ASEAN Digital Innovation Programme to Equip Youth with Future-Ready Skills


A regional blog-making competition for youth from 10 ASEAN Member States will be organized at the end of this year.

The ASEAN Foundation and Microsoft have launched a joint initiative to prepare ASEAN youth for industrial revolution 4.0.

The ASEAN Digital Innovation Programme is aimed at equipping underserved ASEAN youth, aged between 15 to 35, with future-ready skills.

It is targeting to reach 46,000 underserved youth in seven ASEAN countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam) and equip them with digital skills to enable them to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution.

To achieve this objective, local partners from each of the seven countries will be brought in to deliver capacity building workshops for over 500 educators by harnessing a specifically developed learning module.

Following the implementation of the workshops, a regional blog-making competition for youth from 10 ASEAN Member States will take place at the end of the year. The competition will challenge ASEAN’s youth to create a blog on ASEAN-wide sustainability challenges.

An integrated website to be launched in April

Besides the competition, another key milestone of the programme will be an integrated website, which will be launched in April this year. The website will serve not only as the foremost e-learning platform for underserved youth in ASEAN to deepen their digital skills, but also as medium to spread ASEAN’s awareness among youth.

Yvonne Thomas, Director of the Global Digital Skills program, Microsoft Philanthropies, commented, “At Microsoft, we strongly believe that technology can be a force for social and economic inclusion. By equipping young people with digital skills, we’re increasing their economic opportunities while also addressing the talent shortage faced by industries as they digitally transform.”

Thomas continued, “With the ASEAN Digital Innovation Programme, we are committed to building the capacity of the ASEAN Foundation and its local training partners to equip underserved youth – in particular young women – for the future of work.”

He added that through high-quality and equitable computer science education, youth will develop creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills which are essential to thrive across all sectors.

“We’re happy to announce that the ASEAN Foundation has joined hands with Microsoft in implementing a regional programme that aims to equip ASEAN youth with digital skills that are critically necessary in the current day and age,” said Elaine Tan, the Executive Director of ASEAN Foundation.

Worrying youth unemployment ratio

The first ASEAN Youth Development Index (ASEAN YDI) conducted in 2016 had revealed a worrying trend. It indicated that the youth unemployment ratio of the region has reached an alarming figure of 6.4 over the period between 2011 to 2015, meaning that youth were 6.4 times more likely to be unemployed than their adult counterparts in the labour force.

Realizing that the future of ASEAN is in the hands of its youth, all 10 ASEAN Member States have intensified their efforts to develop and empower youth.