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Some of the biggest challenges of our time—poverty, income inequality, lack of economic opportunity—can be linked in many parts of the world to insufficient access to quality education and training.
Nowhere is the need to cultivate skills greater than in the Asia Pacific region, which is facing a shortage of 47 million technology and other workers across all sectors, at an annual opportunity cost of $4.2 trillion by 2030, according to HR consulting firm Korn Ferry. The onus is on companies to train workers and on governments to expand their education programs, especially critical as the region’s economies start to emerge from the pandemic. “This dynamic is about more than remote working—or the role of automation and AI,” notes McKinsey in a recent report. “It’s about how leaders can reskill and upskill the workforce to deliver new business models in the post-pandemic era.”
It’s one reason I’m so proud of Oracle’s long-term commitment, championed by founder Larry Ellison, to advancing technology education worldwide, inspiring and preparing people in all walks of life to become the innovators and leaders of tomorrow. This commitment is grounded in hands-on, practical learning that opens career paths, fuels economic growth, and enriches lives.
Oracle is particularly active in Asia Pacific, where our philanthropic Oracle Academy program partners with more than 4,500 education institutions and over 10,000 educators in 23 countries to prepare millions of students for the rigors of both college and career.
Top colleges and universities, technical schools, and secondary schools across the region are using Oracle Academy’s academic curricula and learning materials, as well as Oracle Cloud software and support, to enhance their programs—all free of charge. Students come away with job-specific knowledge and skills in the hottest technology areas, including cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, data management, and the Internet of Things.
Under a separate program, Oracle University, Oracle and partners provide professional training courses and accreditations, at all levels, for the entire Oracle Cloud product portfolio. Oracle University announced on September 8 that it is offering unlimited access to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure training and, for a limited time, OCI certification testing—delivered digitally, on-demand, and in 13 different languages—worldwide free of charge. [You can find out more about this program via this blog post.]
Among Oracle’s many dynamic education partners in the region is Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE), whose Information and Communications Technology track trains 15- to 18-year-olds for jobs in software engineering, mobile app development, data science, AI, cybersecurity, and other fields.
One promising initiative at Hong Kong IVE is Smart Shop, where students put their hands on a variety of cutting-edge retail technologies. This innovation hub, which brings in experts from industry, academia, and research organizations, includes a “smart floor” that collects data in real time on shoppers and cloud-connected smart vending machines that allow for live inventory monitoring.
“S-Shop, or the Unmanned Shop, as we also call it, was built from a highly modularized set of smart technologies used in facial recognition, mobile payments, blockchain, artificial intelligence, and more, so as to create an environment for students to learn and practice those smart technologies,” explains faculty member Woo Hok Luen. “Students can use APIs provided by the system to develop their own solutions and connect them to the other modules in sandbox mode.”
Oracle Academy’s diverse mix of education partners in the region also includes National University of Singapore, whose Graduate Research Innovation Programme has incubated and launched over 250 tech startups; Taiwan’s Lee-Ming Institute of Technology, whose Information Management and Information Technology departments specialize in database management, programming, networking, and application development; Australia’s La Trobe University, which takes pride in the fact that almost 90% of its students secure work within four months of graduation; and Universitas Muhammadiyah Makassar, on the eastern Indonesian island of Sulawesi, which started its informatics department only a few years ago.
Oracle Academy is also active outside of academia in virtual programs that inspire girls and young women to pursue careers in one of the STEM fields, offering expert-led interactive sessions on information security, entrepreneurship, writing, consulting, and other areas.
When it comes to preparing tomorrow’s technology innovators and leaders. there are no quick fixes. The global commitment to training and education must span decades, not fiscal years, and programs must be adjusted constantly as needs change. But we’re starting to make a difference. Nothing less than the futures of our economies and our people are on the line.