Lisbon, here we come!


By S. INDRAMALAR

HEADING for Lisbon, Portugal, the Malaysian delegation to the World Education Market (WEM) aims to see and be seen, to source and outsource. 

Led by the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC), nine education institutions will make up the Malaysian Pavilion at the WEM exhibition hall.  

Apart from MDC, the eight participating institutions are: LimKokWing University College of Creative Technology, Sedaya International College, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Open University Malaysia (OUM), the Multimedia University, Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology, education software developer Media Shoppe and the Asia Pacific ICT Awards Foundation.  

OUM senior vice president Prof Dr Ansary Ahmed says the university has a few set goals to fulfil through its participation at WEM 2003. 

“OUM is, firstly, using WEM as a platform to introduce ourselves to the global community of education providers, which will put us in good stead. Secondly, we are also keen to show the blended pedagogy used by OUM which we believe can be a suitable model for other developing countries. This sharing of experience with others at the WEM will be very useful for us in determining our future pedagogical strategies.  

“Also, although we are very aware of how new we are in the business of open and distance learning, we will be keeping our ears and eyes wide open to learn from others who have been in the business much longer and have a global outreach,” he says. 

OUM readily agreed to join the MDC delegation, realising the necessity of joining international conferences and events in order to become an international player in education.  

“This is so we know where we are, as well as where and how the leaders perceive the future of the education scenario. And, as we are still a new player, we must network with other players. WEM, I believe, is a wonderful platform for this,” Dr Ansary adds. 

While new institutions like OUM see WEM 2003 as a “coming out” of sorts, established institutions like Sedaya International College are going to Lisbon with the aim of forging partnerships and exploring new alternatives.  

Sedaya's chief executive officer and president Peter Ng says: “We want to network with global education partners, explore new education technology (products as well as solutions), develop new business partnerships and collaborations, and observe current trends in the use of IT in schools.” 

Although many Malaysian institutions are wary of spending on events such as WEM which bring no immediate returns (as opposed to student recruitment drives conducted in various foreign countries), the seven institutions participating in WEM 2003 were encouraged by reports on previous WEMs. 

“News about WEM was first brought to OUM's attention by MDC who provided us information on the success of the previous WEM. We did our homework and found out that the WEM is indeed a good platform, especially for us in the business of providing education in the open and distance modes,” says Dr Ansary.  

Ng says: “We first heard of it two years ago but did not participate until now. We would like to expand our business to new markets and incorporate more use of technology. Hence, an international exhibition like this which brings everyone together under one roof should not be missed.” 

Initiated in 2000, WEM is globally acknowledged as the ''premier international marketplace'' that brings buyers, government decision-makers, teaching institutions and world-class suppliers of content, technology, solutions and expertise together. 

WEM 2003 will be held from May 20 to 23 in Lisbon. The four-day trade event comprises an extensive exhibition showcase of the best and latest in education from around the world; conference programmes highlighting topical issues; as well as networking opportunities through features such as Themed Villages, National Pavilions, Product Demonstrations and National Spotlight Sessions. This year, new features include the Research Labs Pavilion and the Broadcasters Village. 

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