SERI ISKANDAR: Significant policy reform and innovation are needed to make radical but necessary changes to the traditional education ecosystem, says Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.
The Perak Ruler said a more entrepreneurial approach to higher education must be fostered to bring about these changes.
“This is to ensure that our higher education sector is dynamic and inclusive enough to flourish in an unpredictable, fast-transforming world,” he said in his royal address at the Malaysia Higher Education 4.0 (MyHE4.0) seminar at Universiti Teknologi Petronas here yesterday.
“An entrepreneurial approach would include a greater role for industry and public-private partnerships, drawing on the greater dynamism and innovation in the private sector. This is particularly so in relation to the adoption of digital technologies.”
Sultan Nazrin said higher education was in a state of flux, and the swift pace of technological change had major implications for the sector.
“We are crafting a more comprehensive policy to address these issues, in the form of this seminar.”
MyHE4.0 is the first higher education event in Malaysia that discusses future directions for the sector in light of the 4th Industrial Revolution and the National Transformation (TN50) programme.
Sultan Nazrin said, however, such efforts may meet resistance from the more traditional institutions.
“It will take a lot of courage and tenacity from visionary leaders to introduce the required reforms.
“Such systemic change has clearly become necessary if our higher education is to keep up with developments.
“It is also urgently required if we are to provide our students with an education that equips them to face complex challenges,” he said, adding that this was crucial to meet the country’s objective of becoming a globally-recognised higher education destination.
A higher education sector that is dynamic and inclusive, Sultan Nazrin said, should be able to adapt effectively to the new realities created by technological change.
“This issue of ‘future-proofing’ higher education has become a subject of interest of late, and various forward-looking initiatives are already on trial here in Malaysia,” he said.
These included a more holistic approach to student assessment to include “softer” skills needed for the creative roles of the future economy, he added.
There is also the Accreditation of Prior Learning programme to take account of the broader knowledge and employment experience of returning students.
Sultan Nazrin also highlighted innovations that promoted closer links with the private sector, to help higher education keep up with the changing economy.