In Malaysia, education is being redesigned to adapt to the advancement of the fourth industrial revolution.
We were honoured to have Prof. Dato’ Dr. Asma Ismail, the first woman Vice-Chancellor at University Sains Malaysia (USM) and also Malaysia’s first woman Director-General of Higher Education to share how the country’s education system prepares their students for the advent of the digital age.
Here are three highlights from her keynote presentation.
1. Produce holistic, entrepreneurial and balanced graduates
Malaysia’s latest blueprint introduces 10 shifts in support of the five system aspirations that focus on access, equity, quality, efficiency and unity.
Prof. Dato’ Dr. Asma emphasised the first shift in the blueprint, “holistic, entrepreneurial, and balanced graduates” as being imperative in the digital age and has garnered strong interest from educators around the world.
Having graduates that are holistic, entrepreneurial, and balanced means that Malaysian students are ensured to be both knowledgeable learners and also preserve good moral values in their daily lives. This can help students to thrive in today’s complex economy and contribute to the betterment of society.
The end goal of this movement is to encourage entrepreneurial learning to occur — creating a shift among graduates from being job seekers into becoming job creators.
2. Moving Experiential Learning: Community Engagement
To achieve the goal of producing balanced graduates, universities in Malaysia have created an activity titled, ‘Community Engagement’ that is integrated as part of the higher education curriculum.
Community engagement is not community service.
Community engagement will offer universities the opportunity to:
- Inculcate values and good citizenry in our future generation via volunteerism, experiential learning or service learning.
- Restore social relevance and obligation to society.
- Reduce inequity divide by producing meaningful knowledge to serve the marginalised or the bottom billion who makes up more than two-thirds of the world’s population.
Community engagement is an activity where students, along with the knowledge they have learned in the classroom, enter a community and try to apply the knowledge to create a solution for the betterment of society.
Social learning will play a key role as students begin to work in a multidisciplinary manner. Instead of knowledge transfer, the concept knowledge exchange can be applied. Students can both teach and learn from the community. They will need to listen to what the community wants, work with external stakeholders such as the government, key people in the community or industries experts before working on an idea.
Students will then connect the dots and implement this knowledge they have learned in the classroom and use it to find a solution applicable to the real world. Another stage of social learning will then occur as peers are encouraged to talk and collaborate with each other, ask for feedback and work on better ideas or solutions together.
By integrating this as part of the curriculum, students are utilising technology but still maintain human-to-human interaction to help balance their knowledge and character.
3. iCGPA: Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average
iCGPA is an integrated grading system created by Malaysia’s Ministry of Higher Education for assessing and reporting students academic performance and professional skills attained during their study. It functions as a platform for students to enhance the competencies and expedites students acclimatisation to achieve suitable workplace skills and mindset at the beginning of their academic years.
The system covers 8 domains of knowledge:
- Practical skills and psychomotor
- Social skills and responsibility
- Ethics and values
- Communication and leadership
- Problem solving and scientific skills
- Information management and lifelong learning
- Entrepreneurship and management skills.
All public universities in Malaysia are expected to implement the integrated cumulative grade point average (iCGPA) by 2019.
This has to be done as Malaysia believes that it is vitally important to groom students to cultivate both hard skills and soft skills (leadership abilities, strong values, critical thinking).
Prof. Dato’ Dr. Asma Ismail thoroughly discussed the evolving needs of Malaysian Higher Education.
What do you see as the future of education in your industry? What are the potential benefits and challenges that your industry might face, as a result? Share a few thoughts in the Comments section below!