Keeping up with the times

Education matters: UM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Hamdi Abd Shukor (right) briefing Sultan Nazrin during the Higher Education Leadership Academy Global Series. — Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Higher education leaders need to have a sound business sense in order to keep their institutions relevant with the current financial outlook and market volatility, says Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.

The Sultan of Perak said these leaders need to be forward-looking, agile and adaptable.

“With mounting global financial pressure and the evermore apparent impacts of the climate crisis, the present landscape for higher education institutions is turbulent, challenging and uncertain,” he said during his Royal address at the Higher Education Leadership Academy Global Series at Universiti Malaya (UM) yesterday.

Sultan Nazrin, who is also the UM chancellor, said the role of a university had become less clear due to rapid technological changes, a changing labour market, geopolitical shifts and tensions, a populist backlash against multiculturalism and globalisation and the impact of current and future pandemics.

“Given the current financial outlook and market volatility, it might seem logical that 21st century universities need to think more like businesses,” he said.

The Perak Ruler said they needed to think about the value that their courses provided to students in the global marketplace, though caution should be taken so that universities do not view themselves solely as businesses.

“Their success and value cannot be measured purely in terms of profit, and their students are not simply customers,” he said, adding that they were “thought leaders, defenders and discoverers of knowledge”.

“I, for one, firmly believe that universities have a civic duty to use their talents and resources to support the public good,” he said.

At the same event, Sultan Nazrin also extended his sympathies to the people of Turkiye and Syria.

“At this time of suffering and grief, you are all in our thoughts and prayers,” he said.

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