do hope that what I have written here won’t be compared to those who made a solo journey.

May 31, 2015:

It was a lovely morning when I already knew that the rest of my family is coming to USA. I have been living in North Dakota for the past 3 months with my one and only young exuberant kindy boy who attended McKinley Elementary School during the Spring Term. School holiday had just begun 3 days ago. Whilst, his two other sisters and father are on their way from Kuala Lumpur via Doha, Qatar and Chicago, IL before disembarking at Fargo International Airport, ND. I have been waiting for their arrival since 36 hours ago and had been following the flightradar report on their sky journey. Anxiously. They made it at last.

We rented a Chevrolet Impala. The latest edition I guess. Some car brand that never made it to Malaysia. But it was indeed a great experience that we could hire it.

I have prepared them some Nasi Berlauk for the meal on their arrival though they said they would prefer western dish since they were already from Malaysia. We had a couple of Malaysian friends coming over our place to welcome my small family. Had a welcoming chit chat and managed to find some additional groceries for their needs & necessities from the nearby Walmart in West Fargo.

June 1st, 2015:

It was my first daughter’s birthday. We went to celebrate it at Red Lobster in the city of Fargo. We were yet to do any travelling at this time because I was still bound to finish my task at the Computer Architecture Lab, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of North Dakota State University. My visit at this country was as a visiting scholar and most of the time I was spending my time at this lab. So, I left my family to wander about around the city and the campus.

June 3 to 4, 2015:

I was officially on holiday starting today. A day earlier, I met my supervisor, thanking him for all the help and works that we have done for the past 3 months. Saying farewell to my lab-mates and other research teams that I have been working with.

Today, we went to two major attractions in the city of Fargo and they were the Red River Zoo and Bonanzaville. Like any other zoos, we enjoyed watching all kinds of animals not found in Malaysia. Especially the American Eagle of course. And the wolf was huge indeed. The peacock was beautiful and there were rare birds flying around here and there. Bison was indeed their major appeal.

Whilst, Bonanzaville is the depiction of earlier settlements of people in North Dakota. From a house that was made of logs, to the first locomotive ever connect them from rural areas transporting their crops and goods and the local pride in mobile, telecommunications and airplane inventions.

This has led us to visit Fargo Air Museum on the next day to find many real fighter planes that were exhibited at this center including the Global Hawk, Duggy, Wright Flyer and other War Transports. We took an early rest to prepare for our journey to the East on the next day.

June 5, 2015:

We changed our Chevy Impala to Chevy Malibu for easy drop off at the next Hertz station in the city of Minneapolis. Our luggage was packed in the car, I signed off the rental agreement for the apartment that we have been living for the past 3 months. Saying goodbye to our neighbors. Quite heavy to let go but we do hope to make a come back.

We took the route of I-94 and I-494. Its the major motorway and road from city of Fargo, ND to Minneapolis, MN. Just before arriving terminal, we made a quick stop at Albertville Premium Outlets just at the outskirt of the city. We reached the city of Minneapolis by night. The journey from Fargo to Minneapolis was about 5 and a half hours including the 2 hours of lay-over at the premium outlets. We retired at Country Inns & Suites, Bloomingtoon, Minneapolis, MN.

June 6, 2015:

We woke up rise and shine. Feeling energetic after a good night rest. Today, our plan was to spend the whole day at Mall of America. The Mall located just on the other side of the motorway opposite to our hotel. We took a shuttle bus to go there as it was provided by the hotel all day long. There was an indoor attraction of Nickelodeon Universe. A huge one with all kinds of roller coaster, rides, games, water rafts and ferris wheel. My children had moments with Nick characters including Dora the Explorer, Diego, SpongeBob, Patrick and Paw Patrol. We took time off to dine at Bubba Gump Shrimp. Enjoyed the seafood dishes at the premise and highly recommended. We continued window shopping around the Mall until the nightfall. We spent a second night at the Inn.

June 7, 2015:

After Fajr prayers, we checked out of the hotel, took a taxi and headed for St. Paul’s Train Station. We were heading East by the rail this time. We embarked on Amtrak Empire Builder Railway System. Had a long journey of more than 8 hours bounded for Chicago, IL. Stopped at major train stations including Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We even had a chance to watch somebody was giving Sunday sermon nearby the La Crosse Station, WI when the train made a stop there. The weather changed quite significantly that I started feeling unwell. We managed to arrive in Chicago, IL but we were lack of energy to enjoy the scenes. Perhaps due to our diet of Halal, Kosher and Vegan meals, it has affected our enthusiasm of exploring the states.

June 8, 2015:

The journey for this one was quite challenging. After we hanged out at Chicago Train Station for the past less than 8 hours, we embarked on another train serviced by Amtrak Lakeshore Limited. Today, we were bound for New York. This journey was almost tripled the time taken from Minneapolis to Chicago. More than 20 hours we were seated in the car train. I got different people seating next to me, come and go.

At one time when the train was in the state of Ohio, there was this guy came and sit at the empty seat besides me. Got tatoos all over his body, but I was OK to whomever wanted to sit besides me. It was already night time and I hardly seen what he was doing by my side. But it seems that he was trying to find a friend to talk to. Maybe due to the long journey, but his accent was not familiar to me, I hardly understand. I just nodded to whatever he said. I only managed to hear him saying that, he preferred to sit next to people like me (an Asian woman that wear scarfs) because he knew that we would sit at our own boundaries. We won’t bother our neighbors and he could enjoy taking a nap at his own seat too. He also told me that he has been on this train for the past 3 days from Seattle, WA and was taking the whole course of West to East train for this trip. It took him 5 days to reach NY. I was astonished by his story but then, I dozed off.

The journey from Chicago, IL to New York, NY had its course via three other states i.e. Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The stops also include major towns and cities between these 5 states. When we arrived New York-Penn Station, we had nothing much to think about except to bump on to a nice bed and have a good rest. We took the NY yellow cab from the station to Queens where our hotel located, named Ramada Inn, Flushing. Empty stomachs indeed but unlike Fargo, when I searched for Halal outlets by using Zabihah apps, there were more than 180 restaurants it has returned. This time, we settled with chinese food as our supper.

June 9, 2015:

This is the starting day of our 3 days 2 nights package tour of NY-PA-NJ-DC. We engaged with Taketours Bus provider. Early morning we checked out of the hotel and waited for our tour bus just a block away from the inn. For the next three days, it was expected that our trip would be upon scheduled and we just follow its course. From Flushing Queens, we ran down the Flushing Meadows where the movie IronMan3 was shot. We enjoyed the ride on the Queensboro Bridge overlooking the Harlem river and beneath us were networks of road quite complex to our eyes. We entered Manhattan to view the metropolis and all of the major buildings on this island including the World Trade Centre and Broadway Theatre. We made our way towards New Jersey by coursing along the Holland Tunnel underneath the Hudson River. We were greeted by the scenic view of Statue of Liberty on the Liberty Island once we were already in the state of New Jersey. We continued our journey passing by all of major cities in this state. The bus took a quick stop nearby Turnpike, NJ. We were heading to Philadelphia in the state of Pennsylvania.

In less than 2 hours, we arrived at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Our guide gave us about two hours to explore the areas around this Hall. There was also Liberty Bell at the field-side of the Hall, historical boards here and there and electronic boards to display the related stories behind the monuments that we were facing. We hardly got the chance to enter the Hall because of the long queue so we have decided to take our morning break at the nearby food outlets.

