Dr M: Higher education vital [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]
(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) KANGAR: STUDENTS should not be afraid to embrace change and pursue education to the highest level possible as it will not only benefit them, but also the nation as a whole.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysians should strive to acquire as much knowledge as possible to keep up with the ever-changing environment and requirements of industry players.
He said when he was a student, there were a limited number of universities globally that offered limited subjects.
This was unlike recent years, when there was not only an increase in the number of higher learning institutions, but also high-level Science subjects.
"Students should embrace changes and pursue their education to a higher level where it will not only benefit them as an individual but also the nation as a whole.
"The higher the number of people who receive higher education, the better the chances of the nation to develop," he said in a keynote address at the official opening of the 12th Asian University Presidents Forum (AUPF) at Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) main campus in Pauh near here yesterday.
Dr Mahathir said it was equally important for the nation to invest more in research and development as this would enable Malaysia to garner recognition worldwide.
He also urged students to master the English language as it would benefit them in the long run, adding that it was the universal language in research and would help them gain employment.
For example, he said recently, 333 graduates of higher-learning institutions were called for an information technology job interview.
"However, only seven were recruited as the rest did not have a strong command of English. Some even requested that the questions during the interview, which was conducted in English, to be translated to Bahasa Malaysia."
The four-day AUPF, attended by 150 world-renowned academicians from 22 Asian countries, was officiated by Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.
This was Malaysia's first time hosting the forum since it was introduced in China 11 years ago.
UniMAP Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Kamarudin Hussin, in his speech, said the forum, themed "Leadership In the transformation of Asia: Opportunities and challenges", was aimed at providing a platform for Asian higher-learning institutions to share information, exchange experiences and realise common development goals.
"It is a huge honour for UniMAP to have been given the opportunity to organise this forum, which proves the confidence that Asian universities have in UniMAP.
"We hope that at the end of this forum, we will further strengthen the bond among the academic institutions of participating countries as well as establish networking ties with each other."
At the end of the opening ceremony, the delegates were taken on a tour around the campus, including a visit to its 10 faculties and library, before heading to the "AUPF" garden, where eight founders of the forum planted 22 bougainvillea plants. The plants would be named after the participating countries to commemorate the event.
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