Recognizing the crucial role of artificial intelligence (AI) skilling in fostering inclusive economic growth by empowering workers and job seekers to supercharge their careers and businesses, the ASEAN Foundation and Microsoft have launched the AI TEACH for ASEAN program aimed at shaping the region’s tech future where AI proficiency is a cornerstone of success.

Microsoft said in a statement on Tuesday that in collaboration with local nonprofits, workforce institutions, and governments, AI TEACH aims to drive significant employment and education outcomes for individuals seeking to upskill themselves.

This concerted effort aims to harness the power of AI and other technologies, ultimately enhancing economic outcomes for the workforce.

According to the statement, the AI TEACH for ASEAN program aims to provide AI Fluency training to 6,200 Technology Vocational Education and Training (TVET) educators in ASEAN, with a focus on Indonesia and Malaysia.

Using the Microsoft AI Trainer Toolkit, the program will empower educators to effectively teach AI concepts and introduces Microsoft and LinkedIn Career Essentials in Generative AI to students, equipping them with essential skills for course completion and certification.

According to the statement, the rise of AI across ASEAN has become a defining force and is poised to contribute an estimated $1 trillion to the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.

As the digital landscape evolves, it noted the imperative to prepare the workforce for the challenges and opportunities in this new era of AI has never been more paramount.

According Dr. Piti Srisangnam, the Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation, the partnership aligned with the goals of the ASEAN Digital Masterplan 2025.

“The AI TEACH for ASEAN program by Microsoft and the ASEAN Foundation is a testament to our commitment to empowering the youth, enhancing their skill sets, and positioning them as catalysts for the region’s progress,

“By fostering innovation and providing practical AI skills, we aim to contribute significantly to the economic and technological growth of ASEAN,” he added.

According to the statement, the end goal of AI TEACH for ASEAN program is to help 400,000 individuals in Indonesia and Malaysia to get better employment and education opportunities while bringing positive changes to the TVET system by integrating AI skilling to align with evolving industry requirements.

The program will achieve this by delivering several key activities.

The first activity is training-of-trainers for TVET teachers across ten ASEAN countries through collaboration with the Senior Officials Meeting on Education and ASEAN Secretariat, ensuring government attention and support.

In Indonesia and Malaysia, TVET trainers will cascade AI skills training to students via MOUs with TVETs.

Complementing the training-of-trainers, a country-level hackathon will be rolled-out in Indonesia and Malaysia, leading up to regional hackathon organized in Indonesia, which aims to foster excitement among trainers to integrate their expertise in generative AI into teaching methods.

Finally, a regional TVET policy-roundtable on AI skilling will also be held to invite policymakers, AI experts, and nonprofits to share experiences and best practices.

“We’re thrilled to work with the ASEAN Foundation, Yayasan Plan International Indonesia and Biji-biji to ensure everyone has the skills to thrive in this exciting era of AI,

“Together, we’re closing the skills gap, providing opportunities for success, enabling inclusive economic growth, and empowering the entrepreneurs of tomorrow—today,” said Andrea Della Mattea, President for Microsoft in ASEAN.

It is noted that in close collaboration with Microsoft, the ASEAN Foundation will assist in overseeing the implementation of the AI TEACH for Indonesia and Malaysia programs that will be spearheaded by Yayasan Plan International Indonesia (YPII) and Biji-biji Initiative with a localised approach to address the unique needs and contexts of each country.

While YPII and Biji-biji Initiative take the lead in Indonesia and Malaysia, respectively, the statement noted the ASEAN Foundation will focus on delivering a regional policy-roundtable on AI skilling and organizing a regional hackathon.

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