Malaysia has this week launched a lab for students to get hands-on training on cutting-edge technologies.

The Digital Maker Centre, located on Penang Island, will work with teachers and students in neighbouring schools. It will host workshops for students to learning programming, robotics and tinker with arduinos.

It will also be a place for teachers to learn about how they can incorporate these activities into their curriculum.

The aim is to “build strong interest and momentum among students and teachers on creating digital innovations and solutions”, a spokesperson for the Malaysian Development Corporation (MDeC) told GovInsider.

“MDeC is currently working with more schools around the country to establish more Digital Maker Centres”, he said.

The agency is leading the country’s Digital Malaysia plan to help more companies use digital technologies. The country aims for technologies to drive 20% of its GDP by 2020.

Malaysia is following a regional trend of maker labs. Singapore has been running an initiative called the IDA Labs since 2014. It has set up three maker labs, each for a different section of the community.

There is one for citizens, and another for technologists, journalists and designers. The third is for businesses to test their products and find new uses in the public sector.

Bandung plans to launch a maker lab this year for startups to experiment with technology, while Jakarta has a co-working space in its Smart City Lounge where it builds apps with startups.