REDESIGNING MALAYSIA’S HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM


  • Education
  • Sunday, 06 May 2018

The exhibition booths at the three-day Going Global 2018 Conference.

MALAYSIA aims to become the best choice of destination for higher education.

Higher Education Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur in her welcomimg address

at the Going Global 2018 Conference, said the country has a target to enrol 200,000 international students in Malaysia by the year 2020 and 250,000 in 2025.

“Currently, we have achieved 170,000 students from over 135 countries. They are from Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” she said.

She said the Malaysia Higher Education accessibility has improved significantly from 14% in the eighties to more than 44% in 2016.

In fact, she said Malaysia’s Gross Enrolment Ratio in 2016 of 44% is higher than most of the Asean countries, and higher than the world average of 37%.

Currently, there are 20 public universities, 37 Polytechnics and 105 Community Colleges.

Dr Noorul Ainur says the ministry hopes to have at least 15 of students involved in entrepreneurship activities while ensuring that 10 of the graduates will become entrepreneurs upon graduation.
Dr Noorul Ainur says the ministry hopes to have at least 15 of students involved in entrepreneurship activities while ensuring that 10 of the graduates will become entrepreneurs upon graduation. 

There are 477 private higher education institutions, of which 53 are private universities and 36 are private university colleges.

“Malaysia is also home to 10 foreign university branch campuses, something we are very proud to turn Malaysia into a regional higher education hub,” she said.

“We are also very proud of our success stories on the global Higher Education arena.

“We use the acronym UMAR as U refers to the U21 ranking as according to Universitas 21, Malaysia’s higher education system is ranked 25th best in the world while M is for Universiti Malaya (UM). According to the QS World University Ranking, UM is currently ranked 114th and we expect it to break into the top 100 in the world by 2019. The US News Best Global Universities recently ranked UM’s engineering faculty as 10th best in the world,” she said.

A is for Asean University as based on the QS Ranking, five out of the eight best universities in the Asean region are from Malaysia. They are Universiti Malaya (third); Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) (fourth); Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (fifth); Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) (seventh); and Universiti Sains Malaysia (eighth).

R is for Research University as the country’s five research universities are among the top 1% in the world (out of 26,000 universities worldwide).

Dr Noorul Ainur said Malaysia’s Higher Education policy is being transformed to keep pace in tandem with the fast changing technology.

“Towards achieving a developed nation status, higher education is one of the most important sectors to propel Malaysia’s talent development in spearheading Malaysia’s socio-economic growth in line with the 11th Malaysia Plan as well as Malaysia Higher Education Blueprint (2015-2025).

“The Blueprint envisaged 10 shifts in the higher education sector to make Malaysia as the best higher education hub in the world.

“To further strengthen the 10 shifts, various initiatives were introduced through Redesigning Malaysian Higher Education System,” she said.

Balanced graduates

To further strengthen the 10 shifts of the Higher Education Blueprint, various initiatives are being introduced through the Redesigning Malaysian Higher Education System.

“I would like to highlight five main initiatives aimed at producing holistic, entrepreneurial and balanced graduates.

“These includes the iCGPA. The Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average initiative is a comprehensive assessment system that adds value to the traditional CGPA.

“The iCGPA assesses students across eight domains of learning outcomes including knowledge, social responsibility, communications, leadership and teamwork, problem solving skills, entrepreneurial skills, as well as values and ethics,” she said.

In 2018, she added that the ministry is working closely with Malaysian higher learning institutions to integrate big data and learning analytics into the iCGPA framework to future proof graduates including the gig-economy.

The 2u2i stands for two years in university and two years in industry. It is a work-based learning programme in which students spend two years in the university to gain knowledge; and two years of hands-on practices in the industry.

For example, UTM offers a Bachelor in Data Engineering, partnering with top-tech companies such as Oracle, Microsoft and Ericsson. Students spend approximately 45% of the programme in university and 55% with the companies.

“In 2015, we launched the CEO@Faculty Programme, involving Malaysia’s top CEOs such as Khazanah Nasional, Maybank, AirAsia, Shell, Samsung and Huawei as the university’s adjunct professors.

“In 2017, 72 CEOs participated in the programme, comprising 10 percent from technology-based and innovation sectors. Currently, 96,000 students and lecturers have benefitted from this programme,” she said.

On the CEO@Faculty Programme, Dr Noorul Ainur said: “Our academia is excellent. But when it comes to the real deal, you must get it from the real players.”

“These are the success stories that need to be highlighted to our students. Everyone has to start from somewhere, however humble. But with determination and the right knowledge, anyone can be great. We want our students to be book-smart and street-smart,” she added.

Some of the CEOs even go beyond lecturing.

Air Asia has marked its collaboration with UPM in a unique way when for the first time in the world, a university’s livery was painted on a plane.

It was launched by Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, with the livery depicting the words “Universiti Putra Malaysia”, its motto “With Knowledge We Serve” and icon, a rain tree designed by its Faculty of Design and Architecture.

Through this non-commercial initiative, AirAsia provides a platform for UPM in the field of design, creativity and art for high-impact projects.

For the future, pictures of students and programmes offered by UPM will be posted on the cabin wall inside the aircraft.

Samsung is another example.

The UTeM (Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka) Samsung IOT Academy, which was established in 2015 aims to expose local university students to emerging technologies and enable them to undergo training on software and hardware development.

“This smart partnership between UTeM and Samsung will drive digital learning skill to support the government’s vision of a knowledge-driven and high income nation.

“This programme has benefitted 100 students and 50 lecturers in mobile security, and IoT industrial base module,” she added.

Creating jobs

The ministry has established national targets of having at least 15% students involved in entrepreneurship activities while studying while at least 10% of the graduates will become entrepreneurs upon graduation.

“The percentage of students involved in entrepreneurship activities increased from 20% in 2012 to 75% in 2017.

“The upward trend is also observed in the percentage of graduates who become entrepreneurs upon graduation,” she added.

Dr Noorul Ainur said the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) initiative was introduced to encourage lifelong learning and to widen higher education accessibility to Malaysians.

APEL provides opportunities for Malaysians to pursue their studies using their work and relevant experiences to gain entry to universities in Malaysia.

APEL has enabled more than 1,000 Malaysian citizens to pursue tertiary education, including direct enrolment in postgraduate studies.

“Now we come to the latest change: The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). How should we prepare for it?

“In 2017, the ministry embarked on a comprehensive effort to benefit from the 4IR. These include creating both awareness and understanding among academia, administrators, institutional leaders and students about the 4IR: its impact, needs, and challenges, as well as opportunities;

“Developing adaptive skills in higher education as 4IR brings a lot of uncertainties, we recognise that Malaysian Higher Education institutions must produce graduates who possess intangible human elements such as flexible thinking skills, adaptability, values and ethics.

“We also need to facilitate the changes that need to happen within the higher education institutions. These includes a flexible curriculum, modular classrooms and 21st century pedagogy such as heutagogy (self-based learning), paragogy (peer-oriented learning) and cybergogy (virtual-based learning),” she said.

This conference, she added, provides a good platform to discuss the latest development in the 4IR and the way to move higher education forward.

Dr Noorul Ainur expressed her appreciation to British Council Malaysia for the close collaboration and support in successfully co-hosting this event.

“I would also like to thank British Council for entrusting Malaysia with the privilege of co-hosting Going Global 2018.

“We are proud that Malaysia was chosen as the first country in the Southeast Asian region to co-host the conference,” she said.

Malaysia has introduced various initiatives to ensure it becomes a regional higher education hub.

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