Private edu crucial to nation’s progress

Congratulations: Prof Leong and Assoc Prof Dr Geetha with their awards.

EDUCATION is a necessity for the development and progress of any nation. Without a solid education sector, other industries will struggle with the lack of a quality knowledge capital and human resources, INTI International University academic Prof Dr Leong Wai Yie, who received the “Special Recognition – National Unity Award” (university category) at the recently concluded Private Education Excellence Awards 2022, said.

“While the private education sector may appear to be a lucrative business, its cost today is especially high with funding dependent on student enrolments and funds generated by academics through research grants and consultancy projects.

“In addition, private higher education institutions today provide more than half of tertiary and post-tertiary education in the country, saving the government billions of ringgit in educational expenditure.

“These noteworthy contributions highlight the importance of the private education sector in meeting the educational needs of local and international students of all ages,” Prof Leong said in a press release.

Advising private education institutions not to rest on their laurels, she emphasised the need for continuous improvement to remain at the forefront of development.

“Private education institutions must continue investing in their academic and professional staff, strengthening their reputation in world rankings, and more importantly, making sure that they are always delivering quality graduates and research findings that will empower companies with the knowledge capital and skillsets necessary to succeed in future marketplaces,” she added.

Prof Leong has been appointed the Engineering Accreditation Panel and Chair for more than 20 Malaysian universities, upholding the highest quality of engineering education accreditation, besides ensuring continual improvement of their respective standards.

She is also a part of the International Accreditation Panel that assesses university programmes in the United Kingdom.

Prof Leong currently holds the position of council member at The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) United Kingdom, vice president of the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists (INWES), and the first Asia Pacific Gender Equality Committee chairman.

The annual Private Education Excellence Awards 2022, organised by the Private Education Cooperative of Malaysia (EduCoop), also saw Assoc Prof Dr Geetha Subramaniam taking home the “National Outstanding Educator Award” in the university category. Dr Geetha, the INTI Faculty of Health and Life Sciences dean, attributed her success as an educator to her students.

“I have always been passionate about teaching. This award is a testimony to it. I incorporate my industry experience in the lessons so that my students are able to connect theories and knowledge that they had learnt in the classroom to real-world situations.

“When the quality of my students’ work is recognised, it motivates me to do more as I know hard work and dedication don’t disappoint,” she said, adding that the award would continue to encourage her to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education to various communities.

Reflecting on her award, Prof Leong said, “Thank you for motivating me to continue having the highest level of dedication in this job.”

Held on Nov 24 at a hotel in Selangor, the award ceremony recognises outstanding private educators from all private institutions in Malaysia under the categories of teaching, science, arts and design, engineering, research and innovation, and humanities.

A total of eight awardees were chosen from a pool of 210 applicants, INTI said in a press release.

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