Our trip continued to the south. From Philadelphia we went to Washington, DC and to get there we had a scenic journey through the state of Maryland. The city of Baltimore was quite a distant sight to be seen from our course. Once we have arrived Washington DC we were brought to Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Like most of other museums, the exhibits were prototypes and meant for historical facts and figures. Educative and enlightening especially in the areas of outer space and airplanes. History of war and fighter transports were also depicted as part of its narrative.

Other than the Smithsonian, we went to Madamme Tussauds Gallery of Presidents, US Capitol front view from the Union Square photo taking area, The White House, The Washington Monument (memorial to George Washington) and Lincoln Memorial. We stopped at each monuments and pictures were taken for memories. The drawback to our visit this time was the fact that it was summer holidays. Thronged of people here and there with school excursions and children from all over the States were coming for their educational trip too. You just cannot get a decent photo without having someone else photobomb into yours.

By the end of the day, we were quite exhausted. We departed the bus to our next destination but able to see the scenic view of Washington DC as a whole and the Potomac River. The bus tour took us for dinner at one of the Chinese Restaurants by the highway, but we hardly took any. Fortunately there was a small pizza parlour outside the restaurant and we took away a couple of vegetarian and seafood pizza. We met an Indian Muslim while buying the food and learned that there was a nearby Masjid from where we stood. He just came back from his Maghrib prayer and the population of Muslims in this state was about 400+ people.

The bus tour stopped for an overnight at The Garden Plaza Hotel of Hagerstown, MD.

June 10, 2015:

From Hagerstown, MD, we headed North. We were bound for Niagara Falls in the state of New York. We stayed in the bus most of time because the journey from MD to Niagara Falls was about 7 hours. We made a quick stop at the following attractions though; the Corning Museum of Glass and Watkins Glen State Park. Both were in the state of New York. We did nothing much at the two attractions except following the course. The Corning Museum was meant for exhibits of corningware and glass making. Whilst Watkin Glen State Park was a beautiful gorge and waterfall attraction with 500 steps that we made from the top of the park until its rendezvous area. This park was founded by Samuel Watkins.

At the end of the day, we arrived at the city named Buffalo, NY and we spent overnight at Comfort Inn University.

June 11, 2015:

This is the major attraction day of our tour package. A visit to Niagara Falls. This place located in the city of Buffalo, New York and is bordered by the city of Ontario, Canada on the other side of the Falls. We entered the Niagara National Park in the morning after checking out from our lodge. The place was thronged with people and children coming with school trip. There was a Hard Rock Cafe Niagara Falls that we made our stop to buy memorabilia. Prior to visiting the Falls, we were brought to the area of Niagara River where some tourists had taken the ride of Whirlpool Jet Boat. Later of the day then we had the chance to enter the Niagara Falls Theatrical Hall to watch the historical and legendary facts of the Falls. We managed to enter the Falls at midday by riding the Maid of the Mist. The experience was amazing, the Falls was certainly a wonder, the volume was astounding, the ride was overwhelming, nothing compares to this nature. Priceless. The visit was worth every second of it. It made us appreciate about water, nature, environment and life ever more.

By late afternoon, we took our lunch and ready to head home to New York where the trip had started since three days ago. Another 8 hours journey by bus via Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Once we arrived in New York, we stayed at Radio City Apartment on 49th Street W.

June 12, 2015:

After a good night sleep, we woke up healthily today. We have just one more day to spend in New York city before our flight bound for Kuala Lumpur. Early in the morning we took the Subway MTA from 49th St to Rector St. We disembarked at this station with the intention to have a glimpse of Statue of Liberty. We thought to get a ride on the boat to Ellis Island, but it would take the whole day to really enjoy the scene. We ended up watching the statue from Downtown Manhattan in the area of Battery Park. We saw the World Trade Centre building too from this area. After a quick stroll at the Battery Park, we went back to Times Square for souvenir shopping and checked out from the hotel. It was a sweet but short visit. We hope to come back to NYC for more. We have yet to visit hundreds more places around this city and state. We rented Ford Escape Titanium from Hertz and headed south to DC.

From New York, NY to Sterling, VA, it was a 4 hours drive with several stops including Maryland and Delaware. We arrived at a friend’s house in the neighborhood of Vienna, Virginia. Fron dinner to supper till late night we were chit chatting. We forgot to check in our reserved hotel. So we just stayed a night at their place.

Just 13, 2015:

It’s our departure day bound for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia today!! But before going to the airport, we made our last quick stop at Leesburg Premium Outlets, Virginia. We spent a couple of hours here shopping and strolling around this area. By noon, we went to a nearby Turkish Diner to feed our empty tummy. It was a nice meal combination of the Turks and Greeks managed by a Muslim Greek. After the lunch, we headed for Washington-Dulles Airport, Virginia. It was in the late evening that boarded the plane to Kuala Lumpur via Istanbul, Turkey on a Turkish Airlines.

We are grateful for each and every bit of this journey, from the beginning to its completion, from its initial effort of coming to the States through J1 visa of my role as visiting scholar to the North Dakota State University until the graduation of my PhD. Everything is as sweet as it is.

Some quick facts:

For the past 10 days of travelogs,

From Fargo, ND to Sterling, VA.

10 states + DC were involved.

2 types of car rentals were used.

2 rail systems were occupied.

1 tour bus was engaged.

13 attractions were visited.

2 premium outlets were visited.

Prior to that, more than 100 days of lifelong learning experience were embraced while we were in Fargo, ND.

It won’t stop there.

And I am thankful to be given this opportunity. I am delighted to see people inspired by this journey too and would encourage anybody to follow suit.

May you find the answer to your life journey too!

Take care dear readers.

How Does an eProfiling System for Malaysian TVET Instructor Work?

Prior to this post, I have written at least 3 entries about TVET in Malaysia. The first entry was about its framework in comparison to other ASEAN countries, the second entry was about Malaysian TVET Landscape, and the third entry was about the ministerial conflict in managing TVET in comparison to other major World players. For this entry, I am going to write on the most crucial resources and asset in the area of TVET, i.e. human capital and a system that register its details called eProfiling.

agensi terlibat eprofiling

EProfiling is an online system located at the URL of http://eprofiling.ciast.gov.my/ . It was built and governed by one of the renowned TVET institution known as Centre for Instructor and Advanced Skill Training (CIAST). CIAST has her historical timeline that it has been the leading institution in the area of Capacity Building and Train-of-Trainers. This is not only for the institutions in Malaysia but also internationally recognised especially to those countries participated with JICA’s Third Country Training Programme (TCTP) and Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) managed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs (prior to this, it was managed by Economic Planning Unit (EPU)).

The training approaches came in many range, and were known in many names, e.g. (i) Pedagogy, (ii) Andragogy (for adult learning), (iii) Cert IV (Australian method), (iv) Train-the-Trainer (TTT), … and many more. All with the same aim of certifying the teachers or trainers to be able to deliver training and conduct teaching for their subject matter. All to accredit the instructors that they have the ability to teach and train others in accordance to their area of expertise.

