Moulding graduates to meet industry requirements

December 13th, 2017
Vocational training comprising of apprenticeship in companies starts at 16 in Switzerland.

TODAY’s job market is highly competitive and feedback from employers tend to show that the potential workforce being produced by the higher education sector are incapable of totally filling up the available vacancies.

If this is true, why is it so and how can graduates be ensured of gaining employment after completing studies at the university or other types of institutions of higher education?

Technology and knowledge today develops at Internet speed so it is not uncommon for things that are learned during the course of a programme to become obsolete once students have graduated from the university, requiring them to be trained yet again by the employers upon joining the workforce.

Faced with this kind of situation, it is best that the education sector and the industry work together closely to produce the workforce required — starting from a pre-university stage, said Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET) Board chairman Dr Philippe Gnaegi.

“We have a very long tradition in Switzerland where 70 per cent of students in the upper secondary education system follow vocational training. This starts at 16 where they spend 3.5 days of the week working at companies — large and small — from various industries and 1.5 days at school. The arrangement has worked well and we have a very low unemployment rate — less than three per cent,” he said.

He was facilitating a roundtable discussion on “Is it an institution’s responsibility to build industry relationships?” at the recent BETT Asia 2017 held in Kuala Lumpur.

SFIVET is Switzerland’s expert organisation for vocational education and training. It provides basic and continuous training to VET professionals, conducts VET research, contributes to the development and continuous updating of training plans for specific occupations and supports international cooperation in vocational education and training.

Elaborating further on the Swiss vocational education system, Gnaegi said the students undergoing apprenticeship are paid for the work done at the companies. Employers, on the other hand, have a talent pipeline of skilled professionals who will be potentially transitioned in to the labour market.

“The apprenticeship lasts for three to four years where students are assessed both by the state — for the education part — and also from the private sector. Students have to get two sets of assessment to continue their studies. However, they would move on to our professional universities, not academic-based ones,” he said.

“We think that not everybody has to go to academic universities as it depends on their inclination. In most countries, the very intelligent students go to academic universities. We don’t practice that and don’t believe in discrimination. Very intelligent children are also in the vocational stream,” he said.

Gnaegi remarked that both systems have a curricula and national qualification designed by the social partners comprising state associations, companies and training organisations, and the state invests substantially in research, evaluation and quality control.

“The industry and the state often meet to examine the effectiveness of the vocational education system and solve any problems should they arise. The challenge for SFIVET is to get more companies to buy-in into the programme and match the needs of the labour market, both in terms of professional qualifications and the number of jobs available,” he said.

Malaysia Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, who attended the discussion, said that he was impressed with the Swiss vocational education system, how it works and intends to take a closer look.

“Of course, not everything is applicable here in our country. But the close ties and relationship between the industry and education system is commendable in terms of facilitating graduate employment. We are one in this aim — the public and private sectors — and therefore, must work together,” he said.

By ROZANA SANI

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2017/12/313861/moulding-graduates-meet-industry-requirements

A need for sober minds

December 13th, 2017
Tunku Abdul Rahman (left) and Tun Jugah Barieng at the signing of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 in London on July 9, 1963. (FILE PIC)

SARAWAK Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari Abang Openg is probably right when he contends that he is not being emotional in pushing for the state’s rights, some of which he claims are in hidden official documents related to the formation of Malaysia recently uncovered.

That being said, there is no denying that there is much noise in the public domain in Sarawak related to the whole subject of state rights and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). The subject matter is, perhaps, intrinsically emotive. It is, therefore, incumbent on all responsible Malaysians, and especially those holding public office, to treat the matter with utmost care, lest it becomes too emotionally charged.

To his credit, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had given his assurance that the government under his leadership would not stop any public discussion on the matter. That necessarily puts the onus on everyone, and in particular, politicians, to be as matter-of-fact as is possible when raising issues related to the subject.

