12 October, 2020 4:29 PM

Competition on Data Science Challenges Youth to Promote ASEAN’s Culture through Innovative Means amidst the Pandemic

ASEAN, 12 October 2020 – The Future Ready ASEAN Competition 2020, which calls upon young people from across the region to come up with data-driven solutions on how to promote ASEAN’s cultural heritage richness, has finally reached its final stage. Following a series of online presentations from nine regional finalists, three teams from Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia were crowned winners during the regional final held last Saturday, 10th October 2020.


The ASEAN Foundation, Microsoft and Empire Code, together with UNESCO and Singapore International Foundation as co-initiators, proudly presented the winners of Future Ready ASEAN Competition 2020:


  • Team from Vietnam, consisting of Nguyen Ngo Hoai Linh, Nguyen Hoang Lam and Dao Tien Minh emerged as 1st winner for their outstanding presentation about “Preserving ASEAN Traditional Dances with Data Science”.
  • Team from Myanmar, consisting of Myat Min Thu, Aw Thura and Pyi Soe Hein took the 1st runner up place for their insightful idea about "How Ramayana Rooted in ASEAN Theatre”.
  • Team from Indonesia, consisting of Darren Ngoh, Josephine Ceria and Jonathan Edwin became the 2nd runner up position for their impressive presentation about “Trible: A Mobile App to Listen to Traditional ASEAN Music”.


In a regional final that was fully implemented via online, nine youth teams from 8 ASEAN Member States; Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam competed and presented their findings on how to increase ASEAN’s cultural awareness and understanding using data science in front of a panel of judges. The three teams emerged as winners due to their creativity, solid coding structure and comprehensive data illustration.


The finalists were selected from a total of over 70 teams coming from eight countries. To be eligible, they were all required to complete online courses on programming languages (Power BI and Python), which can be accessed for free at Future Ready ASEAN e-learning platform (www.futurereadyasean.org). This is to ensure that all participants possess sufficient programming abilities while also encouraging them to improve their digital skills.


“According to LinkedIn, APAC will face a labour shortage of 12.3 million workers, rising to 47 million in the following decade. That represents an annual opportunity cost of US$4.2 trillion. Our vision at the Philanthropies is to try to bridge this gap by providing people with the opportunity to get the skills that enable them to pursue a career in technology and to secure employment in the fast-changing digital economy. In Asia alone over the last 6 months, we have been able to introduce 1.5 million people to technical skill training in order to increase their employability. The partnership we have with the ASEAN Foundation, Empire Code, UNESCO and Singapore International Foundation is actually enabling us to achieve even more young people between the age of 15 and 35 across ASEAN. Since the launch in March 2019 the program has engaged with many different institutions to support this mission and we are incredibly grateful for the partnership. We hope the Future Ready ASEAN platform allows young people to learn critical skills, be future-ready and even find employment,” said Dr. Daiana Beitler, Regional Business Lead, Philanthropies, Microsoft Asia.


Jasmine Tang, Co-Founder of Empire Code, expressed her admiration towards the ability of youth, especially participants of the Future Ready ASEAN Competition 2020, in harnessing data science and developing innovative ideas. “Everyone has done a fantastic job in terms of creativity, a key aspect of computer science that is often forgotten. We received some very amazing submissions from our participants who managed to put together a great set of data, which I know is not easy given the lack of cultural data in ASEAN. The finalists have shown that they are technically strong in terms of data science implementation and I hope they will keep improving their data science skills post this competition. You never know where your skills will lead you to. The learning never stops,” she said.


The Future Ready ASEAN Competition serves as one of the key interventions of the ASEAN Digital Innovation Programme, a partnership initiative between ASEAN Foundation, Microsoft and Empire Code that aims to provide access to quality computer science education for the marginalised and underserved. Through Future Ready ASEAN website, the initiative has empowered over 26,998 underserved youths and 1,187 trainers with computer skills since March 2019.


“The Future Ready ASEAN online training and competition is a wonderful initiative that supports the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 4 on quality education for all, and Goal 9 on promoting inclusive and sustainable innovation. So, it is very important to remember that data science present tremendous opportunities however we need to stay vigilant of malicious and/or unethical uses. Therefore UNESCO is fostering the recommendation development on ethics of Artificial Intelligence and UNESCO recommendation on Open Science The awareness on possible bias and ethical consideration in using data science and AI should be widely promoted. This recommendation serves as a call from UNESCO to be vigilant and make sure no one is left behind,” said Prof. Shahbaz Khan, Director of UNESCO Jakarta Office.


Mr. Jaryll Chan, Division Director, Programmes Division from the Singapore International Foundation, added, “The Singapore International Foundation (SIF) is proud to support this programme that galvanises youths from 10 countries to harness the power of digital literacy to promote our ASEAN heritage. This is very much in line with the SIF’s mission to bring world communities together to collaborate and work on solutions to effect positive change. In a short amount of time, we have seen how digitalisation has enabled and empowered people to connect and build social resilience. Data science can also shed light on critical issues and unmet needs. I am thus heartened by our young participants’ future-ready attitude in digital upskilling to build a better world”.


In 2019, ASEAN youth under the age of 35 is estimated to reach 383 million people, representing a total of 61% of the region’s total population. As conveyed by the Executive Director of ASEAN Foundation, Dr. Yang Mee Eng, the voice and aspiration of youth will determine the future of our region. Therefore, it is important to equip our youth with must-have future skills that will allow them to be resilient in the face of our constantly changing world.


“We all have the social responsibility to make sure our young people grow up well. Our joint initiatives with Microsoft, Empire Code, UNESCO and Singapore International Foundation means a lot to us as it provides youth the opportunity to not only gain digital skills, but also the platform to voice their aspiration and be involved in building a stronger ASEAN Community,” she said.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Anthoni Octaviano, Head of Communications of ASEAN Foundation [email protected]

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