But with vast training institutions and high volume of training providers, it is crucial to administer and register the details of the trainers to a centralised system. This is what the initiative that has taken by CIAST. Having more than 18 agencies to participate in this system to date and to target for about more 30,000 registered instructors by the year 2020. It is certainly contributing to the big data of the instructors and require meticulous management on the system. Hence, continuous research should also complement it.

Due to this fact, I have taken the step to find the opportunity to do presentation on this system abroad. And I feel honoured that one of the international conferences on academic and education development forum had accepted our request to join their serial journal publication. It will be in March this year in Tokyo, Japan. But in preparation to that conference, I am writing this post to introduce to the readers on the overview of this system.

This system is to leverage the following items:

(i) There would be a centralised system that register and contain the details of all available technical and vocational trainers in this country (Malaysia).

(ii) There is a centralised system for searching the instructors with specific abilities and competencies that they do not limit their teaching delivery within their own institutions rather it can be shared and borrowed.

(iii) Transfer of Technology. Transfer of Knowledge and Expertise. Whence there is one a centre that creates pool of details for skilled teachers, it would be easier to find required master trainers to train others from the same discipline too.

(iv) Providing the instructors with the right Industrial Training Attachment. Once, the system was able to identify the instructor’s ability, competencies and industrial sectors that they are capable, upgrading their skills should be simplified to the areas within the gap and within their specific discipline and specialisation.

(v) Further research on training methodology, skill upgrading, technical ability requirements and technology updates should be able to be identified from this system. It is through these researches that TVET training is hoped to be aligned with the latest industry analysis and market needs.

instructor tvet bertauliah 30k - 2020

It is a commendable system indeed to have the pool of trainers registered at one server. Agencies from different ministries including Ministry of Human Resources, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Home Affairs, … and most of TVET and skill training centres in this country has participated in providing their resources and human capital strengths.

It is with the hope that through this strengths that we are able to build better nation, with better people, community and better socio-economic development.

 

Computer and Humanity

For the past one month, it happened that I had attended and delivered series of talks on the topic of Industrial Revolution 4.0 particularly in human capital development and the projection of the workforce in Malaysia. Though debates have been actively highlighted that we are yet to be at that revolution level, the interest among the governmental agencies as well as the manufacturing, production and computer-based industries had been contributing to the healthy discourses and practical implementation in this country.

For the past couple of talks that I have done, my children had followed suit. They said, this is one of their favourite slides that I have presented that they enjoyed on the significance of its existence. You see, the children’s opinions and feedbacks are of equal importance to me because the revolution is for them and the projection of future generation is certainly for their better life. So, I took upon their comment to publish this particular posting about the explanation behind this picture.

About Computer and Humanity.

Because today’s generation was born with an environment that every physical thing is connected by one another if not more than two, at least they saw most of their computer-aided systems are just around the corner in their houses. They had missed the fact that the origin of those words were not actually coming from the computing world. For example, ‘thread‘ in a social media application is actually an adaptation to the ‘thread‘ that connects two pieces of clothes when we do sewing. Or the word ‘viral‘ which is also mainly used in social media applications is actually originated from the ‘viral‘ that may cause diseases in health sciences and medical studies. And perhaps, one last example is the word ‘meme‘ which was not originally English rather a greek word for showing an imitation, had evolved to be of a thing within the Internet media users. The Internet ‘meme‘ means an image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations (Google Dictionary).

Computer and Humanity

Back to the picture shown in this posting. Those are among the adapted English words that have different meaning from its original areas of study but had evolved to something new in the computing and Internet World. Though to some people, this development is quite disturbing, it is in fact inevitable because of its nature of quickly being spread over the Internet. The trend-setters were sometimes unintentional. But once it has been used by more than one community, it was accepted as a universal terminology in the World of Computers.

  1. Cognitive is the study in the area of Psychology. Cognitive is about the brain and how it works in a human body in determining the good and the bad thing of an action or reaction to the problems encountered. However, the basis of this process had been taken that, that is how the computer works too. The computer imitates the brain of a human to process logic, truth, false, right or wrong in a decision making consequences.
  2. Cloud is a meteorological thing. It is in the sky. At least that was what we have been taught at schools. But for current generation, the cloud is something you use as a storage to your big data and other media and documents which is quite handy and less space taken in spite of the use of multiple flash disks or external hard disks. I guess, that is why the word cloud was chosen. You can see but you cannot touch. It is accessible where ever you go provided that you have the account settings and host servers.
  3. Heuristics is from the area of Psychology too. It is about how we perceive things when we receive the news. Different people measure different kind of news according to their experience and understanding. This is perhaps another reason on why the word was chosen in this particular study of Human Computer Interaction (HCI). Through social media, a photo worth a thousand words. Different people interprets the meaning of a friend’s picture in many angles. That is the heuristics study in computing world.
  4. Neural Networks is a study within the Biological Nervous System. Our nervous system works as a coordinator from one signal in a body part to another for action and reaction. The neural network is another part of our function that works on how to do decision making when our body is facing certain conditions. Because of this function, the same application goes to the computing world. That the neural networks is adapting on how our body’s coordinator makes decision to our actions in the aspects of physical, emotional and rational of a cause.
  5. Ontology is created by philosophical people in the area of metaphysics. The ontology is the study on relationships. In metaphysics, one entity is connected to another by a factor. The relationship might be of mutual, cardinal or existential. This is a complex process of study. However, it has evolved to be of an important study in computer programming and knowledge-based representations too. The computer had translated the ontology in terms of its logic and the calculus of relationship from one entity to another.
  6. Semantics is from the area of linguistics. It is how people communicate and how to ensure that the interaction is perceived as per it was meant. It is not an easy task because the sender might mean something else but the receiver did not get the gist of the sender’s diction. This is how the semantics came into the limelight. Semantics is also emphasizing on how one item is connected to another and the predicate that explains it from its source. The study of semantics had begun to be rigorous since most of the computer-based applications need to understand the human needs in order for them to yield the expected values.
  7. Sentiment is a psychological study in human development. It imitates on how the people’s feelings particularly from visual images that they perceived. It is of importance to create a healthy sentiment in order to project a healthy development within a message. However, the viral messages and threads within the social media are mostly came from the negative sentiments among its users. Still, this kind of sentiment had been studied on what had caused the community to react in such a way to things that were unnecessary.
  8. Web is from the study of living thing. It’s a spider’s home. Easy to remember and perhaps easy to relate. Why it has been chosen as an Internet thing? Certainly because of its structure that connects from one point of to another and amazingly built with more than one level, a complex of spider threads, and quickly constructed, that is why the word Web was chosen to visualize the use of Internet.

You see, most of the applications in a computer system imitate the needs of a human development. It was once invented to help people in simplifying their tasks and problem solving to some daily complex systems. Computers in the house, in the office, in a laboratory, in governmental agencies, in manufacturing plants, in hospitals, in schools and many other buildings. To the extent that it is feared that these innovations might affect our next generations to be much dependable on the machines rather than their own judgements.

That is the main concern for this revolution and need to be addressed by us all. Together !

The STEM, Keywords and Career Choices

We know STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. But not many know on what options do we have out of its knowledge and skills that it offers. This infographic might be simple and less details. But to some, I believe it would give so much meanings and direction to the much debated STEM abbreviation.

This is STEM from my point of view. This is especially for the young generations seeking the meaning of their education and subject matter streaming. I believe you are going to  wander more by just looking at this simple graphics.

