UNIVERSITIES need to have more collaborative efforts — be it between public and private institutes of higher learning or academia-industry cooperations — to enhance learning and teaching as well as boost research and innovation.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said this would contribute towards the success of the redesigning of the Malaysian education system and would be crucial in boosting Malaysia as a regional education hub.
“It is time for us to collaborate not just among Malaysians but those beyond our borders. And this must not be constrained in just academics but also in financing as well as research commercialisation. This is important in terms of internationalisation — via the image the education puts forth and the marketability of our graduates,” he said.
“Collaborations, specifically the concept of collegiality and commonalities among higher education institutions with government agencies and industries, is critical to avoid working in silos where strengths of each party can be leveraged to enhance the education system,” he elaborated.
Idris was speaking at the launch of Learning Rebranded, an academia-industry initiative between SEGi University with eight partners with a goal to enhance graduate employability through financial support, innovative academic programmes, training and talent management.
Eight separate memoranda of understanding (MoUs) were signed at the event including between SEGi University with Yayasan Sime Darby, Agrobank and Malaysia Building Society Bhd where a total of RM1.2 million worth of scholarship will be awarded to 150 outstanding and underprivileged in the Bottom 40 per cent (B40) income group who would be studying at the university.
Cooperation in areas of job opportunities, talent exchange, research and development of educational learning programmes are expected from the signing of four MoUs with the Malaysia Investment Development Authoirty (MIDA), DRB-Hicom University of Automotive Malaysia, Kolej Yayasan Pahang and Tanri Abeng University from Indonesia.
An MoU was also signed with Asia’s largest integrated insulin manufacturer Biocon Bhd with the support of MIDA to develop the Pharmacy Centre of Excellence in SEGi University.
In a separate MoU, SeGi is collaborating with MIDA to have priority given in receiving information on job opportunities available in its approved projects and investments.
“Learning Rebranded is an answer to the Higher Education Ministry’s call for efforts to expand industry collaborations due to concerns on the need to increase graduate employability amongst youth given the increasing unemployment rate among those aged 25 to 29,” said SEGi University chairman Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas. “This step taken by SEGi and our partners emphasises the importance of building values and skills beyond classroom learning. Our programmes will enable participants to gain entrepreneurial and communication skills, which are relevant for working life.”
Recent collaboration between SEGi University with University of Illinois in Urbana, US for a one month summer exchange student programme which will begin this year is another commendable initiative that offers such diverse learning opportunities.