SINGAPORE —  A team of college students from Malaysia was awarded as the winner of the first-ever ASEAN Finals of Tata Consultancy Services’ (TCS) Sustainathon held over the weekend in Singapore.

Team The Cuties from Malaysia made up of five students from University Malaya emerged as the ASEAN Champion of TCS Sustainathon 2021, which was themed “Reimagining Education”. Participants were challenged to come up with ideas and sustainability-focused education solutions using technology.

The winning team was awarded a cash prize of $10,000. TCS said they will also get support from LinkedIn on digital branding, building networks and leveraging the platform to navigate school to work transitions.

Six teams or the two top teams from Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore participated in the ASEAN Finals, which was held on Aug. 20 in TCS’ Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore.

Judges for the finals included representatives from LinkedIn, Stewardship Asia Centre, Temasek Trust, TCS and the champion team of the inaugural edition of TCS Sustainathon in 2020.

TCS said it saw more than 100 teams from the three countries participate in the local editions of Sustainathon 2021.

“Addressing flash challenge statements from regional challenge partners, the teams presented their innovative ideas, such as the use of artificial intelligence and virtual platforms to encourage more inclusive, personalized, and self-directed learning,” TCS said.

Team The Cuties designed Qtee, a solution meant to address the problems students face in integrated digital learning and enhance student engagement and interaction.

Qtee is an interactive study platform powered by AI with a virtual assistant Qsee for students, parents and teachers. The platform uses gamified learning modes and emotion detection technology to make school fun for students. It also offers automated reports and connectivity with teachers so parents can monitor their children’ progress in school.

The first runner-up was Team SchoNEXT from the Philippines, which was composed of four students from Ateneo de Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao State University-Iligan, and University of the Philippines-Cebu. Their solution was called Kopihan, a virtual learning platform for students that allows them to connect with peers and manage their environment to avoid distractions.

At joint third place were Team The Capables from Malaysia and Team Circus from Singapore.

Team The Capables, with students from Asia Pacific University, presented a solution called EduRealm, an integrated digital learning platform for students, teachers, and parents that aims to boost productivity and engagement levels.

Meanwhile, Team Circus, made up of students from Singapore Management University and Nanyang Technological University, came up with Edugether, a peer-learning platform with gamified elements to help students get access to study materials, offering tutor-tutee matching and the ability to find study groups, among others.

In fifth place was the Philippines’ Team ReadIO Works, which was composed of two students from De La Salle University and University of the Philippines. They presented a digitalized, gamified reading solution called ReadIO, which uses phonics-based instruction and repeated exercises for oral reading fluency.

Lastly, placing sixth was Team Edify, made up of students from the National University of Singapore. The team was named after the solution they presented, Edify, which is a one-stop video conferencing and learning management system offering tools and analytics for a tailored blended learning environment.

“I am heartened to see that TCS has provided an additional channel for our youths to showcase their talents and promote the exchange of ideas at the first ASEAN edition of Sustainathon. It is important that youths across ASEAN build networks and friendships across borders with each other, so that we can draw on our diverse experiences and perspectives to cross-share best practices and come up with more innovative and impactful ideas,” Singapore Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong said in his speech at the event.

“This is what TCS Sustainathon is about—  to open the eyes of our youths to the challenges faced by the world, so that they can play a leading role in helping us solve these problems. After all, they hold the key to our future, and the earlier we can integrate them into the process, the better it will be for all of us,” TCS Asia Pacific President Girish Ramachandran said in his own speech.

The company said TCS Sustainathon 2022 is underway, with local editions currently ongoing in Australia and New Zealand and set to start in the fourth quarter in other markets. — Bettina V. Roc