Zambry: Need for more AI, high-tech grads

Building bridges: (From left) Novie and Higher Education director-general Prof Dr Azlinda Azman, Zambry, Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) chief executive officer Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Shatar Sabran, and Parmjit during the Q&A with foreign diplomats at the networking luncheon. — LOW LAY PHON/The Star

Graduates in certain fields, especially artificial intelligence (AI) literacy programmes and the high-tech sector, need to be increased to meet industry and investor demands, says Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir.

“There are certain areas that require more manpower due to the mismatch in skills driven by changes in the industry,” he said during a networking luncheon with the diplomatic missions in Malaysia on Feb 5.

The gathering was to brief foreign diplomats from 72 missions about the future of the Malaysian higher education landscape as well as address issues and challenges faced by international students in completing their studies locally.

During the event, Zambry shared that at a recent dialogue session with the Investment, Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti), the Higher Education Ministry had recommended that foreign students be allowed to work in Malaysia post-graduation.

“It serves our purpose in ensuring the physical and emotional welfare of our students who will go on to make great contributions in the workforce.

“I have raised it during our dialogue and am pleased that Miti has taken it on for the good of everyone,” he said.

On Feb 3, Investment, Trade And Industry Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said the number of local graduates in the high-tech sector was insufficient to meet the demands of investors.

Allowing foreign graduates from local higher education institutions (HEIs) to work temporarily in the country could address the need for more skilled workers, he said.

Zambry said following the ministry’s discussion with Tengku Zafrul, efforts to meet industry demand for skilled graduates were underway, with the help of vice-chancellors of universities in the country to devise a solution to the constraints.

Zambry said over the last three years, there have been a 6% average increase in the number of international students in Malaysia, with approximately 63,718 enrolled in private HEI’s.

The ministry, he said, aimed to welcome students from all countries to study in Malaysia peacefully, and is looking at exploring better ways to assist foreign students in bringing their families along while pursuing postgraduate studies here.

Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) chief executive officer Novie Tajuddin said postgraduate students enrolled in public and private universities are eligible to apply for dependent passes on behalf of their families if they are citizens from the 17 Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries.

Besides the visa processing issues, he said funding for postgraduate students who want to bring their parents along, has to be looked at.

“We are assessing various possible methods to help them manage their family’s transition since our goal is to enhance Malaysia’s higher education presence on a global scale and reel in more foreign students to our shores,” he said.

Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities (Mapcu) president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh said besides ensuring quality education, HEIs are responsible for providing robust pastoral care for international students.

“I always remind my staff that every international student in our institution is somebody’s child, and that their parents bestow trust upon the university and the country to care for their children well.

“I would like to assure all embassies and diplomats here that we promise to do everything we can to ensure every student in Malaysian HEIs is well cared for,” he said.

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Mapcu , education , Zambry Abd Kadir , mapcu


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