KUALA LUMPUR: Stressing the importance of human capital development, the Higher Education Ministry has outlined a blueprint that will transform the country’s higher education system.
It aims to give students and tertiary education institutions the competitive edge needed in today’s globalised world. "The National Higher Education Action Plan 2007-2010", which will be made public, focuses on the immediate agenda necessary to get the transformation under way.
The plan will include regular audits on the quality of higher education institutions, greater collaboration between public and private higher education institutions and the advancement of lifelong learning, research and innovation.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said the plan would be launched on Monday at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
At the launch, "The National Higher Education Strategic Plan" which articulates the Ministry’s vision for the transformation of higher education from now through 2020 would be released.
"While the Strategic Plan is broad and comprehensive, encompassing new initiatives and enhancing existing programmes, the Action Plan outlines strategies for immediate implementation within the period of the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
"Both plans emphasise quality in all aspects of higher education from the selection and training of leaders and faculty members to the adoption of best corporate practices in the management of higher education institutions," said Mustapa.
The plans will complement the Education Ministry’s National Education Blueprint which was launched on Jan 16.
Among the initiatives, programmes and projects under the Action Plan, include:
• Introducing greater transparency in the selection of senior management in public universities to achieve the best levels of leadership possible.
• The development of a Lifelong Learning Policy through the formation of a National Committee for Lifelong Learning. The government aims to increase the number of adult learners, so that 27 per cent of the workforce (from the current 20 per cent) will have tertiary qualifications.
• Exchange programmes which will enrich the learning experience of top students in selected foreign universities.
• Industry attachment of lecturers. There will be programmes to enable the secondment of academics to private sector organisations and vice versa. This will increase cross-cultural collaboration for transfer of knowledge, as well as awareness and understanding of industry needs.
• Holistic education programmes to produce confident students with a sense of balance and proportion. These programmes will enable students in the pure sciences to be exposed to the humanities and vice versa. All students will also be exposed to broader co-curricular activities.
• A target to produce 21,000 PhD holders by 2010, the majority being in science, technology and medicine.
Mustapa said the plan would enable universities to play a bigger role in the country’s future development.