Thumbs-up for WEM 2002

With less than a month to the World Education Market 2003, things are shaping up. Speakers have been confirmed, participants have registered and last minute details are slowly but steadily being sorted out.  

Held for the second consecutive time in Lisbon, Portugal, WEM 2003 has lots in store for participants, staying true to its tagline “Solutions for a World of Learning”. At the event, which will be held from May 20 to 23, registered participants will have access to three full days of conference, with sessions that aim to provide global insight, practical strategies and interactive case studies as well as the exhibition and various networking events that encourage partnerships and collaborations.  

To date, about 60 speakers from different countries have confirmed their participation. Scheduled to deliver the keynote address for the conference programme is Viviane Reding, a member of the European Commission Responsible for Education and Culture while other speakers include Knowledge Economy Expert from the World Bank Institute, Carl Dahlman; Grace Caulfield, global manager of E-learning for Sun Microsystems; Paolo Benesperi, the Minister of Employment, Training and Education for the Tuscany region in Italy; and Mukesh Aghi of Universitas 21, among others. 

One session that promises to be beneficial is Reporting on the Marketplace, a previously popular session that will update participants with the latest figures of the education marketplace. Here, trends, opportunities and public-private investment patterns on European, United States and international markets will be revealed. Presenting the reports are Dr Claudio Dondi, the president of Scienter, Italy; Kosmo Kalliarekos of the Parthenon Group in the US; and Ronald F. Perkinson, a senior education specialist with the International Finance Corporation in the US. 

This year, the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC) is heading the Malaysian delegation, comprising primarily of MSC-status companies and institutions of higher learning to Lisbon. On board the MDC delegation so far are: Multimedia University, Open University Malaysia, LimKokWing University-College of Creative Technology, Sedaya International College and Universiti Utara Malaysia. 

Participants who attended last year's conference have positive feedback and encourage more Malaysians in various aspects of the education and IT industries to check out WEM 2003. Below are the views of several WEM 2002 participants. 

Dr. Norrizan Razali, Smart School Flagship Manager, Multimedia Super Corridor 

“Anyone involved in education in any way must attend the World Education Market. Whether you’re an information technology solutions provider, an academic or policy maker, you will find the experience very beneficial. 

“The sessions (talks and presentations) are very focused and networking takes place on a global scale. 

“There are companies and institutions at various stages of development sharing their experience at the event, so you never know what you are going to gain. 

“Those wanting to foster new business relationships will have an abundance of partners to choose from, while policy makers get to learn the latest trends in the education market. 

“Everything there is fresh and focused. If there is one education event you must attend, then this it. Skip all the rest. The WEM will get you what you want.” 

Joe Chapon, Vice-President of Learning Forum which runs SuperCamp 

I totally support the mission of the conference to encourage sharing of information, experiences, research and programmes in the field of education.  

The highlight sessions for me were: “Reporting on the Marketplace”, an update on educational programmes and statistics worldwide; and “Enriching Learning Through International Partnerships” which was very helpful in discussing what my company, SuperCamp, can receive and do in other countries. 

Many of the other sessions were able to provide a gem or two on teacher training, e-learning opportunities and the reality that technology is only a tool to the human learning experience.  

Much of my real learning came in talking with the representatives of all the companies who had booths. This is the essence of the conference.  

Dr Koo Wee Kor, Inti College Malaysia Vice-President for Administrative Affairs 

“The speakers provided a very promising overview on developments in providing education to learners all over the world. The market is not just restricted to the young, but includes adult and corporate training, which though trailing, promises to be a bigger development.  

“My overall impression from WEM 2002 is that there is global realisation of the huge potential in the demand for education to meet the increasing demand of the knowledge economy. The inability of the public sector to meet that demand and the need to remove the barrier for education has seen a tremendous boost in innovative and quality delivery of education, especially in the private sector. Consumer-centred education services take centre stage.  

