The ASEAN Foundation together with SAP SE and Digital Economy Promotion Agency, held the regional finals of 2019 ASEAN Data Science Explorers (ASEANDSE), a competition that gathered young student competitors across ASEAN countries to present insights and solutions to solve the region’s most pressing social and economic issues. Co-hosted by depa, Executive Vice President of depa Ms. Kasama Kongsmak, presided over the prize presentation ceremony.

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 to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution and unleash the region’s full potential. 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 came 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.

Team Sustainablue comprised of Krystel Iris De Castro and Nicole Dolfo from Ateneo de Manila University were the winners of ASEANDSE Philippines and went on to represent the country in the regionals with a project focusing on automation and job displacement.

In their presentation, Team Sustainablue said that wage workers should adjust with 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 human workforce in ASEAN at risk of unemployment, especially with the rapid digitalization,” stated de Castro.  

To address the issue, they proposed the Train and Track method, that wage workers should be trained and educated with the right skills needed in Industry 4.0, 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 build 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.

As 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 have 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.

This year’s ASEANDSE 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 Regional Finals is the culmination of a year-long journey that involved a series of enablement sessions where close to 500 educators and 3,000 students were trained in SAP Analytics Cloud.

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 (1) good health and well-being, (2) quality education, (3) gender equality, (4) decent work and economic growth, (5) industry, innovation & infrastructure and (6) sustainable cities and communities.

This year, 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, won 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 with their project was on gender equality in the workforce in ASEAN.

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