Education News

John Curtin Leadership Camp empowers rural youth

March 14, 2017 | Campus News

Group photo of camp participants and facilitators.

Miri – 17 February 2017 – Aiming to build leadership skills and empower youth to make a difference in their lives, the recent 7th John Curtin Leadership Camp (JCLC) at Curtin University, Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) attracted the participation of over 80 students from three rural secondary schools - SMK Luar Bandar, SMK Bekenu and SMK Subis. 

Organised by Curtin Malaysia’s University Life Department, the four-day camp was specially designed for rural school students, teaching them to analyse real-life issues in their communities or schools and devising practical solutions to address them.

The JCLC grew out of a project by George Ong, a Curtin Malaysia alumnus and former student ambassador of the John Curtin Leadership Academy (JCLA) at Curtin Malaysia, for the JCLA in 2010. The JCLA is Curtin University’s premier student leadership programme run at both its Perth and Malaysian campuses. It has since become a major event in the University Life Department’s annual calendar due to continued positive response from schools.

Group discussion during the ‘Design for Change’ activity.

This year, the department collaborated with two of Curtin Malaysia’s student organisations, TEAM and AIESEC, on the camp where they used the ‘Design for Change’ methodology to coach the participants.

‘Design for Change’ offers a simple four-step design process (Feel-Imagine-Do-Share) to problem solving and is based on the conviction that children play an important role in shaping the world and are able to take action towards a more desirable, sustainable future.


Throughout the camp, the participants engaged in various hands-on activities. They included activities using the ‘Feel-Imagine-Do-Share’ process where they would first ‘Feel’ by looking around their community and identify issues, ‘Imagine’ by visualising and coming up with a project to solve the issues, ‘Do’ by executing their projects, and finally ‘Share’ their projects via video presentations.

Another activity called ‘Pitch Your Idea’ involved learning how to pitch their ideas to potential investors, and a series of ‘Arduino Sessions’ equipped them with relevant technical knowledge so they can use technology to solve problems. Arduino is an open-source electronic prototyping platform which enables users to create interactive electronic objects for their project designs.

2_Students experimenting with Arduino kits.

Commenting on her participation in the camp, student Nur Alisa Syazliana of SMK Luar Bandar said she was initially rather apprehensive during her project presentation but slowly built up her confidence over the four-day period, adding that the camp was a good learning experience for all the participants.

For more information on the camp, visit its Facebook page (John Curtin Leadership Camp 2017).

For more information on Curtin Malaysia, visit its website (, its Facebook page (CurtinMalaysia), Twitter profile (curtinmalaysia), Google+ page (Curtin Malaysia) or Instagram (curtinmalaysia).

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