Var­sity, in­dus­try united in goals

New Straits Times - - Higher ED - ZULITA MUSTAFA

THE story of Univer­siti Tun Ab­dul Razak’s (UNI­RAZAK) part­ner­ship with the in­dus­try be­gan a few years ago, when UNI­RAZAK was asked to be­come an in­sti­tu­tion that can ful­fil three ba­sic ar­eas of con­cern.

The first is to be­come a univer­sity that is dif­fer­ent from ex­ist­ing public uni­ver­si­ties; se­condly, to be dif­fer­ent from ex­ist­ing pri­vate uni­ver­si­ties; and thirdly, to be­come an in­sti­tu­tion that can play an ef­fec­tive role in sup­ply­ing hu­man re­sources that meet the needs of the coun­try in na­tion build­ing.

UNI­RAZAK pres­i­dent and vice-chan­cel­lor Datuk Seri Dr Md Zabid Ab­dul Rashid, in his talk, en­ti­tled Fund­ing the Fu­ture: A Part­ner­ship Story be­tween Aca­demic and In­dus­try, said in re­al­is­ing such am­bi­tion, the univer­sity has to be­come cre­ative, in­no­va­tive, en­trepreneurial, and play a lead­ing role in em­bark­ing on a unique value propo­si­tion that is most crit­i­cal, ef­fec­tive and im­pact­ful in terms of hu­man cap­i­tal de­vel­ope­ment.

There­fore, he added, the univer­sity had to strate­gise its po­si­tion­ing dif­fer­ently from ex­ist­ing ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions, but more im­por­tantly, un­der­stand the needs of the in­dus­try or mar­ket forces.

“To ef­fec­tu­ate such ac­tion, we had to meet var­i­ous peo­ple from the in­dus­try and lis­ten to their views, com­plaints and sug­ges­tions, that can help in the na­tion build­ing role and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

“We had no choice but to con­sider po­ten­tial op­tions that are dif­fer­ent and im­pact­ful to the needs of the in­dus­try and po­ten­tial ca­pac­ity and ca­pa­bil­ity build­ing of hu­man po­ten­tial,” said Md Zabid,

UNI­RAZAK re­alised the role of uni­ver­si­ties to­day is chang­ing to cope with the fast grow­ing so­cioe­co­nomic land­scape.

He said uni­ver­si­ties are, there­fore, not only knowl­edge de­vel­op­ers or stor­age houses but also play a key role in tal­ent de­vel­op­ment.

The for­mer was con­cerned with re­search and pub­li­ca­tions, while the lat­ter leaned to­wards teach­ing and learn­ing.

“The out­come of such would be seen as ‘value cre­ation’ to the re­cip­i­ent or de­liv­er­ables. The next chal­lenge is whether to fo­cus to­wards masses or ‘niche’ mar­ket.

“Thus, the role of uni­ver­si­ties to­day is ex­pected to change from the pas­sive and re­ac­tive to­wards a proac­tive per­spec­tive.

Uni­ver­si­ties are not seen as in­sti­tu­tions that pro­vide learn­ing or knowl­edge cre­ation and are obliged to dis­sem­i­nate such ideas, or dis­charge the uni­ver­sal knowl­edge in a re­spon­si­ble man­ner, but are ex­pected to pro­vide a re­spon­sive mode to­wards the uni­ver­sal need for knowl­edge and ideas,” he said.

Md Zabid was one of the speak­ers at the Net­work of Is­lamic Fi­nance Train­ing In­sti­tutes (NIFTI) South East and Pa­cific Re­gional 2017 event held re­cently.

Themed Dis­cov­er­ing the Trans­for­ma­tive trends in Is­lamic Fi­nance In­dus­try, the half-day in­tel­lec­tual dis­course was at­tended by more than 40 of NIFTI af­fil­i­ates across the re­gion.

He said the univer­sity also re­alised the need to play a more strate­gic role in the uni­ver­si­tyin­dus­try in­ter­face.

“Gone are the days when uni­ver­si­ties fo­cus on what they are good in with­out much con­cern for the needs of the in­dus­try.

“The ‘dream world’ of uni­ver­si­ties have passed and there is a need to make uni­ver­si­ties the star — that is, con­stant in­ter­ac­tion be­tween univer­sity and in­dus­try in terms of teach­ing and learn­ing, cur­ricu­lum de­vel­op­ment, and re­search and con­sul­tancy.

“In mak­ing an ef­fec­tive part­ner­ship be­tween univer­sity and in­dus­try, it is im­por­tant to change the at­ti­tude to­wards the world of cur­ricu­lum de­vel­op­ment.

“This im­plies the world of ‘the­ory’ and ‘prac­tice’ must not be op­er­ated in si­los or in their re­spec­tive world of their own but ‘in­te­grated’ as one, whereby in­cor­po­rat­ing busi­ness the­o­ries with in­ter­ac­tive hands on ap­pli­ca­tions, through ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing, sim­u­la­tions, case study work­shops and labs or fo­cus group dis­cus­sions or round­tables.

“The en­gage­ment be­tween aca­demics and prac­ti­tion­ers need to be em­bed­ded as an ‘in­te­gral one’, hav­ing sim­i­lar ob­jec­tives, goals and ori­en­ta­tions,” said Md Zabid.

Re­al­is­ing such needs and de­mand UNI­RAZAK em­barked on its pi­o­neer­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with a pro­fes­sional body in ac­count­ing in 2010.

That marked the early milestones of the univer­sity-in­dus­try col­lab­o­ra­tion which is highly val­ued to­day.

“Fol­low­ing that col­lab­o­ra­tion, we re­alised the im­por­tance of the part­ner­ship be­tween univer­sity and in­dus­try. Sub­se­quently, we also ob­served the role played by the fi­nan­cial ser­vices in­dus­try in Malaysia.

“In par­tic­u­lar, the in­creas­ing im­por­tance of Is­lamic fi­nance in Malaysia has been the key fac­tor on how to play a more proac­tive role in pro­mot­ing the de­vel­op­ment of pro­fes­sion­ally qual­i­fied and com­pe­tent ex­perts,” he said.

UNI­RAZAK pres­i­dent and vice-chan­cel­lor

UNI­RAZAK pres­i­dent and vice-chan­cel­lor Datuk Seri Dr Md Zabid Ab­dul Rashid (front, left) ex­chang­ing doc­u­ments with Is­lamic Bank­ing and Fi­nance In­sti­tute of Malaysia chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Yusry Yu­soff (front, right) dur­ing the sign­ing of the mem­o­randa of agree­ment and un­der­stand­ing with 10 aca­demic part­ners and IBFIM.

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