Sarawak pushes for tech dominance as universities urged to integrate chip design into curriculum

Sagah (second right) presenting a memento to Ailsa witnessed by Shariman (left) and Francis (right) at the conclusion of the Train-The-Trainers closing ceremony at Borneo Cultures Museum's auditorium on Feb 1, 2024.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Feb 1: Higher learning institutions, especially Sarawak-owned universities, have been urged to incorporate Integrated Circuit (IC) or semiconductor chip design into their academic curriculum to nurture highly specialised talent to establish Sarawak as a high-value-added hub for semiconductors.

Minister of Education, Innovation and Talent Develipment Dato Sri Roland Sagah Wee Inn also emphasised the importance of promoting IC design as a top choice for students, to equip them with the skills needed in the rapidly evolving technological landscape and providing them with a competitive edge in the job market.

“This is essential to position Sarawak at the forefront of producing not only high-value, but also highly skilled local talent. It will foster the growth of Sarawak’s manufacturing GDP through lucrative exports like semiconductor components or chips.

“Let’s work together to create a learning environment that empowers people and pushes our institutions to be leaders in tech education,” he said when addressing the closing ceremony of the Train-The-Trainers: Talent Development in Semiconductors and Chip Design programme by SMD Semiconductor held at the Borneo Cultures Museum’s auditorium today.

Sagah (fourth left) presenting the certificate to one of the participants of the Train-The-Trainers for semiconductors and chip design programme during the closing ceremony at Borneo Cultures Museum’s auditorium on Feb 1, 2024.

The four-week Train-The-Trainers programme, facilitated by Synopsys, commenced on Jan 8 and aims to enhance the skills and competencies necessary for the effective training of trainers and equip them with the ability to manage training sessions efficiently.

This programme involved 20 professionals, lecturers and professors from training institutions and universities such as Swinburne University, Curtin University, University Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), UiTM, Centexs, Sarawak Skills and industries such as X-Fab, Melexis and SMD engineers.

SMD Semiconductor chief executive officer Shariman Jamil highlighted the positive feedback from participants regarding the conducive training environment and the module content.

Looking ahead, Shariman announced the upcoming launch of a six-month graduate upskilling/reskilling training programme at the end of February.

“Interviews for potential participants are already underway. The training programme will ensure that students and graduates are professionally guided during the training. The modules trained are driven by industry demand and requirements.

“Upon completion, the graduates will have the opportunity to fill high-value job vacancies in semiconductors and IC Design, which means a guaranteed job placement,” he emphasised.

British High Commissioner to Malaysia Her Excellency Ailsa Terry, Deputy Minister of Education, Innovation and Talent Development Datuk Francis Harden Hollis, State Financial Secretary Dato Sri Dr Wan Lizozman Wan Omar, and MEITD permanent secretaty Datu Azmi Bujang were among those present. — DayakDaily