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Microsoft Malaysia invests US$870 million in higher education community

AvantiKumar | May 21, 2009
Malaysian ministry, Microsoft says response has doubled to Imagine Cup challenge

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 MAY 2009 -- To boost the creative use of technology among Malaysian students, Microsoft Malaysia has invested US$870 million (RM3.045 billion) into the country's higher education committee as part of the newly-launched Microsoft DreamSpark initiative.

This move, a joint initiative with MoHE, would spur innovation among 870,000 tertiary students in the country, said Microsoft Malaysia managing director Yasmin Mahmood. DreamSpark will provide students from across different disciplines with free access to current Microsoft developer and designer tools to build new applications."

Mahmood made the announcement during the 2009 Imagine Cup challenge, co-organised with the Malaysian ministry of higher education (MoHE), which attracted double the number of entries over the last year.

Globally known as the World Cup of software, Imagine Cup 2009 has attracted more than 300,000 students from more than 100 countries. The main objective is to use innovation and technology to solve current global problems.

Pushing the boundaries

"The Imagine Cup competition, now in its seventh year, is to boost the use of creativity and technology to solve today's tough problems," said Mahmood. "We welcomed more than 2,600 students from local tertiary higher education institutions."

Mahmood said the competition had matured over the years. "Our partnerships with MoHE and the institutes of higher leaning have provided access to students nationwide."

Microsoft Malaysia director, software economy, Tyson Dowd said: "The ideas demonstrated by these students possess practicality as well as outstanding innovation," said Dowd. "This year's Imagine Cup challenge in Malaysia featured 26 teams from 13 universities."

Dowd said among the new projects this year were geographic-based solutions using SMS (short messaging services), as well as tourism packages around home stay that help to eliminate poverty and hunger. The level of user experience, such as graphical design, has really stepped up this year. A lot of teams, for instance, had one member with responsibility for graphical user interface design.

"We are constantly looking at ways to propel our students to push the boundaries of their ideas and creations," said University Teknikal Malaysia Melaka vice chancellor Prof Dr Ahmad Yusoff Hassan, who is also the organising chairman of the Imagine Cup. "Platforms such as Imagine Cup provide a way to validate students' work as well as challenge them to think beyond the limits, and encourage originality."

MoHE deputy minister Dato' Saifuddin Abdullah said Malaysia's s greatest asset is its human capital. "The development of our human capital will transform the nation from a resource-based extraction economy into a country that is built on continuous innovation."


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