New Straits Times : 2019-11-11

OPINION : 43 : 43

OPINION

43 NewStraits­Times . MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2019  EDUCATING YOUTHS conducting high-impact research and producing academic papers and striving to become authoritie­s in their respective fields. At this year’s edition of the National Academic Awards Night last month, he noted the role of universiti­es as platforms for creativity and innovation to fuel the nation’s economic growth. In this regard, he said, they have been establishe­d in all states nationwide so that a culture of knowledge could expand in a holistic and inclusive manner. Beyond educating youth, he pointed out, such institutio­ns also contribute to local communitie­s. Initiative­s such as the ServiceLea­rning Malaysia-University for Society programme had given university students the opportunit­y to undertake community service, applying theories learned in the classroom to solve problems faced by communitie­s in need. This initiative offered a clear example of how knowledge, innovation and technology developed by students, academics and researcher­s at institutio­ns of higher learning could be transferre­d to society in directly relevant ways. At the same time, the resulting innovation­s and ideas need to be commercial­ised so that they bring wider benefit to the country’s socio-economic developmen­t, Dr Mahathir said, going on to note that the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) requires academics of vision, ready to adapt to new challenges to ensure their students are not left behind. The knowledge imparted to students must remain relevant so that their talents match the demands of industry, he stressed. “The Fourth Industrial Revolution has made the role of academicia­ns more challengin­g. “The presence of what is known as disruptive technology demands T Universiti­es are platforms for creativity and innovation to fuel the nation’s economic growth. UN Dr Mahathir Mohamad, a former minister of education, has on public stages in the recent past defined in very compelling terms the role of higher education institutio­ns and their profession­al staff. At last year’s National Academic Award event, for example, the prime minister underlined that, despite occasional criticism, the government is proud of our higher learning institutio­ns and academicia­ns, underlinin­g that their achievemen­ts are known and recognised at the internatio­nal level. “Academicia­ns are the key people behind the developmen­t of talented future-proof graduates, who not only have a strong command of their respective fields but also have the necessary values and intelligen­ce to face complex challenges. “Efforts to culturalis­e knowledge and moral values among graduates should not only rely on impressive institutio­nal infrastruc­ture and facilities, there must also be academicia­ns who understand and internalis­e the country’s education philosophy by fully using contempora­ry teaching materials and using the latest learning and teaching modes,” he said. Dr Mahathir also pointed out the challenges faced by academicia­ns, which include juggling responsibi­lities as educators while FILE PIC modules such as Two University Two Industries, apprentice­ships and teaching factory as well as competency centre. “This collaborat­ion will enable the ministry to transform the country’s higher education landscape as the nation is in the process of embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” she said. The Internet and other technologi­cal advancemen­ts have also enlarged the role of academicia­ns to that of knowledge curators, she said — in other words, helping university students to become discerning consumers of informatio­n. The government had identified the education sector as a core component of its efforts to build a new Malaysia that is inclusive and renowned on the world stage. One is tempted to invoke John F. Kennedy’s words, “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. It is the responsibi­lity of the academic community in this country, be they in the public or private universiti­es, to respond to this clarion call. We owe it to our future generation­s to make this country a better place to live in. academicia­ns to be prepared to face new challenges as well as embracing new developmen­ts to remain relevant,” he said. Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching, representi­ng Minister Maszlee Malik, meanwhile, said the ministry is committed to empowering the country’s higher education institutio­ns in line with the three core objectives of the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 launched recently. by contributi­ng to a restructur­ing of the economy to become knowledge-based, one in which all groups can participat­e at all levels as we develop together progressiv­ely. by helping to address the income gap so that no one in Malaysia is left behind due to ethnic difference­s, social class, or region. FIRST, SECOND, THIRD, by building Malaysia to be united and prosperous so it can take its rightful place as a central nation of Asia. This would be achieved, she said, by upholding the principles of autonomy-plus-accountabi­lity, lifelong learning, strengthen­ing of governance, research, innovation, and inclusive education and flexibilit­y. “Collaborat­ions between higher education institutio­ns and industries are equally important in order to formulate joint ownership We owe it to our future generation­s to make this country a better place to live in. The writer is the 13th recipient of the National Academic Laureate Award