Future-proofing the talent of Malaysia's Indian B40 community for the new economy: a multi-stakeholder partnership framework

Mahendhiran Nair, Santha Vaithilingam, Pervaiz Ahmed, Li-Ann Hwang, Jason Wei Jian Ng

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Talent is one of the key catalysts for the socio-economic development of communities across the globe. Over the last three decades, the labour market has undergone significant transformations due to converging digital technology and inter-networked knowledge systems. The digital revolution has opened new opportunities for communities to access information and knowledge that is important for improving the quality of life of vulnerable communities. On the other hand, the lack of access to technology has increased the knowledge and wealth gap among the 'haves' and 'have-nots'. In this context, we will explore the readiness of students and the workforce of the bottom 40 per cent of Indians (iB40) in Malaysia in embracing this new world order of an increasingly knowledge-intensive and hyperconverged economy. This study highlights that the iB40 community lags behind other communities on several educational and socio-economic metrics. The study shows that a large proportion of the iB40's educational attainment is low, and many are working in 'sun-set' industries. To ensure the iB40 community is not left behind in the country's economic development, a stronger education & training ecosystem that fosters a strong multi-stakeholder partnership framework (collaboration between education institutions, industry, government agencies and community organisations) is needed. This is critical to ensure that students and the workforce from the iB40 community have access to 21st-century skills and competencies. The Program Titian Digital (PTD), an ICT literacy program to enhance digital education for students from the iB40 is presented in this paper as a case study. The case study shows the key success factors for developing a dynamic and vibrant ecosystem to enhance 21st-century skills for these vulnerable communities. Insights from this case study will provide important lessons for other education and training initiatives for the community and other vulnerable communities in Malaysia to emulate.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMalaysian Indians and Education
Subtitle of host publicationReimagined Development Opportunities
EditorsRajendran Nagappan, Hena Mukherjee
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9781003257394
ISBN (Print)9781032190228, 9781032190235
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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