Research plan to benefit groups

Idris and his deputy Datuk Dr Mary Yap greeting the ministry’s staff before delivering his new year message.

THIS year will be about ‘‘Redesigning Higher Education’’ to ensure the country’s higher education remains current.

The question is to translate university research into a solution for national and international issues to benefit industries, academia, governments and larger society.

A Research Priority Roadmap 2017 will be created to ensure translational research remains focused, relevant and more valuable to society.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the roadmap will also contain a “Grand Challenge” programme that is in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This will be led by Malaysian research universities.

“It is also to promote talented researchers involved with SDG and positioning research for global excellence in line with the eighth thrust of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education),” he said when delivering his new year message to his ministry staff at Putrajaya on Thursday.

The government, he added, has invested RM5.58bil for research from 2007 to 2015 while universities have successfully made RM7.17bil from their research activities.

“This is a 28.5% Return on Investment for Research,” he said, adding that the amount generated includes fundamental research - books, consultation and services, as well as commercial research leading to products and intellectual property.

As part of the redesigning higher education agenda, Idris said that the ministry is moving away from the concept of students as “knowledge recipients” to “knowledge co-curators”.

“Students nowadays are capable of self-directed learning,” he said.

Educationists should also change their mindset to cater to the learning styles of millennials that is heavily dependent on technology.

Idris also announced the appointment of the ministry’s deputy secretary-general (management) Datuk Kamel Mohamad as its first chief information officer (CIO).

Kamel said that one of the roles of a CIO is to manage and analyse the “big data” that is collected by the ministry and higher education institutions

This information, he said, will be used to create a more personalised and flexible education system.

On another matter, Idris said the ministry will launch the Gap Year 2017 programme from this September.

“This will involve eight public universities and provide opportunities to students to try out many things, including voluntarism,” he said.

Idris announced last July that the ministry was considering the gap year programme to create more well-rounded graduates.

The programme was in response to undergraduates’ request to develop a more diverse range of skills to ensure better employability. — By REBECCA RAJAENDRAM

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