STEM Diagram

Science is the fundamentals that hold stories about the basic things in life and living creatures.

Technology is the applications to the science and engineering that makes life easier and provision of facilities.

Engineering is the formulations to the scientific theories and provides support to most of living necessities.

Mathematics is the rules of logic that promotes common senses in making life a better living from one phase to another.

World Civilization and History of Technology

What makes our development of technology today is a yield of historical value of human kind ever since they have existed on this planet (i.e. Earth).

  1. Sumerian Civilization (3500 B.C. to 2000 B.C.), in the Middle East between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. It is the world’s first civilization where people lived together in a city-state. Invented a written language, developed science and mathematics to a high degree, developed a 12-month lunar calendar, invented wheel and made vehicles, and invented the plow and sailboat. The notable prophet to live in this era is Adam (A.S.).
  2. Babylonian Civilization (2000 B.C. to 1155 B.C.), located on the Euphrates River. It is the birthplace of a devised code of laws known as Code of Hammurabi, ability to study astronomy, and created beautiful gardens of Gate of Ishtar and Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The notable prophet to live in this era is Idris, Noah, and Ibrahim (A.S.).

    Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 5.46.44 PM
    Image source:
    https://www.history.com/news/hanging-gardens-existed-but-not-in-babylon
  3. Assyrian Civilization (1600 B.C. to 612 B.C.), in Northern Mesopotamia. It created the first library, built a system of road, ruled their extended kingdom with appointed governors, the first to develop a standing army, and developed a mail service. The notable prophet to live in this era include Ishaq, Ya’qub, and Ayyub (A.S.).
  4. Hittites Civilization (1750 B.C. to 1200 B.C.), located in Anatolia, the ancient name for Asian Minor. During this time, people started using iron, signed peace treaties, and established a set of laws considered the fairest of the time. The notable prophet during this time include Ilyas, Ilyasa’, Dawud (A.S.).
  5. Egyptian Civilization (3100 B.C. to 332 B.C.), located along the Nile River in northeast Africa. It built the pyramids; the sphinx; canals; and temples, invented solar calendar with 365 days, made a paper-like material from the papyrus plant, used a loom to weave cloth, and invented a system of writing called hieroglyphics. The generations to live in this era was believed to be from the son of Noah (A.S.) named Yafith.
  6. Chinese Civilization (beginning 5000 B.C.), in the valleys of the Huang He and Chang Jiang Rivers in Asia. It has created silk, Great Wall of China, gunpowders, rockets, magnetic compass, book printing, paper money, and porcelain.
  7. Mongol Civilization (A.D. 1206 to 1368), in the Steppe region between Siberia and northwest China. It was the largest contiguous empire in world history, excellent horsemen, and fierce warriors. This era occurred after the death of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
  8. Indus Valley Civilization (2500 B.C. to 1750 B.C.), in the Western part of South Asia in what is now Pakistan and western India. It built dams and canals for irrigation, well-planned cities, one of the world’s first drainage and sewer systems for a city, among the first people to cultivate cotton, among the first people to domesticate animals.
  9. Minoan Civilization (2000 B.C. to 1450 B.C.), in Crete, a large island between Asia Minor and Greece. It is the first civilization in Europe, one of the first social cultures with social equality, built elaborate palaces and large homes for its citizens, and women were treated more fairly than in other cultures of the time. This civilization emerges after the era of Prophet Nuh (A.S.) and most probably from his son named Sam.

    Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 5.48.40 PM
    image source: https://slideplayer.com/slide/9745654/
  10. Mycenaen Civilization (1650 B.C. to 1200 B.C.), on the mainland of Greece. They have systematic administration with leaders, warriors and war. Excellent traders and craftsmen. The generations most probably originated from son of Sam son of Prophet Noah (A.S.).
  11. Greek Civilization (800 B.C. to 323 B.C.), on the mainland of Greece and surrounding islands influencing colonies around Mediterranean Sea. It has formed the world’s first democracy system, dramas, and arts, built magnificent buildings, statues, literature, poetry, scientific approach to study of medicine, write histories, plants classification, rules for geometry and other mathematical contributions.

    Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 6.00.36 PM
    image source: https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/ancient-greek-civilization
  12. Celtic Civilization (800 B.C. to A.D 200), in Europe. It produced skillful artisan, artists, and musicians, excellent farmers, fearless warriors, built roads to expand into other countries, and the first people in Northern Europe to make iron.
  13. Viking Civilization (8th to 11th Century A.D.), in Scandinavian countries known as Norway, Denmark and Sweden in modern days. They have excellent seamen, navigators, craftsmen, shipbuilders, traders, explorers, and great story-tellers which they represent in the form of sagas, many of the name of the days are from the Norse language. They exist after the death of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
  14. Phoenician Civilization (2000 B.C. to 800 B.C.), in West Asia. Invention of alphabets, and writing systems, greatest traders, talented craftsmen, techniques of glassblowing, excellent navigators, sailors and shipbuilders. This generation is believed to be rooted from the son of Noah named Kana’an and notable prophets to live in this era include Hud, Saleh, Lut, Ismail, Shuib, Zulkifli, Yunus, and Yahya (A.S.).
  15. Hebrew Civilization (2000 B.C. to 30 B.C.), in the Middle East. It is a highlight on the origins of religions believing in One God, other related creations are such as Ten Commandments and the miracle of Torah and Old Testament. The notable prophets to live in this era include Ibrahim, Ishaq, Ya’qub, Yusuf, Ayyub, Musa, Harun, Zulkifli, Dawud, Sulaiman, Ilyas, Ilyasa’, Yunus, and Zakariya (A.S.).

    Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 5.56.52 PM
    image source: https://ourladyofgoodshepherd.net/twelve-tribes-of-israel
  16. Persian Civilization (550 B.C. to 330 B.C.), in the East of the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East. It built roads and canals, divided the empire into provinces, and wrote Avesta i.e. Persian holy book of Zoroasterism.
  17. Byzantine Civilization (A.D. 284 to 1450), in the Europe on the eastern section of Roman Empire. It preserved Greek and Roman Culture and Law, great works of art including architecture, mosaics, enamel work, ivory carving, metal work. It is enhancement of the spread of Christianity. It is an era of post-death of Prophet Isa and the spread of Islam by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his followers.

    Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 6.02.18 PM
    image source: https://slideplayer.com/slide/1585394/
  18. Olmec Civilization (1200 B.C. to 100 B.C.), in Southern Gulf coast of Mexico to El Salvador. It built temples, monuments, and pyramids, developed first calendar in Americas, carved huge stone heads, built stone pavements and drainage systems, and had counting systems.

As an additional factor to the different creations and inventions of materials, machines and methods by the mankind, the following notable empires are distinguishing them from one another:

  1. Etruscan Empire (800 B.C. to 300 B.C.)
  2. Alexander’s Empire (336 B.C. to 323 B.C.)
  3. Roman Empire (500 B.C. to A.D. 1453)
  4. Ottoman Empire (A.D. 800 to 1923). Many science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education are based upon the findings during this era. It has one notable era known as Islamic Golden Age where names like al-Khawarizmi, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Ibn Khuld, al-Jabar, al-Hazen, al-Kindi, and al-Biruni emerged. The technologies developed during this era include in metaphysics, astronomy, algebra, calculus, geometry, trigonometry, biology, physics, and chemistry.

    Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 6.04.51 PM
    image source: http://www.pearltrees.com/u/53944586-wikipedia-encyclopedia
  5. African Empire (2000 B.C. to present). It was believed that the generations that reside in this continent were originated from the son of Noah (A.S.) with the name of Ham. They have distinguished characteristics until today with many achievements and notable foundations.
  6. Mayan Empire (1000 B.C. to A.D. 900)
  7. Aztec Empire (A.D. 1200 to 1521)
  8. Inca Empire (A.D. 1100 to 1532)

 

Reference:

  1. Blattner, D. “World Civilizations and Cultures“, Mark Twain Media Inc., USA (2012).
  2. Syauqi Abu Khalil, “Atlas Al-Quran“, Dar al-Fikr, Damascus (2006). (Translated by Muhammad Abdul Ghoffar, Penerbit Almahira, Jakarta, Indonesia).

Industry 4.0 vs Society 5.0

The other day, we had a meeting with a Japanese counterpart on the mutual collaborations that we might be having for the next couple of years, we mentioned to him about adapting the approach of Industrial Revolution 4.0 into our work ethics and the applications that we might be able to benefit out of this era.

That Japanese man laughed hard. Left us puzzled. Did we say something wrong about it? Isn’t the Industry 4.0 as the thing right now? After a while, he gave us a reply that the Japanese weren’t keen about Industry 4.0 because they regard that as something to do with Germany’s work lifestyle. Not theirs. Left us feeling guilty of bringing up the topic. Left us to be much more careful as to what kind of approaches that we should discuss with them the next time.

After a week time, I have attended a workshop organised by a Japanese organisation which was also accompanied by another colleague. During our chit chatting time, she unintentionally mentioned about Industry 4.0 again to the Japanese representative with the expectation on how to move forward with practical project that we could plan. The Japanese counterpart wryly had to answer saying that, the Japanese are not in favour with the theme. They are actually having another revolution that they saw as better than the German’s Industry 4.0. That has made us rolling our eyes. She said, the Japanese are now looking forward towards realizing the revolution of Society 5.0.

Society 5.0! Well, at that point onwards, I began digging the scopes of this so-called Japanese Revolution.

Image 20180809 154909

(image source: http://analytics-magazine.org/industrie-4-0-analytics-everywhere/)


68b7dc5a-dd5c-4617-a2af-8d3ac97755d8

(image source: http://www8.cao.go.jp/cstp/english/society5_0/index.html)

As a matter of fact, the similarities that can be concluded from the two revolutions are:

  1. Both have the themes of Internet-of-Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Smart Machines, Knowledge Management and Smart Web to represent their work connectivity.
  2. Both emphasize on how people communicate with the machines and other people via the available Intelligent Machines.
  3. Both have the strengths of doing multitasking via various kind of automated media and computational platforms.
  4. Both are stressing on the work demand in this era as no more a single-job per man-hour, but always proceeded with another processes or as a medium to another procedures.
  5. Both are stressing on the free movement of one process to another and less protocol needed to get the job done.
  6. Both promote sustainability engineering in the midst of progressive materially-proned technology by ensuring the preservation of nature and ecology are still at their best.

On contrary, perhaps the differences that can be observed from these two ideologies are:

  1. Industry 4.0 is emphasizing on how to let the job done. Where as the Society 5.0 is emphasizing on how to optimise the man-hour responsibility to get the job done.
  2. Industry 4.0 is highlighting on the effectiveness of using the automated machines. Where as the Society 5.0 is highlighting on the effectiveness of optimising the knowledge worker with the help of the intelligent machines.
  3. Industry 4.0 is about computerised communications by all means. Where as the Society 5.0 is meant for the harmonisation of work with the help of intelligent machines for the benefit of the workers.

Nonetheless, their similarities beat the differences that both are optimising the use of machines, networking and computational intelligence in their work ethics. What matter most, the eccentric values of the two revolutions are on the ways  that those ideals are carried out and the work culture embedded by the people of Germany and the Japanese which have defined the pillars of their differences.

References:

  1. http://analytics-magazine.org/industrie-4-0-analytics-everywhere/
  2. http://www8.cao.go.jp/cstp/english/society5_0/index.html
  3. https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/mind-gap-industry-4-0-future-manufacturing-1665243
  4. https://www.japan.go.jp/abenomics/_userdata/abenomics/pdf/society_5.0.pdf

5 Ways Novice Users Can Learn Computer Science Without Fear

I had a fruitful discussion with one of the academic personnel last month on the evolution of the type of students that higher institutions may encounter. She told me that students nowadays are prone to be so dependent to their teachers or instructors on the steps that they should take to complete their tasks, projects or assignments. Even to the extent that sometimes, we had to teach them on how to Google. This is somewhat dragging the instructional process whence the search engine itself is getting smarter and smarter by its ability to predict the user’s pattern of search items.

Corresponding to her concern, I told her that through the new curricula that we are having at school right now (in Malaysia), I can see that the pattern will change in about another 5 to 10 years. This is because the syllabus was getting tougher, students hardly scored in their exams, yet their survivability to find solutions to the problems  are more dynamic and creative than current generations. I said to her, wait for another 10 years. You’ll get to meet students that already equipped with Google language and most of computer interfaces because they were born with those machines surrounding them.

Apart from that, raising the millennial kids that having been watching me working with computers and machine languages ever since they were small had made me concluded the following 5 ways for novice users to learn computer science without fear:

IMG_7427

  1. Knowledge in computer science is reusable. It is recyclable. So, if you have found a problem and not knowing on how to solve it, yes, you’ve guessed it right. Googling for solutions is not wrong. Chances are there are already about thousands other people that have faced the same problem as you do and care to share it online. The only thing that you need to know is on how to select the right path.
  2. Ask for help. Computer literacy is growing. There is always certainly someone else that knows on how to help you find a solution to your computer problems. So never shame to ask. Different questions might lead to different solutions. It is like our way of living. Different family had different members with different types of houses, decorations, food, and activities. So does this knowledge of computer science. There is always not a single solution to a repeating problem. Never afraid to improvised because computer evolves like people do.
  3. Study the history of computer. People say, you would not love someone until you get to know him/ her. Love grows by learning a person’s personality or background. Once you have found the similarity between the two of you, you might want to move forward with more than just an encounter. Perhaps good friends or mutual friendship would yield good outcome for you in the future. The same analogy goes to studying the computer. If you face a new subject, find its origin of development. From where it begins and how it has ended up in your plate in such a form. Then, you will know on how to act from there upon.
  4. A computer is an artificial presentation to a human’s brain. It means that, to understand a computer is to understand on how your brain works. If you wonder why at some point of your life you make different kind of decisions, the same thing goes to a computer. On a rainy day, you might want to use an umbrella to walk by the road side. In an extreme cold weather, you might want to turn up the temperature of your heater so that your body would feel warmer and at ease. The same thing goes to the computer. It works logically in accordance to mathematical formulas. There are instructions to follow and output to yield. There are decisions to make when met with crossroads. There are times to start up fresh, and time to sleep. Brain also undergoes aging. So does the computer. So work from this fact, then you know on how to handle the learning process of computer science.
  5. A computer has no emotions. So, apart from all other logic knowledge that you may think a computer can do, never expect a computer to weep and cry like we do. At times like this, the only thing that we should do is to have human connections. Lean over to someone that you fond of, like parents, best friends, siblings and alike on psychological supports and emotional strengths. As long as we could understand this demand, always remember that computer never feels what we feel in our hearts.