“The opening up of the minds to a more practical vision of increasing knowledge and skills to meeting the challenges of the global k-economy is the top-most priority in policy making and business decisions in the education sector. Failing which we cannot hope to take our rightful place in the world where the market place is blind to sentiments and emotions.  

The Malaysian contingent was noticeable, but the impact was just minimal. Although there were 12 institutions that had registered as participants there was no concerted effort at all to promote Malaysia as an education innovator and regional hub for education excellence.  

Matrade (Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation) or the MoE (Ministry of Education) should have taken the lead to portray a dynamic image of a knowledge country which has internationally accepted quality standards and accreditation. 

Nigel Banister, Sales and Marketing Director, UK eUniversities 

“I had been in my new role as Sales & Marketing Director of UK eUniversities all of two weeks. This initiative is UK higher education industry’s response to the next phase of online learning, being an established part of the overall process of making education really accessible. The UK Government has teamed up with Sun Microsystems and injected serious funding to set new world standards that UK Universities can be proud of. We will not have actual products for a few months but with a change in focus for me to fronting a public private partnership I needed to start networking at a top level.  

“That is when my attention was drawn to WEM which promised “to help you cut through the crowds to reach senior educational executives and decision makers, from both public and private sectors around the world”.  

Sure enough when I eagerly surveyed the list of participants it was an international who’s who of education. The appointments that I was able to make even at short notice a week before attending enabled me to speak with people that if I visited would have ensured my family holidays for the next few years with the air miles! If I had had longer to prepare, I could have ensured every waking hour was packed but would have missed some pleasant encounters.  

“In brief interludes, I resorted to approaching groups from my future target countries and did that with a trio from Beijing. After testing the water with a mini explanation of eUniversities I was gradually surrounded by around 30 friendly Chinese. After an impromptu speech they politely applauded and I had my photo taken with every conceivable combination of these delegates – I have my hospitality taped for next time in China! 

“Apart from such opportunities a visit to the entrepreneurial Jingkun Bi of China Campus provided free knowledgeable and realistic advice for those seeking to venture into that market. Isn’t new world enthusiasm great – thank you everybody on the Canadian stand. One of the small gripes is that at the price of the ticket couldn’t coffee have been free and refreshments more easily obtained? As it was many resorted to the drinks and nibbles offered by the Canadians rather than face the long queues at intervals in the conference. 

“Many suppliers to the industry had taken the opportunity to launch new products like NCC Education with their Virtual Campus and so it was an ideal time to catch up on the latest developments. What is it about these shows that make all competitors talk so openly with each other? I guess that few exhibitors will have been unhappy with the interest level, as most stands seemed constantly busy. 

I wish that I had had more time to attend the conference as well but it was not so much my personal focus this trip. However, I would pick out the excellent session on “Reporting on the marketplace”. Three education specialists from the finance industry spoke with authority and objectivity on how global education is doing as a business and what the trends are for the future - not to be missed!  

“So did WEM deliver for me? Yes, and I will be back, hopefully as an exhibitor and speaker next time.”  

Rohaya Amal Wan Abdul Razak, Business Development Manager, Telekom Smart School Sdn Bhd 

“It is a good seminar which should be attended by educationists and those who are involved directly or indirectly with the education industry.  

“As the business development manager of my company, I felt that it was very useful for me to explore education solutions and products available in Europe. Through WEM, we established business partnership with foreign partners such as English Courseware.  

“Some products like their assessment system and other applications are really good for the market here. Through WEM, we were able to explore further business contacts in Europe, and penetrate further into the international market. 

“I encourage Malaysians involved in education to attend this gathering to get themselves exposed to the state-of-the-art technology available in the education industry. It is a great place to network.” 

WEM 2003 will be held from May 20 to 23 in Lisbon, Portugal. To book a place, contact Allan Cheah or Maria Khor of MDC at: 03-8315 3000. For more details, visit  

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