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Improving Lives, One Click At A Time

Ryzal Kamis (right) pictured with Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Education, and Minister-in-charge of GovTech, Dr Janil Puthucheary, who was the Guest-of-Honour
Ryzal Kamis (right) pictured with Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Education, and Minister-in-charge of GovTech, Dr Janil Puthucheary, who was the Guest-of-Honour at the National Data Viz Video Challenge.

SIM-University of London (UOL) Bsc Banking & Finance student Ryzal Kamis was awarded the second prize at the National Data Viz Video Challenge on 30 September 2017. The competition, organised by the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech), invites students from Singapore-based Institutes of Higher Learning (Universities, Polytechnics, and Institutes of Technical Education) and Junior Colleges to join the competition. Participants are required to share visually how open data can help improve daily decision-making or the quality of lives of loved ones. For his project, Ryzal designed an application that enables parents, including those with special needs children, to find a suitable school. Ryzal tells us more about his winning project here…

The Inspiration Behind The Project

“I have been educating myself on the state of inclusivity in Singapore and I have realised that there’s plenty to be done when it comes to awareness and acceptance of the special needs community. A survey commissioned by the Lien Foundation presented findings that only one in four Singaporeans are willing to interact with the special needs community, and that one in two parents in the special needs community struggle to find information pertaining to school enrolment and support services. These figures can certainly be improved so I felt that this challenge would be an excellent platform where I can work on this idea to contribute to the issue, regardless of what the outcome could be.”

“My project was given the title ‘Singapore School Locator’ as I intended to highlight to the public as well as to relevant parties on the rising need for better dissemination of information, and in my case, the location of schools which can cater to each child’s needs in the best manner. The inspiration behind this project came about after the Government announced that from 2019 onwards, children with special needs will be included in the Compulsory Education Act.”

A Challenging Process

“It was indeed a challenge to work on this app for the past eight months from February till September. At the beginning of the process, I had to find out more about the different services, initiatives and schools that can cater to children with special needs. Then, I had to scour for relevant data. One such example is the list of schools which have features that cater to special needs kids. However, it was not easy to locate these schools. I felt that a visualisation of these schools on a map would provide parents with a better information on which schools are most convenient for them. In order to achieve this, I worked on more coding and data manipulation to present the visualisations through a consolidated platform in the form of a web application. The prototype of this application took me a total of three weeks to complete. This was done during the period where UOL students were busy studying for their finals. I am glad to say the effort put into this project was not in vain as it led me to win the second prize.”

 Dr Janil Putucheary’s shared about Ryzal’s project in a Facebook post.

Dr Janil Putucheary’s shared about Ryzal’s project in a Facebook post.

Gaining A Head Start

“The Data Analysis Club at SIM provided me with a head start that I needed for working on this application. I picked up the R Programming language which I used for the creation of the application.”

On Representing SIM GE

“It was awesome being able to represent the institution which has supported many initiatives that I have benefited from. I hope that more students will be more fearless in taking up challenges and realise that some sacrifices are often for the greater good in the long run.”

The Future Ahead

“The application has garnered the attention of some relevant parties and we are in the midst of discussing about its continuation and potential.”

“I plan to be more involved in the data analytics scene locally. As I am in my final year of university, I have been looking for valuable opportunities out there, especially in data-centric roles. I hope to be a data analyst in the future and as for now, I am taking time to consider the domain that I want to specialise in.”

Posted online, 26 October 2017