So, that’s it. Certainly there are other 1001 ways that you could motivate yourself to learn computer science without fears. Above all, the most important thing to remember is never let a computer or any machine alike to over rule your intelligence and decision making. These things always rely on us to navigate them for the right processes and not the other way around.

Celebrate the good and positive things in the future generations of this millennium that were born with computers and machines around them.

The Attraction of Malaysian TVET

First of all, congratulations to YB Nurul Izzah Anwar for the appointment as the Head of TVET Committees in Malaysia. This is in conjunction with the press statement made by the Minister of Education of Malaysia on 21st June 2018, YB Dr. Maszlee Malik. TVET stands for Technical and Vocational Education and Training. Prior to this announcement, TVET is always referred to the agenda under the Ministry of Human Resources of Malaysia whilst the implementation of its training and education curricula had been carried out by various ministries including Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Rural Development, and Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

Apart from the political arrangements and the domestic issues on this matter, I would like to make a brief comparison on the ministerial and administration agencies that had made this movement practical in other countries. This post is intended to be deliberated from the viewpoints of intellectuality and feasibility of this policy that had already been delivered by various countries in the world and occasionally share their political, economic, and social growth conferences between each other.

Prior to this post, I had already made a post on the TVET and Its Landscape in Malaysia annotating the different functions and roles between the major ministries that are participating in this movement. I have also briefly quoting major skills qualification frameworks within the ASEAN countries in another blog post. Please feel free to revisit those posts if you are kind of lost on why I am highlighting this issue for this entry.

Every movement, policy and decision made are usually based on tremendous study and research within the specific thematic work and previous work deliverables. The decision of putting the skills qualification administration and management under the Ministry of Human Resources (MoHR) Malaysia had also its share on its inception. Perhaps, in analogy we can take from the viewpoint of a production-based company or organisation. Every organisation has its human resources department. This department is responsible to ensure that its employees are keep updated with the latest technology and skills equipment so that the quality of work and the quantity of production can match the demand from the clients. The employees, in this case, are in reference to those working in the production line with the positions of operators, and even up to the supervisory level. Hence, the rationale on why the movement of TVET in Malaysia was originally foreseen by the MoHR.

As time passes by, these employees demanded that they should also be given the opportunities to further their studies to a higher level qualification. From skills-based to academic endeavour. These workers requested that the academic-based agencies should recognise their abilities in the skills that they have displayed and contributed so that they would also be qualified for a higher degree programmes from prestigious higher learning institutions. This had triggered the mismatch between the skills qualification certification with the admission requirements by the universities decision makers.

Ministerial Comparisons
Figure 1. The Ministerial Comparison of TVET Administration Between Malaysia with the Rest of the World.

The above figure is showing the Ministerial Comparison of TVET Administration Between Malaysia with the Rest of the World including the ASEAN countries and major developed countries. The choices of administering ministries are from both of Ministry of Education and Ministry of Labour (which is also similar to MoHR). Each has her own reason on why such specific agency was chosen over another. There are also countries that have distinct agencies that manage and administer TVET movement without much dependent on their main ministries.

From the diagram, it is learned that most countries believe that it is best that TVET is under the administration of Ministry of Education. Only third countries like Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and including Malaysia had decided that MoHR is much suitable [1]. As an additional information, European Countries have their own governing agency that manages the TVET movement which is known as CEDEFOP (stands for European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training). Among participating countries under the administration of CEDEFOP include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom [2]. On the other hand, countries like Japan which is very much well-known for its high-skilled workers and disciplined people had also decided that its best for TVET to be foreseen by their Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology [3].

Personally, I am looking forward to the positive changes that might be brought upon by the Government of Malaysia on issues pertaining TVET and its relevancy, qualifications and prospects either locally or internationally. Each action has its strengths and weaknesses. Might as well that we study the background and history of a policy made to project a better outcome and lower the setbacks that we have encountered in the past.

All the best for all TVET practitioners.

References:

[1] ILO, URL: http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—asia/—ro-bangkok/—sro-bangkok/documents/publication/wcms_310231.pdf

[2] CEDEFOP, URL: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources

[3] THE CHANGING STATUS OF VOCATIONAL HIGHER EDUCATION IN CONTEMPORARY JAPAN AND THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA, URL: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001868/186837e.pdf

Other Sources:

[1] ASQA

[2] City & Guilds

[3] SQA

[4] BMBF

[5] US Skills Training

[6] MQA

[7] DSD, MoHR

TVET and Its Landscape in Malaysia

TVET and the Landscape of Skills Training in Malaysia

Someone asked me, “Do you know about TVET?”

I said, “Yes, I do.”

Then he further enquired, “Can you help me to give briefing about this thing?”

I was skeptical. TVET in Malaysia involves at least 7 ministries with different and diverse purpose, objectives, certification and recognition.

Then I asked him in return, “In what way that you wanted the briefing be?”

“Are you authorized to talk about it?”

He said, “Yes. I was given the authority to talk about it and I am going to talk about TVET in Polytechnics in Malaysia.”

I nodded. Understood. He was just asking about one tenth (1/10) only of the real scenario and landscape of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Malaysia.

TVET Landscape Malaysia

Basically, TVET involves the following ministries:

  1. Ministry of Human Resources (Kementerian Sumber Manusia) which coordinates the TVET and Skills Qualification for Occupational Framework in Malaysia, specifically for the skills training at the institutions under this ministry which is administered by Manpower Department (Jabatan Tenaga manusia) including: Institut Latihan Perindustrian (ILP) – 23 centres, Advanced Technology Training Centre (ADTEC) – 8 centres, Japan-Malaysian Technical Institute (JMTI) – 1 centre and Centre for Instructors and Advanced Skills Training (CIAST) – 1 centre.

Simultaneously, this ministry also administers the accreditation, certification, recognition and qualification of the skills training centres and skilled workforce including the issuance of certification for accredited centers and skilled personnel. For such a purpose the main agency that delivers this is the Department of Skills Development (Jabatan Pembangunan Kemahiran). The certificate issued by this agency is known as Malaysian Skills Certificate (Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia), Malaysian Skills Diploma (Diploma Kemahiran Malaysia), and Malaysia Skills Advanced Diploma (Diploma Lanjutan Kemahiran Malaysia).

2. Ministry of Higher Education (Kementerian Pendidikan Tinggi). This ministry coordinates the higher learning institutions specifically those that deliver the modules for TVET which include Polytechnics and Community Colleges. There are about 36 polytechnics and 94 community colleges all over Malaysia. These centres are administered by Department of Higher Learning (Jabatan Pengajian Tinggi).

However, there is no specific single accreditation or certification body that administers the issuance of the certificates for polytechnics and community colleges. Each will issue its own certificate to the students whilst the authorization for training implementation is solely delivered under the approval of its governing agency i.e. JPT.

(For an additional note, Ministry of Higher Education puts more efforts and deliberation on the accreditation of higher learning institutions especially for the level of education that leads to the conferment of the degrees for Bachelor, Master, and Doctorate which is managed by Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA)).