Najib had also made a blanket commitment that if it was found that state rights had inadvertently been taken away by Putrajaya, they would be returned where they rightly belong. The emphasis is rightly on the qualifier “inadvertently”, since suggesting otherwise may give rise to public suspicions (easily fanned by some quarters, one must add) that those rights have been surreptitiously or even deliberately taken away.

The very public commitment given by the prime minister is crucial and may suggest that for the contentious issues related to the subject matter to be resolved to the satisfaction of all involved, sober minds must prevail at all levels and that both the state government and its federal counterpart must always be on the same page over the matter.

It will be needlessly incendiary to pit both the state government and Putrajaya in such a way that it may be interpreted as being in any sort of adversarial positions vis-à-vis the matter at hand. Such interpretations will, in any case, be false and wildly misleading.

The Federal Government, right from the very first day of Malaysia, is composed of strong representations from both Sarawak and Sabah, and the composition of Parliament has been deliberately skewed by the MA63 to afford both states a disproportionate share of members of parliament relative to their respective share of the total national population.

Sarawak’s past leaders, such as Tun Jugah Barieng, Tun Abdul Rahman Ya’akub, Tan Sri Ong Kee Hui and Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, served meaningful and illustrious stints in the federal cabinet and were instrumental in the formulation of national policies, some of which still have direct and far-reaching impact on the state even today.

If anything, the bonds binding Sarawak and the Federal Government today are even stronger. The fact that both have all these years been administered by Barisan Nasional meant that issues and disagreements can be honestly deliberated and resolved with the minimum of fuss or heated public arguments.

It is of utmost importance that we all not lose sight of the reality that we are all in this together. Sarawak’s recent leaders, including the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem, and Abdul Rahman Zohari have, after all, time and again stressed that there was never ever any question of Sarawak being anything but an integral part of Malaysia.

There are signal lessons that can be drawn by everyone in Malaysia from such “black swan” political developments as Britain voting to exit the European Union and Catalonia voting illegally to secede from Spain.

Both developments did not happen in isolation or out of the blue. They were the culminations of long-standing disputes and public debates that had simmered for decades and even centuries (in Spain’s case). In both cases, politicians of the day — perhaps, in the heat of the moment — decided to take on public positions, which painted them into tight corners from which it became almost impossible to retreat without suffering humiliating accusations of a climb-down or a sell-out.

By John Teo.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2017/12/313519/need-sober-minds

Carbon dioxide emissions causing global warming

December 13th, 2017

THE earth’s atmosphere contains important greenhouse gases (GHGs), mainly in the form of water vapour containing small amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2 ), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). GHGs function as a thermal blanket for the planet, absorbing heat from the sun and keeping its surface warm (on average 15°C) to support life.

Thus, one of the natural causes of global warming also enables life. However, the current expansion of global warming is a serious environmental issue that may affect humans and other living organisms. It occurs when the earth’s atmosphere and surface are gradually heated up because of the presence of trapped thermal infrared radiation that fails to escape into outer space because of the increasing levels of GHGs forming a thick blanket over the earth. This keeps the planet’s surface warm, far above what it would be without its atmosphere. This process is also known as the greenhouse effect.

The existence of past global warming does not necessarily suggest that current global warming is natural. Climate scientists have unanimously agreed that the main cause is human activity; this, rather than any natural phenomena, has expanded the greenhouse effects. In the natural environment, methane is the most potent GHG. However, CO2 is the most significant since it exists in the largest concentration and has a longer lifetime than methane. Recently, human activities have continued to increased CO2 concentrations and have contributed to the emission of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which have heat-trapping potential a thousand times greater than CO2.

CFCs have been banned in most parts of the world because they degrade the earth’s ozone layer. However, since their concentrations are much lower than CO2, they do not add as much warmth to the atmosphere.

