University-Industry collaboration vital for nation's talent development

A four-member delegation from WOU attended the half-day ‘University-Industry Dialogue with the Honourable Minister of Higher Education’ held at the Setia SPICE Convention Centre today.

The Minister (centre) listening to the representatives from industry and academia.

The Minister (centre) listening to the representatives from industry and academia.

The delegation led by Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye comprised Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic & EdTech) Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi and Regional Operations & Marcom Director Mr K H Chong. The event was organised by Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in partnership with the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA), Collaborative Research in Engineering, Science & Technology (CREST) Centre, Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) and Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM).

The dialogue with Dato’ Seri Idris Jusoh was intended to explore opportunities and challenges related to the development of Academia-Industry Collaboration in driving the nation’s productivity, and to address the issue of talent and skills mismatch so as to meet the talent needs of industry.

Over 150 participants from various institutions of higher learning, industry, government agencies and other stakeholders attended the dialogue. Also present were USM Vice Chancellor Datuk Prof Dr Asma Ismail, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Industry and Community Network) Prof Dr Abdul Rahman Mohamed, and CEO of Penang Skills Development Centre (PSDC), Mr Muhamed Ali Hajah Mydin.

Dato' Seri Idris (partly hidden) visits the exhibition booths.

Dato' Seri Idris (partly hidden) visits the exhibition booths.

Dato’ Seri Idris stressed to the participants that industry and the academia are one, and hence the need for closer collaboration between both the sectors is imperative.

The Ministry of Higher Education has recently introduced initiatives to nurture the required talents for industry. They are: Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) for entry into university; Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average (ICGPA) that assesses knowledge along with practical skills and ethics of students; the CEO Faculty Programme to produce industry-relevant graduates; and 2u2i for undergraduates to study 2 years in campus and intern another two years  in industries.

Following the dialogue, the Minister witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between USM and PSDC for the latter’s Master of Science in Microelectronic Engineering programme developed in collaboration with USM, and visited the exhibition booths that showcased various innovations and chatted with the delegation from WOU.

Prof Ho (4th from left) stands next to the Minister, along with (4th and 3rd from right) Prof Zoraini and Dr Liew. At left is Dr Tan Choo Jun.

Prof Ho (4th from left) stands next to the Minister, along with (4th and 3rd from right) Prof Zoraini and Dr Liew. At left is Dr Tan Choo Jun.

WOU Senior Lecturer from the School of Science & Technology, Dr Tan Choo Jun, who was part of a CREST research project titled ‘A novel approach for prioritisation of product reliability improvement in a complex manufacturing environment’, participated in the exhibition.

The RM250,000 grant project is led by USM Deputy Dean (Student Affairs & Networking) Prof Low Heng Chin and involves the collaboration of WOU and USM with industry partners, Motorola Solutions and Sanmina Sci-Systems. The main aim of the project is to improve product reliability. It is a 3-year project which commenced in Feb 2016 and is expected to be completed in December 2018.