3. Ministry of Youth and Sports (Kementerian Belia dan Sukan). The training centres under the supervision of this ministry include: Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara (IKBN) – 13 centres, Institut Kemahiran Tinggi Belia Negara (IKTBN) – 8 centres, and Akademi Kemahiran Belia Golf (AKBG) – 1 centre. This ministry solely follows the regulations and procedures of accreditation set by JPK, KSM (as mentioned in No. 1 above) for the issuance of their SKM, DKM, and DLKM besides their in-house certification procedures and graduation requirements.

4. Ministry of Education (Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia). The training centres under this ministry that observe the implementation of TVET include: Kolej Vokasional (KV) – 77 centres and more than 60 secondary schools that offer classes for the skills modules which is known as Program Asas Vokasional (PAV). This ministry follows both the regulations and procedures of accreditation set by JPK, KSM (as mentioned in No. 1 above) and the procedures by the ministry itself under the supervision of Division of Technical and Vocational Education (Bahagian Pendidikan Teknik dan Vokasional).

As a matter of fact, as a graduation fulfilment for the trainees that undergo the programmes under this ministry, they are qualified to be awarded with double skills certificates which include either the combination of or one of the following: Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia (SKM) / Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM), Diploma Kemahiran Malaysia (DKM) / Diploma Vokasional Malaysia (DVM), and Diploma Lanjutan Kemahiran Malaysia (DLKM) / Diploma Lanjutan Vokasional Malaysia (DLVM).

5. Ministry of Agriculture (Kementerian Pertanian). The training centres under this ministry that observe the implementation of TVET and skills training are managed by National Agriculture Training Council (NATC) which include: Institut Pertanian – 7 centres, Institut Perikanan – 3 centres, and Institut Veterinar – 2 centres. This ministry does not issue its own certification procedure rather than following the rules and regulations set by JPK, KSM (as mentioned in No. 1 above). Whilst, the accreditation and authorization for training implementation is solely delivered under the approval of its governing agency i.e. NATC.

6. Ministry of Rural and Regional Development (Kementerian Kemajuan Luar Bandar dan Wilayah). This ministry observe the TVET implementation. However, currently it is issuing its certification for its trainees under its own regulations and procedures and yet to coordinate with the rest of TVET institutions as mentioned in items No. 1 -5. The training centres under this ministry is managed by Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) which include: Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi MARA (KKTM) – 10 centres, Institut Kemahiran MARA (IKM) – 14 centres, MARA-Japan Industrial Institute (MJII) – 1 centre and GiatMARA (various numbers).

7. Ministry of Tourism and Culture (Kementerian Pelancongan dan Kebudayaan). This ministry, like KBS (item No. 3) and MOA (item No. 5), does not issue its own training certification procedure rather than following the rules and regulations set by JPK, KSM (as mentioned in No. 1 above). However, they do have the control on the issuance on the licensing and accreditation of their training centres and tourism agencies. The training centres under this ministry is known as Institut Latihan Pelancongan (Tourism Training Institute, ILP) which the number is not made public.

The subject matter of TVET and its development is indeed a universal subject in this country besides the requirements in the mainstream of education system and higher learning institutions. Nobody can claim that they own this particular subject matter more than another parties because each carries its own distinct functions, roles and responsibilities. Hence, it is wise to regard TVET as a national subject among the public, parents, and business matter interests.

Sources:

  1. Malaysia – National Skills Development Act (NASDA) 2006, (Act 652), DSD.
  2. Pelan Pembangunan Pendidikan Malaysia (Pendidikan Tinggi), MOHE.
  3. ANSSR – Enhancing the Quality and Relevance of TVET for Current and Future Industry Needs, APEC.
  4. Qualification and Skills Mismatch – Concept and Measurement, ILO.
  5. Assessment of the Readiness of ASEAN Member States for Implementation of the Commitment to the Free Flow of Skilled Labour Within the ASEAN Economic Community (2015), ILO.
  6. International Labour Standard on Vocational Guidance and Training, ILO.

Data and Event Prediction

Someone emailed me asking about the results of flood data and the prediction of the disaster event after reading my published proceeding. He was asking me either that prediction formula can be utilized for his work in calculating the flood event in his country particularly around some specific location in the Africa continent. I was skeptical to answer not knowing of his nature of work and academic background. However, I did found out that he was doing some research for his advanced degree and he has a qualification in some sort of Satellite Engineering. Interesting!

I have advised him to do the following things:

  1. Collect data of hydrology/ water/ flood/ drainage from the agency or authority that manages the flood disaster management. (Or related samplings to the scope of your study).
  2. Collect data from global sources such as NASA rainfall, cloud movements, and other equivalent international data portals.
  3. Collect data from any other department or agency that may have direct or indirect roles in flood events such as meteorology, geospatial mapping, welfare, etc.

Because he was also interested in the scope of study of Big Data, so I have told him that by obtaining those data, it was indeed had contributed to the abundance of his data sets.

Days later, he replied to my email telling me that he had got the data as what I have suggested. Then he repeated his question, “Can I use the prediction formula like you have suggested in the paper this time?”

Nope. He still didn’t get the gist of big data and event prediction method that I have suggested in my paper.

The truth is, when you got your data sets and you wanted to make a prediction on the probability of the event to occur, it is advisable for you to follow the statistical hypothesis and the steps of deducing or inducing your statement(s) before coming to conclusion on either an event is feasible to return and recur. The prediction should be per case matter.

big data and method of predictions.png

By the generic steps, I mean you should undergo the process of data collection and the method of finding the conclusion out of the available data by means of proving on either your objectives are working or not. This is as illustrated in the above diagram: Big data and event prediction via hypothesis testing. This is one of the many approaches that you can use when you are dealing with your big data, you got your problems and you have the objectives of the project that you are aiming. But you were unsure of the direction that you should navigate from this point.

From the above diagram, it is clearly shown that you cannot avoid the tedious steps of research methods which include the following listing:

  1. Identify your research objectives,
  2. State your problem statements,
  3. Identify your hypotheses statements, which eventually will lead you to identify your research problem and decide on the structure of your research design,
  4. Draw your scope of research,
  5. Do data collection, which eventually you need to process on the behavior and properties of the data by using the approach of statistical analysis and hypothesis testing. At the end of this process, if the data is tested normal, you could formulate the prediction formula for the event to occur, and lastly
  6. Make the conclusion out of the above-mentioned steps.

When identifying the hypotheses statements, it is wise if you could: (1) write the list of contributing factors of your thematic problem, (2) the major problem to study and (3) the consequences that might repeatedly incur if the problem is not solved.

Simultaneously, during the process of statistical analysis and hypothesis testing, it is of advisable if you could test its normality so that the data and the problem that you are dealing with are feasible and that you could conclude on either to accept or to reject the null hypothesis that you have drawn. Consequently, whichever the hypothesis that you have accepted, the data should also be feasible to be tested upon its correlation and regression. This is to determine that the strengths and weaknesses of the relationship for your chosen parameters and domain are within the scope of study and formulating the prediction equation would be much significant.

The approach is in fact works for both the social sciences and physical engineering. Though you might come up with different kind of approaches of manipulating the big data to formulate the event prediction, be it by using the machine learning, artificial intelligent, or any other semantic of sciences, nothing beat to the preciseness of testing the normality of the event by distribution curve and its statistical properties and behavior.