It is clear that high concentrations of CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming leading to climate change. Where do CO2 emissions originate from? They are mainly caused by the energy-driven consumption of fossil fuels. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, CO2 emissions mainly originate from electricity production (25 per cent), industry (21 per cent), transportation (14 per cent), commercial and residential buildings (six per cent), sum of agricultural activities, land use and forestry (24 per cent), and other energy uses (10 per cent).

A large proportion of CO2 emissions come from electricity generation, followed by the sum of agricultural activities, land use and forestry. Both sectors — energy production and agriculture — contribute up to half of all global GHG emissions that could lead to global warming and climate change. Moreover, most CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels stem from electricity production, industry, transportation, and commercial and residential buildings, which together make up 66 per cent of global CO2 emissions.

The world, therefore, is in dire need of clean and efficient energy to curb the impact of climate change. The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies, for example, could be the best measure to reduce the greenhouse effect and, at the same time, reduce the impact of climate change. With proper energy and waste management, these clean energies are safe from hazardous elements, economical, and have a stable market price potential and social benefits.

One example of clean energy is solar photovoltaic power, a system that converts sunlight directly into electricity. Solar energy radiates infinitely from the sun; it is clean, free, natural and has zero carbon emissions. It is considered by many as a future energy resource and alternative to fossil fuels. In terms of social benefits, solar energy industries have offered jobs to people in European Union countries, China, Japan, the United States and Malaysia.

Since the climate issue is a shared responsibility of the whole of humanity, Muslim scholars from around the world have made their position clear in the 2015 Islamic Declaration on Climate Change during the Islamic Climate Change Symposium in Istanbul.

The declaration began by calling on policymakers responsible for crafting the comprehensive climate agreement adopted in Paris to come to “an equitable and binding conclusion”. It then asked people and leaders from all countries to commit to 100 per cent renewable energy and net zero emissions as soon as possible and to recognise that unlimited economic growth is not a viable option.

Furthermore, the transition from conventional power resources to renewable energy was highlighted as fundamental to Islamic-based sustainable development, as the protection of life (hifz al-nafs) and the protection of the environment (hifz al-bi‘ah) are predicated upon the assumption that they offer a balance between economic and social development and the environment.

By Dr Shahino Mah Abdullah.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2017/12/313842/carbon-dioxide-emissions-causing-global-warming

Kota Belud residents endure 83rd flood

December 13th, 2017

KOTA BELUD: Barely recovered from the flash floods less than two months ago, the residents in low-lying areas once again have to face the flood dilemma.

If the last October floods were due to continuous rain over a week, this time it only took a night for flood water level to touch the danger level of 5.83m at Abai river and 3.07m in Tempasuk River.

According to a report by the Malaysian Defense Forces in Sabah, eight major roads and alternatives have also been cut off.

However, only 120 victims from 79 families were rescued and placed at the temporary relief centre at Tun Said Community Hall.

In the meantime, hundreds of the road users had to pull over by the road before the Lebak Moyoh’s roundabout as the road was impassable on Monday night.

According to one of the stranded motorists, Syarifah Norroziana Bataraja, 29, who was returning from work in Kota Kinabalu said that she could not reach her home at Kampung Taun Gusi here.

She rushed home from office as early as 4pm after being informed by family members on the rising water. Unfortunately, it took her almost three hours to arrive at Kota Belud due to traffic crawls along Kota Kinabalu and Tuaran roads which were also affected by flash floods.

“The water current was strong as usually my vehicle can pass through floodwaters. I saw a four-wheel drive vehicle almost slipping into the drain,” said Syarifah who commutes daily between Kota Belud and Kota Kinabalu.

This reporter also experienced sleepless night when she had to pull over and to stay awake while watching the water level rising.

Meanwhile a nearby villager, Adizan Sabdar, 29, said the heavy downpour had inundated the major roads by 8.30pm.

“It was not until two hours, the floodwaters had already reached my knees and this time, the water level was higher than the last floods.

“Some of my neighbors did not have time to salvage their possessions as the water was rising too fast and they were forced to get out of their house,” he said.

