Jan 13, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

With preparing workforce-ready students a major priority for the world’s universities, Malaysia’s Higher Education Ministry is taking innovative steps to boost graduate employability.  Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh recently announced plans to “redesign the sector” through a heightened commitment to cultivating industry collaborations, according to a report from the New Straits Times. Here’s a closer look at the plan.

Building Relevant Skills

With the world facing a shortage of employees prepared to fill the demands of the contemporary workforce, many higher education systems are shifting the focus toward arming students with real world skills designed to bridge the growing gap. Inherent in this? Understanding industry needs and how graduates can fulfill them.

Said Idris at last month’s 18th Malaysia-Japan International Institute Technology Leadership Lecture Series, "The collaboration effort is done to ensure universities understand the industry and vice-versa, as well as to boost research and innovation. This will also promote and familiarise universities with their respective industries."

Beyond the Classroom

Idris also cited a push to give students (and faculty, too) an up close and personal look at best practices for both management and research and development -- knowledge which will remain with them following graduation.

He continued, “Such collaborations are good to enhance learning and teaching in universities. We don't want students to be just bookworms and only judge them based on their academic achievements. "We must be able to inculcate other values such as entrepreneurial and communication skills, which are practical for the work life.”

This latest news piggybacks on the Ministry of Higher Education’s Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025, which highlighted the three Bs: bakat (talent); benchmarking to global standards; and balance. Said Idris at the time, “We aspire to create a higher education system that ranks among the world’s leading higher education systems and enables Malaysia to compete globally.”





Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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