References:

Navidi, William Cyrus. Statistics for engineers and scientists. Vol. 2. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006.

Sekaran, Uma, and Roger Bougie. Research methods for business: A skill building approach. John Wiley & Sons, 2016.

The Differences of Certificate, Diploma, Bachelor, Master and Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering

Basically, in learning experience I like to refer its growth in terms of the knowledge, skills and attitude (KSA) that were gained during the process. The three parameters are qualitative in nature and normally the measurement would involve some pre-defined scales or ratios.

As a matter of fact, I came to conclusion that the certification of a person after studying and experiencing the different levels of academic and skills qualifications would achieve some amount of skills and knowledge as the following diagram would suggest:

Slide1

Generally, the knowledge should be proportionate with the skills. The more skills obtained, the more knowledge is gained. However, as a formal education might suggest, sometimes this skills wouldn’t be developed sufficiently when the degree-certification orientation is highlighted. Hence suggesting that people who are learning for the level of Certificate would be exposed to more skills-content-based learning modules in comparison to the level of a Doctor of Philosophy which enhanced more on the knowledge behind the gist of the study instead of the skills.

In addition, I believe that ideally, attitude should be in exponent to the skills and knowledge. The more skilful a person is the more knowledge he should sought. Though practically this is hard to find in our society. The best attitude is when there is a balanced amount of knowledge and skills in a person and perhaps can be found from a person who had experienced the learning concepts from the certificate level to the doctorate degree.

As a reference, the above diagram is adapted from the diagram of Malaysian Occupational and Skills Qualification Framework (MOSQF) that was introduced by the Department of Skills Development, Ministry of Human Resources Malaysia as the following figure is showing:

source: National Occupational Skills Standards (NOSS), Department of Skills Development (JPK), Ministry of Human Resources Malaysia.

Hour of Code and Computer Coding for Kids Campaign 2017

It started last year (2016) when I thought I wanted to set up a trial on an hour of coding for my friends’ kids and neighbours. This is when I discovered that code.org is organising  “Hour Of Code” campaign since 4 years ago. I did the “Hour of Code” sessions in small scale for my friends’ kids in the area of Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia and Putrajaya, Malaysia. Simultaneously, I did shared the news on the social media that has left people wondering, what was I doing with such an activity. What is coding? They have wondered.

This year, out of requests, I have conducted three more sessions of Computer Coding for Kids which were conducted in the month of December in conjunction of the global “Hour of Code” campaign. The Computer Coding for Kids that I have conducted this year are as the following details:

  • December 5th, 2017 in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia.
  • December 8th, 2017 in Putrajaya, Malaysia.
  • December 28th, 2017 in Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia.

I have received tremendous responses and positive feedbacks on the interests that parents have shown on sending their children to these sessions. I was enjoying myself too meeting these enthusiastic coders and computer savvy children. As a matter of fact, I have divided the children into 2 main categories, i.e. Category of 6-9 years old and Category of 10-13 years old. However, coding has no age limit and there were a number of children that were not bounded to these age categories that I have accepted for the sessions.

As a result, the children from the Category of 6-9 years old had followed the modules and activities from selected section code of the code.org and hourofcode.com web portals. Where as, the children from the Category of 10-13 years old had followed the modules of Basic Scratch programming with the task given to them was to set a game named “FishBall” (Vorderman, 2015). The children had successfully completed the task and to my surprise, it was done in less than 2 hours.

Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 7.25.34 PM

The following lists are the the links of the games from the children of the 3 sessions and can be run on most web application platform by using desktop computers (it does not work on mobile platforms). Pick one and try to play it. I am pleased to learn that they have grabbed the gists of the lesson and had enjoyed their coding sessions:

  1. Fishball game by Fazz204: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/190867986/#fullscreen
  2. Fishball game by Invoker27: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/190867597/#fullscreen
  3. Fishball game by FoxGamerPlays: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/191914373/#fullscreen
  4. Fishball game by Aimaan651: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/191918873/#fullscreen
  5. Fishball game by alyanadhirah_: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/191914888/#fullscreen
  6. Fishball game by CaptTurtle: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/191916133/#fullscreen
  7. Fishball game by imanezz: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/191915287/#fullscreen
  8. Fishball game by MLPRONOOOB: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/191915450/#fullscreen
  9. Fishball game by TAFFY20: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/191913108/#fullscreen
  10. Fishball game by hirinsgame: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/191913944/#fullscreen
  11. Fishball game by YT43: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/191915921/#fullscreen
  12. Fishball game by wawa235: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/191917519/#fullscreen
  13. Fishball game by muazpro9407: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/195494279/#fullscreen

References:

  1. Vorderman, C. (2014). Computer Coding for Kids. Dorling Kindersley Ltd., UK.
  2. Vorderman, C. (2015). Coding With Scratch Made Easy. Dorling Kindersley Ltd., UK.

Can I Get Boys Who Code?

You have probably heard about this encouraging curriculum of getting the girls as young as a ‘kindy’ to be involved with the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or better known as STEM. It is a worldwide educational strategy towards instilling the young girls to appreciate the technical contents of their learning experience and simultaneously to close the gap between the two genders.

Recently, there is another exciting movement for the girls that should be given further incentives which is known as “Girls Who Code“. This movement was originally initiated by Reshma Saujani and currently there are a number of books have been published and about to be published under this motion.

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Quite exciting to learn about this. But, it’s irony enough that one day I had someone asking me this instead, “Don’t they have the books on Boys Who Code too?” Which have left me perplexed to answer. The question was not wrong. But there is no exact answer too to satisfy the question. Yup. It’s true that in the field of STEM, girls need more boost than their male counterparts. But, how convinced are we that the boys need less in this case?

With recent number of psychological studies on the learning difficulties among the millennials, challenged by the emergence of intelligent gadgets that becoming parts of our life; perhaps some people saw that both gender types of students need help and encouragement in their learning journey. When a person asked me on why they don’t have the books for the boys on how to code, I was just giving an easy answer out of that, “Normally, the boys got their natural interest in the studies of science and technology. Maybe that’s why we saw them less priority to create this kind of movement. Boys can automatically appreciate the nature contents of the science and technology subjects.” On contrary, I was not sure myself on why do we see them less important in this exercise.

Of course, I am in full support for the Girls Who Code. I even hope that I can practice this in Malaysia too. And even after this movement has started, the implementation on its activities might be promising to the communities of the developed nations, but the Third Countries are still wary of its importance. The traditions and cultural values among these countries are still substantial to them. It’s hard for them to embrace the paradigm shifts.

I have heard one of the teachers who is involved with the STEM educational committees in Malaysia saying that “… It’s really a hard work to practice this kind of curriculum in our country. So much work to be done, yet the pupils are not performing well to the level that they are expecting…” Yes, of course. I can relate that. And the teacher never mentioned it was either the boys or the girls who were having the troubles. Her emphasis was like both genders need help in STEM and not necessarily the girls.

On the other hand, I am really looking forward to the release to all of the 13 book series of the Girls Who Code. It is indeed an exciting movement that I took it here to pen it. Though the movement might be a jargon to the girls in this country, I hope one day the gradual change is for good and both genders will benefit from this kind of movement. Otherwise, the boys can still read the books on Girls Who Code. No limit to that.