Curtin University students recently returned from Malaysia where they studied the feasibility of introducing internet access in Long Latei, a rural community in South-Western Miri.
The project, through the Curtin Leadership Centre and AsiaBound programme, involved seven students from the Schools of Science and Engineering, Humanities and Health Sciences.
The two week inaugural project required the students to work in a team environment to design and implement a feasibility study with the Penan tribe, nomadic aboriginal people living in Sarawak and Brunei, and one of the last such peoples remaining as hunters and gatherers.
The report’s findings were presented to the Curtin Sarawak campus and the Australian High Commission, showing that children in the rural community would greatly benefit from access to the internet and computing facilities.
Mr James Heron, a Curtin Exercise Sports and Rehabilitation Studies student and one of the participants, said the experience gained from the trip allowed the students to explore global issues of communication in remote areas.
“Students were able to open their eyes to finding a balance between preserving cultures and assisting disadvantaged communities,” Mr Heron said.
“We immersed ourselves in a completely different world whilst exploring what elements of our own technology we can integrate to enhance the tribe’s education and connection now, and into the future.”
A video compiled by the students on their experience can be viewed on Youtube.
More information on the Curtin Leadership Centre and the programs it offers to students and staff, including scholarships and grants for students to visit international conferences can be found on the Curtin Leadership Centre website.