Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ASEAN Academy of Science and Technology (AAET), Academy of Engineering and Technology for the Developing World Sdn Bhd (AETDEW), Malaysian Service Providers Confederation (MSPC), and CourseNetworking Asia Pacific Malaysia (CNAP) via Zoom on 4 February 2021.
Under the MoU, the five parties will work together to promote knowledge sharing and online learning for the benefits of members and the public using CourseNetworking’s online learning platform with the support from UTAR, as well as to share online courses and webinars organized by AAET, AETDEW, and MSPC with UTAR which will be uploaded onto Inspire@Learning of UTAR that is powered by CourseNetworking.
The MoU was signed by UTAR President Ir Prof Dr Ewe Hong Tat, AAET President Ir Academician Emeritus Prof Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Chuah Hean Teik, AETDEW President Academician Dato’ (Dr) Ir Lee Yee Cheong, MSPC President Dato’ Ts Abdul Radzak Abdul Malek, and CNAP Director Yong Mien Dee; in the presence of UTAR Vice President for Internationalisation and Academic Development Ir Prof Dr Yow Ho Kwang, AAET Fellow Ir Yau Chau Fong, AETDEW Secretary-General Ts Ir Dr Choo Kok Beng, MSPC Council Member Ts Ir Yam Teong Sian, and CNAP Chairman Datuk Ir Yong Ah Huat.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Prof Ewe said, “The five-party partnership today was inspired by our shared objectives in promoting and accelerating the progress of research, education and training which is aligned with the sustainable development goals – SDG4 Quality Education and SDG9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.
“We see this form of collaboration and networking as a vital growth for the University, as well as creating a holistic experience for our students, especially when they participate in the online courses and webinars.”
“On 3 August 2020, UTAR and CNAP launched Inspire@Learning to endorse UTAR’s commitment to providing a platform for e-learning and continuous professional development courses through online modes. I am happy to note that this collaboration has continued to today’s MoU with further ventures and additional collaboration partners,” he added.
“I always believe we must do the right thing. Although it might be a small thing at the beginning, it could snowball and become important. All of us are trying our very best to create a platform for us to contribute toward science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM),” said Tan Sri Dato’ Chuah in his remarks.
He continued, “We hope, through the support of UTAR and all our partners not only from academics but also from the industry, we will be able to contribute to the SDGs of UNESCO.”
He exemplified the commitment of academic collaboration to address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and said, “Education is one that will be very important to uplift the social status and properties of students and their family.”
He mentioned that they were contributing to not only quality education and affordable course, but also towards SDG5 Gender Equality, SDG8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, as well as SDG10 Reduce Inequality Within and Among Countries.
On the other hand, Dato’ Lee said, “AETDEW is a very new academy. In 2016, the minister of education has actually promoted a project for industry and university cooperation called Hundred Universities Project. This was meant for giant digital cooperations, such as Alibaba, Hua Wei, etcetera to go to the technical universities.”
The project involved 100 universities throughout the Belt and Road (B&R) countries which are connected to 100 counterpart universities in China for installing big data and artificial intelligence (AI) application innovation centers.
“I am very happy that UTAR is one of the first to participate in this venture. So I hope that China through their giant digital cooperation can provide resources to set up big data and AI centre in universities in the developing world in order for us to upgrade the indigenous human capacity building in digital skills and also entrepreneurship,” he said.
Delivering a speech at the ceremony, Yong said, “I want to emphasize that now is the right time. We had never seen such a huge usage ever since we started building this online CourseNetworking platform from the scratch with the CN US team. We have seen almost 200% growth in the usage and adoption rate from teachers and students all over the world.”
She continued, “CNAP ensures people are comfortable with the platform and embrace the platform because it is a very powerful platform that can help people learn and go global. What we did was we provided a lot of online training for people to adapt and adopt the platform.”
She added, “What we can do better, even in such circumstances, is to learn something new, adapt to new changes, and reinvent ourselves so that we can survive, continue to grow, and continue to be better at what we do today. With the use of technology, I am sure that we all can embrace this new change and not only realise new things and new learning ways but also new income, new opportunity, and new learning environment.”
Dato’ Abdul Radzak, on the other hand, expressed his excitement for the virtual meeting and the collaboration. He said, “During the pandemic, we have adopted the technology as a new normal and it has been quite convenient to talk to each other. This is a time for sharing and caring. More collaboration will make us stronger together.” He added, “Today is an important journey for industry, community, and future generations of our country. Hopefully, we all will succeed in our endeavor.”
A presentation was then given by Client Experience Manager of CourseNetworking Savitha Sanathanan on CourseNetworking, followed by another presentation from UTAR Director of Centre for Extension Education (CEE) Dr Lim Jee Hock on Inspire@Learning.
Also present at the ceremony were AAET Executive Secretary Dr Fok Kuk Fai, UTAR Division of Community and International Networking (DCInterNet) Director Assoc Prof Dr Lai Soon Onn, DCInterNet Deputy Director of Kampar Campus Dr Chen I-Chi, CEE Business Development and Administration and Operation Unit Head Joleena Chong binti Muhammad Chong and UTAR staff.