Floodwaters began to recede as early as 8am and stranded overnight motorists can finally continue their journey home.

By NOOR EVIANA DATU MAZINAL.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/20489

MOE To Conduct Moral Values Development Programme Next Year

December 13th, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 (Bernama) — The Ministry of Education (MOE), via the Education Implementation and Performance Unit (PADU) will conduct a comprehensive Moral Values Development programme next year.

MOE deputy director-general (Policy Division) Dr Zainal Alam Hassan said the measures were taken following the rise in the number of bullying cases among school students.

“We do not want our students to focus only on education, and want them to become complete human beings,” he told reporters before the cinema preview of the Education Development Plan 2013-2025, here today.

Meanwhile, PADU principal managing director Khadijah Abdullah said various initiatives were undertaken to improve the standard of education among Malaysians in line with the Education Development Plan.

BERNAMA.

Read more @#mce_temp_url#

Gotong royong still a way of life

December 11th, 2017

111217_pg3_p1

Helping each other come harvest time

TAMPARULI: Mutual help, or gotong royong, may be a dying concept in modern society, but in traditional communities like the Kadazandusuns here, it is still very much a way of life.

They called it ‘mitabang’ and it is most frequently seen in harvesting time, and the practice is called ‘mongomot parai tidong’, or harvesting of hill padi.

According to Geminik Taisin, 47, a farmer from Kg Tomis Mangi Pangi, near here, ‘mitabang’ not only brings the people closer together and enhances the spirit of family, it is also an important way of getting a task done in a short matter of time, like in padi harvesting which must be done quickly to avoid it being ruined by rain.

‘Mitabang’ also applies in preparing the land for hill padi-planting, which takes place between June-July.

“Harvesting usually occurs in December which is just as well because children are on school holidays and they lend a helping hand.

“Planting can be done in a day or up to three days depending on the size of the planting area, and the number of people lending a hand,” Geminik told New Sabah Times in an interview yesterday.

Hill padi comes in the ‘tadong’ variety and is also known as ‘beras merah’ (red rice), tombulaung, silou, lantung, or worok, to folks in the Tamparuli area. Farmers elsewhere in the state have their own names for the wide varieties of rice, which not all are white.

“The hill padi that we plant are under the silou and tombulaung varieties, and they are more fragrant compared to imported varieties. Our rice may not be certified as organic, but we do not use fertilizers at all.

“Normally villagers grow the hill rice for their own consumption and sell only when they have excess, with prices ranging from eight ringgit to 10 ringgit per kilo.”

By MARRYAN RAZAN.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/20436

PTPTN Act Must Be Amended For Study Abroad

December 11th, 2017

JOHOR BAHRU, Dec 11 (Bernama) –The National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) act must be amended to enable educational funding to be expanded to Malaysian students studying abroad.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said this was because PTPTN, which was set up under the PTPTN Act 1997 (Act 566), only gave out and collected loan repayments for higher educational study in the country.

However, he said the issue of recovering PTPTN loans must be emphasised first before considering the move.

“We have to table the act in Parliament to amend it, but we forget PTPTN had financial problems two years ago. So pay the loans first. Don’t be too quick to ask for it to be expanded to students abroad,” he told reporters after a ceremony to sign a collaboration certificate between the Polytechnic Education Department and MMC Corporation Berhad at Pelabuhan Tanjung Pelepas here, today.

Idris said the repayment of PTPTN loans was showing improvements lately and a bigger amount was expected to be collected at the end of the year due to the awareness of borrowers.

“The collection can be further improved upon. The amount collected was RM2 billion two years ago, RM3.4 billion last year and we expect to collect more than RM4 billion this year.This figure can be further improved, and this means Malaysians understand and are starting to make repayments,” he said.

The Puteri UMNO movement on Dec 6 was reported to have said that it wanted the education funding under PTPTN be expanded to Malaysian students studying abroad.

