Students experimenting with Arduino kits.

PROGRAMME: Over 80 students from three rural secondary schools near Miri, Sarawak attended a specially designed John Curtin Leadership Camp (JCLC) at Curtin University, Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia).

The four-day camp on leadership was organised by Curtin Malaysia’s University Life Department, to teach the students how to analyse real-life issues in their communities or schools and devise practical solutions to address them. The students, who all came from rural areas, learnt to build leadership skills and were empowered to make a difference in their lives.

Throughout the camp, the participants from SMK Luar Bandar, SMK Bekenu and SMK Subis were engaged in various hands-on activities that made use of the ‘Feel-Imagine-Do-Share’ process. Students would first ‘Feel’ by looking around their community and identify issues, then ‘Imagine’ by visualising and coming up with a project to solve the issues, ‘Do’ by executing their projects, and finally ‘Share’ their projects via video presentations.

The ‘Feel-Imagine-Do-Share’ process is part of the ‘Design for Change’ methodology the Curtin Malaysia coaches utilised. ‘Design for Change’ offers a simple four-step design process (Feel-Imagine-Do-Share) to problem solving and is based on the conviction that children play an important role in shaping the world and are able to take action towards a more desirable, sustainable future.

Another activity at the camp was ‘Pitch Your Idea’, which involved students learning how to pitch their ideas to potential investors. A series of ‘Arduino Training Sessions’ equipped them with relevant technical knowledge so they can use technology to solve their identified problems. Arduino is an open-source electronic prototyping platform which enables users to create interactive electronic objects for their project designs.

One of the participants, a student from SMK Luar Bandar, Nur Alisa Syazliana, said: “I was initially very nervous about my project presentation but I slowly built up my confidence over the four-day period.

“I think the camp is a really good learning experience for all participants,” she added.

Already in its 7th year, this year’s JCLC included the collaboration of two of Curtin Malaysia’s student organisations, TEAM and AIESEC to coach the participants. The JCLC grew out of a project by George Ong, a Curtin Malaysia alumnus and former student ambassador of the John Curtin Leadership Academy (JCLA) at Curtin Malaysia, for the JCLA in 2010.

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