KUALA LUMPUR: The National Higher Education Blueprint 2015-2020 will create morally sound graduates who are well-rounded and balanced individuals, and who can hold their own against the world's best, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic).
"Our education must have spiritual strength, be morality based and value-driven. If someone is clever but does not have morals, they will use their education to destroy our country and the world. For example, someone could use their education to build bombs," said Najib on Tuesday in his speech at the blueprint's launch here.
He said the overarching goal of Malaysia's higher education system was to develop Malaysia's talent base so the nation can be competitive on an international level.
"Any nation wishing to compete internationally will say it is about talent. So our education must generate talent, and to get that we are setting international benchmarks, aiming to be among the top one-third of nations in the world. All that we do will have global benchmarks, so Malaysia's standards will improve," said Najib.
Najib added that he was attracted to the idea that universities would be granted increased autonomy under the blueprint, including increased financial autonomy.
"You can monetise your assets and get your alumni to give endowments to their alma mater. I am confident this plan can transform the nation and secure a better future for all of us," said Najib.
He had pointed out that under the blueprint, the Government will contribute RM14bil, while public universities must get an extra RM4bil on their own in 2025.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minster Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in his speech that a focus of the blueprint would be to create graduates who are balanced in a holistic manner.
"Our graduates will have knowledge and moral values with the capability to contribute to the nation and the world. Aside from this, the blueprint will transform the minds of graduates from job seekers to job creators," said Muhyiddin, who spoke of the independence that will be given to Malaysian universities under the blueprint.
"Under the blueprint, public universities will be allowed to develop and carry out multi-track schemes by giving them the power to manage human resources matters. The Education Ministry will develop career paths for researchers, educators, leaders and professionals," said Muhyiddin.
He added that Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar and AirAsia Bhd Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes were among the list of industry leaders who had volunteered to commit their time to the CEO Faculty Programme under the blueprint.
"The programme will consist of guest lectures, panel discussions and co-teaching," said Muhyiddin.
He added that the blueprint would also take life-long education into account by creating more flexible education opportunities, increasing the quality of existing programmes and developing public awareness and interest in such programmes.
"The blueprint will increase the capacity, quality and standards of technical and vocational training by expanding the curriculum to one that is industry-driven," said Muhyiddin.
He added that there would be changes to the funding of universities.
"Presently, the government funds 90% of the operating cost of public universities. Considering that the number of students is set to increase, the ministry will introduce financial sustainability to ensure Malaysia's public universities can be funded more efficiently," said Muhyiddin.
He said that the Government's role would shift from that from a tight controller to that of a regulator and policy maker, with public universities being given autonomy based on their readiness levels.
"This will be balanced with accountability through five-year performance contracts for all public universities," said Muhyiddin, adding that it was also an aim of the blueprint to bring in women and international experts to be members of the university's board of directors.