The movement’s chief Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin was reported to have said after the National Women Student Secretariat’s (Swinas) appreciation ceremony that the funding could help ease the problem of the cost of living of the students abroad which was high and burdensome.

BERNAMA.

Read more @ http://education.bernama.com/index.php?sid=news_content&id=1418519

Cuepacs makes two proposals to help civil servants by 2020

December 10th, 2017

BESUT: The Congress of the Union of Employees in the Public and Civil Service (Cuepacs) wants the government to consider two proposals which would help reduce the burden of more than 1.6 million civil servants who are faced with increasing cost of living.

Its president Datuk Azih Muda said the congress expects the burden will be worse from next year as the cost of living is  increasing while their incomes remained small.

He said that although the government was helping by giving some aid which will be paid from January, it would not ease the burden of civil servants in the long term.

As such, Azih said, Cuepacs was proposing that the government give every civil servant an advanced annual salary increment while maintaining it on conclusion of a year of service.

Speaking to reporters here yesterday, Azih said Cuepacs also proposed that the government consider allowing civil servants in the states and statutory bodies to be given Socso protection..

BERNAMA.

Read more @ http://www.theborneopost.com/2017/12/10/cuepacs-makes-two-proposals-to-help-civil-servants-by-2020/

Stop, look, go: On the road to better language proficiency

December 9th, 2017
Technology should be leveraged to support learning.

PROFICIENCY in English is, undeniably, an asset in today’s world. It helps school-leavers to be prepared for an increasingly globalised job market, it enables us as a society to be more informed about world events, and it gives the country a better voice in the competitive international community.

It is therefore the duty of Malaysian educators to ensure that our children and future leaders become independent and confident users of English.

To meet that need, the Malaysian Education Blueprint (MEB) 2013-2025 called for a review of English Language education (ELE) in the country and the adoption of an internationally established framework of reference — the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) — for teaching, learning and assessment.

Cambridge English was subsequently commissioned to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of ELE from pre-school to pre-university levels. The study looked at learner skill levels and attitude, time allocated for English in school, teacher competence, adequacy of infrastructural support, conduciveness of the learning environment, and other factors impacting on the effectiveness of English Language teaching and learning. This evidence-based 2013 Baseline Study provided the Education Ministry with a picture of how Malaysian English Language learners were performing against internationally recognised standards and suggested improvements to the ELE system.

The findings spurred intensive efforts to raise English Language proficiency, including the initiation of the Highly Immersive Programme. They also led to the development of the English Language Education Reform in Malaysia: The Roadmap 2015-2025. Guided by the 2013 data, the Roadmap specifies CEFR-based proficiency targets for every level of education and outlines a systematic long-term plan integrating curriculum, teaching and learning, and assessment to reach those targets.

Since the launch of the Roadmap, the strategies outlined in the first phase have been implemented. CEFR-aligned curricula have been and are being developed, as are CEFR-informed teaching-learning and assessment approaches and materials. The requisite teacher training is also being conducted.

Four years down the road from the 2013 Baseline Study, it is time to ask: how are we doing and are we on the right track as we head towards 2025?

The recently conducted Cambridge Evaluation Study 2017 provides some answers. The results from this latest study serve two major purposes: first, they highlight key changes in learner performance since 2013, and second, they indicate where learners and teachers are in relation to the 2025 CEFR aspirational targets. It is too early to determine the impact of the Roadmap strategies but the data provide us with a new baseline against which later performance can be reviewed.

LEARNER PERFORMANCE

A total of 20,315 pupils in Primary Year Six, and Forms Three, Five and Six participated in the study. They all took Reading and Listening tests, with a smaller percentage involved in Writing and Speaking assessment. About 14,000 of them completed a questionnaire.

