Kota Kinabalu, 6 May 2018 – LEVEL UP @ Schools, an initiative by MDEC to nurture future talents for the game industry, kickstarted its first tour of a nationwide game development program in March 2018.
Running in its third consecutive year, LEVEL UP @ Schools works closely with the Ministry of Education, Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) and institutions of higher learnings in Malaysia and has reached out to 92 schools and churned out a total of 76 games from students.
For 2018, the team through various partnerships, aims to reach out to 115 selected schools in 16 locations – one for each state and Federal Territory.
Such partnerships include a strategic partnership formed between Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) to introduce game development skill sets to its Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) students. “We are pleased to have this partnership with MDEC as we believe to further equip MRSM students for the future jobs and as such this program will benefit them well” says Kamaruzaman Jaffar, Director of Bahagian Pendidikan Menengah MARA.
In addition to this, LEVEL UP @ Schools are also partnering up with Malaysian institutions of higher learnings whereby 10 universities and various institutions are on board to pledge their support and commitment in ensuring fellow students are given the opportunity to learn. Among these are Politeknik Besut, Universiti Malaysia Sabah (Kampus Antarabangsa Labuan), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kolej Komuniti Selayang, University Malaysia of Computer Science & Engineering, Swinburne University of Technology, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia, Universiti Kuala Lumpur, dan Nilai University.
A strong believer in innovation and supporter of the program is Forest Interactive. Sponsoring for the second year, the company believes in the preparing future talents for the digital age.
The Forest Interactive delegation to MRSM Kuala Krai, Kelantan include 13 volunteers from various nationalities and game career backgrounds; who were assigned multiple task of assisting and coaching students throughout the program. An interactive sharing session on careers in IT was also included in the programme by Rizal Amir, Forest Interactive’s Head of Department for Technology Development.
Sheena Pimentel, Head of Corporate PR at Forest Interactive adds “The LEVEL UP @ Schools program is no easy feat…. to go school per school, island after island in search for the venue that will allow students to learn about game development. It’s only a 2-day program and yet we have been receiving good feedback from the students. Most of them have expressed interest in going for tech careers after these sessions. We have been fortunate to be given the chance to take part in this nation building initiative as part of our company’s CSR programs, and in return our own employees who volunteer to mentor the kids, get to learn a lot from the kids themselves.”
At the end of the 2 days session, students were given VR gadgets to experience virtual reality themselves.
The LEVEL UP @ Schools program leads to a nationwide game competition where students are encouraged to submit games according to a theme, which will be announced by mid of July while submission ends on 31 August 2018.
For the first time, the competition will introduce two categories, Newcomer and Open following three subcategories – Best Game, Best Technology and Best Visual Art. Five finalists from each category will then be chosen to exhibit their games at the #mydigitalmaker Fair this 29th – 30th September 2018.