The strength of SDGA has always been its potential to gather the best and brightest minds of the Dayak community to come together and deliberate on solutions. In recent years, SDGA has focused tremendously on developing human capital, promoting education and knowledge sharing as well as keeping up with the latest information and trends with regards to global updates in technology.
The newly elected Executive Committee of 2023-2025 will continue this methodology as it has yielded positive outcomes for the association as well as keeping in line with Sarawak Post-Covid Development Strategy 2030 (PCDS 2030).
The strategic pillars of SDGA moving forward will focus on these 5 keypoints:
- Education & Knowledge Sharing
- Networking & Community
- Entrepreneurship & Financial Literacy
- Skills Development
- Digital Literacy
Education & Knowledge Sharing
A continued emphasis will be given to advocate for the best quality education for our community. The vast opportunity for students from preschool level all the way to tertiary education to receive financial education aid must be streamlined so that it truly goes to communities that are deserving – from the lower socioeconomic background.
We will continue information sharing about any education bursaries or scholarships that exists out there, whether it is from the private sector, government or by any international organisations – for example the Chevening Scholarship. Another culture that we must begin to inculcate among members is the sharing of good quality information with each other, especially with regards to education, employment, and business opportunities. SDGA members should be able to have access to information regarding upskilling and reskilling, especially in the area of postgtaduate education or professional certification.
SPM Masterclasses (or SPM clinics) will continue and we call upon teachers from all over Sarawak to assist us oversee this. It is imperative that we make secondary education a mandatory milestone for all Sarawakians.
Networking & Community
One of the greatest strengths of SDGA has always been its members. Our members come from various backgrounds and professions from all over Sarawak (and some Sarawakians working abroad!). We have much to learn from each other and we must capitalise on that potential. Each SDGA member carries a unique blueprint and is an expert in their own regards – their own field of study, their occupation, their heritage, or their aspirations. It is imperative that at every SDGA event, members interact with each other and exchange stories and contact details with one another.
We must also connect with our community especially those that are in the rural heartland of Sarawak. When given the right opportunity, there is plenty of potential amongst our rural people when it comes to education and entrepreneurship. SDGA will strive to provide as much opportunity, training and assistance to those in need.
Entrepreneurship & Financial Literacy
One of the biggest drivers of the economy is the small & medium enterprise (SME) sector. It creates products, goods and services as well as help create ample employment opportunities. If Sarawak aims to become a high-income region by 2030, we will need to nurture more entrepreneurs that can help propel economic growth of our region.
Prudent financial management whether personal or for business is imperative and is a skill that can be learnt when the right knowledge is given. There is a direct correlation between good personal financial planning decisions with the socioeconomic and education wellbeing of a household. Hence an emphasis and initiative to encourage good practices when it comes to financial management is important to pursue.
There are plenty of job opportunities related to TVET and STEM which are major drivers of the economic sector. Higher learning institutions that provide training in TVET has been rigorously providing training to our local community. Most of these institutions also provide allowances and lodging assistance to the trainees. We will continue to tap into these training institutions and promote the significance of TVET education.
Apart from that, we must also emphasise on providing skills to upgrade the performance of our human capital, ranging from undergraduates to business operators. Some of the examples of useful skills would be; conduct during job interviews, public speaking, digitalizing business, onboarding to an e-commerce platform, advanced entrepreneurship course, personal financial management and many more. We would like to have more trainings and courses and are calling out to anyone who can conduct these courses or workshops to come and collaborate with SDGA and INVENT.
As the world grapples with the 4th Industrial Revolution, there is no escaping the digital world. There is a need to adopt and adapt into the fast-paced world of digitalisation, hence we must not leave anyone behind if we are to brace this future together. The digital literacy gap between the young and the old, as well as those from the rural and urban community, must be narrowed. We must strive to empower our community with the knowledge of digital access, e-wallets, e-commerce, online banking, cloud computing, IoT and blockchain technology. The sooner we move to gain knowledge in these areas, the faster we can catch up with our regional counterparts in Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.
Believe it or not, there are plenty of rural farmers in Indonesia and Thailand that are making a steady income stream from publishing Tiktok and Youtube videos of their farming activities. The idea for Sarawak to have a few of their own celebrity farmer is not a very remote possibility and is one of the many examples of what potential digital literacy can nurture. But we must begin by closing the digital divide and improve digital literacy amongst our community especially our rural counterparts.
The challenge ahead of us is tremendous. However, we must not be shaken by what we do not understand. Instead, we must consistently improve ourselves and always be equipped with the latest knowledge and tools to brace the future that is the 4th Industrial Revolution. SDGA will continue to be the beacon to help guide our community to confidently sail into the new world. #keepmoving
Dr. Jawing Chunggat, MBBCh BAO, LRCP/SI