Writing was found to be the strongest skill across all school grades, followed by Speaking, while Reading (including grammar-oriented Use of English) and Listening were the weaker skills. The 2017 pupils were one CEFR level above their 2013 counterparts in Speaking (for Forms Three, Five and Six ), Writing (Form 5) and Listening (Form 6). The 2017 cohort was weaker in just one instance: Reading and Use of English (Form 3).

It appears that pupils are performing better in the productive skills now. Writing has always received much attention because of its importance in tests, but the improvement in Speaking is a nod to the activity-focused initiatives that have been implemented since 2013.

Urban schools remained better performers than rural schools at the secondary level, but in contrast with the 2013 study, there were no significant differences for Year Six. The narrowed performance gap for Year Six may be a positive result of the LINUS initiative and professional development programmes for teachers.

The next question to ask is: how does the 2017 performance compare against the 2025 aspirational targets? It is encouraging to note that almost half the Year Six and Form Five pupils are currently at or above those target levels. The challenge to achieve the Forms Three and Six targets is certainly greater. However, with eight years to go, we have a fair chance of attaining the targets if — as cliché as it sounds — everyone sticks to the plan.

TEACHER PERFORMANCE

All efforts would come to naught without competent teachers. So, how are our teachers doing? The study, which evaluated 2,826 teachers in the participating schools, provides data on their English Language proficiency and teaching knowledge.

The findings show that 46 per cent of the teachers are currently at a CEFR C1 level of proficiency. Secondary school optionist teachers contribute most to that percentage, but over 30 per cent of primary school optionists are also at C1 or above in various skills. Given that the target is for every English Language teacher to be at C1 by 2025, the figures suggest that the target is not unattainable with intensified and self-driven professional development.

The teachers fall in Band Three on a four-band scale of a Teaching Knowledge Benchmarking Test. This result indicates that they possess a generally comprehensive knowledge of teaching concepts, terminology, practices and processes. Although their knowledge level is apparently the global average, there is room for improvement.

MOVING FORWARD

The 2017 Evaluation study highlights areas of concern we should pay attention to as we go forward. Teacher training and upskilling has to be responsive to specific emerging needs. For instance, with Listening identified as the weakest skill, teachers need to (re)learn how to teach that neglected skill. Training should also address teachers’ lack of understanding about autonomy in learning and differentiated learning for mixed-ability classes.

Despite the closing of performance gaps, equitable education remains a concern. To give struggling learners a chance to achieve the CEFR target at each level of education, early intervention in primary school must be stepped up so that no one drops too far behind. Rural learners need increased exposure to English. In the absence of English-speaking communities, school activities and electronic media at home must be exploited to provide access to the language.

The recommendations of the study reiterate the importance of quality learning materials. Well-written CEFR-aligned textbooks are a must, and while we are developing our own expertise to produce them, procuring such books from outside is a necessary strategy for now. Technology should be leveraged to support learning, but many schools that have access to technology were found not to be utilising it. This is a shortcoming that needs to be addressed.

The need for reform in assessment is also highlighted. Since the CEFR emphasises self-directed learning and communicative language use, assessment of language skills must be revised to be consistent with that approach. Indeed, CEFR-informed curriculum, teaching-learning and assessment must be developed in tandem as components of an integrated ELE system. These efforts are, thankfully, already underway.

By DR MARDZIAH HAYATI ABDULLAH and MOHAMED KHAIDIR ALIAS.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2017/12/311309/stop-look-go-road-better-language-proficiency

Industry push to tap into 4IR

December 9th, 2017
Delegates listening to the keynote address by Lau Seng Yee during the Malaysia Higher Education Forum 2017 recently.
By Zulita Mustafa - December 6, 2017 @ 11:30am

THEMED ‘Redesigning Education for Industry 4.0’, the recent Malaysia Higher Education Forum (MyHEF) 2017 recognised that the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) would necessitate an introspection of the country’s higher education system.

Organised by the Ministry of Higher Education, the forum explored the impact of technological advancements, automation and innovative disruptions brought by the 4IR to local and global job markets while delving into the needs of future graduates, community and industry.

