The TA aims to build the capacity of existing urban research or training institutions in South Asia to provide policy makers and practitioners with innovative and evidence-based solutions. This objective is increasingly relevant since urbanization is on an upward trajectory throughout the region and investments in infrastructure have failed to keep pace with this growth. Many of the region's cities are facing similar challenges of inadequate urban infrastructure, environmental degradation, and lack of (or low-quality) services. South Asia accounts for almost half of the world's urban poor. Maintaining vital economic growth while ensuring access to services and a livable environment, including for the poor, is a major challenge facing cities in South Asia and will be the focus of the K-Hub.
The challenges to enhancing city competitiveness, inclusiveness, and environmental sustainability include poor leadership, weak governance, operating inefficiencies, need for substantial capital investments, and a lack of baseline data for effective analysis. Strategic thinking is needed on how to grapple with these issues and develop more integrated and evidence-based solutions to be implemented at scale. While South Asia has good examples to learn from, national and regional knowledge remains fragmented. The K-Hub will help to consolidate existing and future knowledge and disseminate it widely. It will also be a catalyst to accelerate the analysis of successes and failures, extract lessons from urban interventions, develop evidence-based solutions, and lead the debate on critical urban issues across the region. It will also provide a platform for engaging with organizations outside the South Asia region, including universities, think tanks, and other knowledge hubs.
The TA supports ADB''s Urban Operational Plan, 2012- 2020 and its objective of an integrated approach to urban development with systematic benefits and improvements in the quality of life in Asia''s cities. ADB will leverage the K-Hub to (i) develop and promote innovative and cross-cutting ideas, (ii) integrate learning into ADB investment projects and advisory work, and (iii) strengthen knowledge partnerships in the region.
Politeknik Brunei kick-started its IT Academy initiative - a follow up project after the signing of MOU on "Partners in Learning" between Politeknik Brunei and Microsoft Brunei. The aim of this project is to bring industry recognized IT-related certifications into the curriculum, to support the institution's vision in producing innovative, skillful and marketable graduates.
The first phase of the project began recently, when selected Politeknik Brunei students were given the opportunity to undergo the Microsoft Professional Certification Programme. The initial phase focused on providing certification for graduating students from Politeknik Brunei's School of Business, School of Information and Communication Technology, and School of Science and Engineering - whom will be graduating in January 2016.
A total of 20 students participated in the programme and successfully completed the 3-day course. The certification was tailored to the students' needs and academic discipline, whereby 4 students from Business and 6 students from Science and Engineering undertook 'Microsoft Office Specialist (Excel)', and 10 ICT students focused on 'Microsoft Technology Associate (HTML5 Applications Development Fundamentals)'.
The programme was held from 7 December until 9 December 2015, co-facilitated by Tech One Solutions Sdn Bhd and held at the Knowledge Hub (KHUB), Anggerek Desa.
Politeknik Brunei IT Academy will be officially launched sometime next year, which strives to integrate more professional ICT-related certifications into the curriculum, and more importantly boost its students' marketability for future employment as envisioned in the Politeknik Brunei's vision.