Monday, July 7, 2008

Malaysia: "Fascinating Destination" Continues Strong Investment in Education

My first visit to Malaysia was in January 1986 while en route to Japan to pursue graduate studies. Until then, I had travelled extensively in Europe, and was something of a “professional Eurrailer” – having made numerous trips from Paris to Helsinki. Something I enjoyed, with friends in most major cities along the way. My reaction to setting foot in Malaysia: “This is really interesting.” The sights. The food. The people. The hawker stalls. The durian. It was at that point I made the transition to Asia-Pacific guy.

My second visit to Malaysia was in 1993 – on a mission to understand distribution opportunities for desktop projectors. I met with professional audio-visual and computer resellers. My hosts told me about the Malaysia 2020 project – the country’s ambitious national goal to significantly raise the level of its population through technology. This was a positive development for information technology suppliers.

I took time to meet with my uncle – a former Yale professor who had written books on computer programming languages – who was teaching in Malaysia. His role: to prepare Malaysian students for studying abroad.

From 1993 – 1998 I had many occasions to visit Malaysia to support the activities of our resellers – and to enjoy the pungent Durian fruit, the spicy chili crab, and even to enjoy the “break fast” during Ramadan. The Ministry of Tourism ran a campaign for Visit Malaysia Year calling the country “Your Fascinating Destination.” I would agree with that moniker.

Ten years have passed since my last trip to Malaysia, but the country’s investment in technology to improve skills and knowledge of its students continues. This time, the Ministry of Education has selected SmartDraw’s business graphics software for use in classrooms throughout the country as part of its PPSMI Project (Phase 4). SmartDraw will be used to support a program to improve learning of math and science in English. It’s hoped that because many of the teachers already have computers, that SmartDraw software will encourage them to actually use their computers more. I’ll have an opportunity during the next week to meet with Ministry officials, schools, technology integrators and our OEM partners (Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo & Acer are preloading SmartDraw on their computers at the Ministry’s request) to discuss implementation, training and other issues and to learn about “fascinating uses” of business graphics software in the classroom.

(Disclosure: Craig Justice is Director, Worldwide Reseller Sales & Business Development for SmartDraw.Com Click here to read the press release about the Malaysian Ministry of Education’s investment in SmartDraw’s software.)


Aarononontheweb said...

Hey Craig,

I enjoyed reading this post! The glimpses you provided to us of Malaysian experience are intriguing. What's a Durian fruit?

Craig Justice said...

Durian is the "king of fruits". It has spikes (which could kill you if you fell on it; or if it fell out of a tree and hit you on the head). It's smell is so powerful, that is is banned from many hotels, and airplanes. And yet, it is delicious. I'll visit a Durian market during my trip, take pictures, and make a report. This is a fruit to be taken vary seriously in that part of the world.