In light of the continuous global competition, it is imperative for Malaysia’s higher education system to be able to produce holistic, entrepreneurial, innovative and balanced graduates.

Thus, harnessing the potential of the 4IR and creating opportunities for Malaysians within the same direction will go a long way towards achieving this visions.

Characterised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as ‘a fusion of technologies that is blurring the line between the physical, digital, and biological spheres’, the 4IR will change the manner in which society and industries operate, in ways the world has never seen or imagined before.

Jobs that exist today will no longer exist in the future. It will be replaced by new jobs currently unheard of and social interactions will happen at a level never thought possible.

Tencent Holdings Limited Group Marketing and Global Branding chairman Lau Seng Yee.

Addressing delegates at the MyHEF 2017 forum was former Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia graduate Lau Seng Yee, who is now Tencent Holdings Limited Group Marketing and Global Branding chairman.

He sits on the Harvard’s Asia Pacific Advisory Board as well.

In 2015, he was named by the Cannes Lions as ‘Global Media Person of the Year’. Lau’s 20 years of media and Internet experience has given him the influence in a range of fields including the new economies, Internet trends and digital media.

As a ‘technology evangelist’, he is often called upon to share his observations and insights on the Internet’s value to national economies, people’s livelihoods, innovation, corporate social responsibility and leadership development — areas that provide stability in the throes of constant change.

His keynote address touched on ‘The Dawning Age of Digital Civilisation’.

Lau expressed his concerns whether the local universities are able to produce entrepreneurs with numerous talents in the near future.

“When will Malaysia produce the next Steve Jobs?” he asked.

For that to happen, he said that the country needs to address its education sector to one which has an open system strategy approach — future facing education ecosystem.

There are four components in the ecosystem — enabler of tech generations, incubators of tech generations, inspiration of tech generations, and guardian of tech generations.

“It is important that we know the current ecosystem is in the right place and more importantly, occupies the proper place in the heart of all stakeholders concern.

“But we would need more of Tan Sri Tony Fernandes around the world to come into the picture.

“The foundation could only begin with strong commitment involving various stakeholders in the entire education system.

“The stakeholders should understand clearly the nature of the ecosystem which can only be sustained when all players are concerned. They must also contribute to nurture the ecosystem. I believe that the responsibility of value creation has to be shared equally by all participants,” said Lau.

He added that the private sector must champion the role of enablers of tech generations, whereby companies can compete against one another for the best talent by offering higher salary.

“Do you know why our country is losing out in talent in global competitiveness’ advantage? It is because people with talent get paid higher in the global market,” he added.

Lau said the private companies also should commit themselves by allocating certain percentage into research and development (R&D) funding at higher education institutions.

“They have budgets that are already parked somewhere and this will enable them to invest in R&D. They should have more faith in our local researchers from the public universities rather than appointing consultants to undertake their projects.

“The objective is not just about giving a project to a university, but the significance lies in the fact that when private sectors and universities work together, students and faculty members can actually be exposed to real life issues.

“If the private sector is committed from top to bottom to bring such opportunities, it is not impossible that one day we hear future success stories to be shared around the world,” said Lau.

He said it can be delivered by encouraging universities to take bold steps in education reform by providing financial support and reward reformation in education.

“There is always an opportunity for the private company to explore in the education ecosystem. They should find ways to help the universities to produce better job candidates in the future,” he added.

Lau said Tencent is in the lookout to invest in meaningful ways.

“Tencent Education Foundation will be presenting the Nobel Prize for Education Excellence to deserving universities around the world that has shown innovation in education.”

Lau was also of the opinion that the academic fraternity should play a bigger role in the ecosystem.

“The country should be developing the scientist technocrat and invest more in public universities, and academic institutions. I’m sure, we could take on a larger role in repositioning ourselves as the incubator for new technologies.

By Zulita Mustafa.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2017/12/311300/industry-push-tap-4ir