PUTRAJAYA, Jan 7 — The Ministry of Higher Education Ministry (MOHE) has outlined six strategic focuses to drive the ministry’s direction this year, including Empowering the Education Digitalisation Agenda.

Its minister Datuk Seri Noraini Ahmad said that another five strategic focuses were Enhancing Strategic Collaboration Network, Strengthening Graduates Marketability, Driving Community Well-being, Promoting Institutional Excellence and Enlivening the Spirit of #KPTPrihatin.

Noraini said that the higher education sector, worth over RM35 billion to the country’s economy, was among the sectors affected during the Covid-19 pandemic period, as 1.2 million students, including 130,000 international students could not participate in normal teaching and learning sessions.

Therefore, she urged all higher education institutions (IPT) to adjust their existing learning modules and assessment methods to suit the digital environment, and increase the capacity of their teaching staff, especially in handling technology to achieve education digitalisation objectives.

“Hence, the upgrading projects of 11 MyREN (Malaysian Research and Education Network), which has been approved with a RM50 million allocation in Budget 2021, must be expedited,” she said in the MOHE’s 2021 Message here, today.

Under the Enhancing Strategic Collaboration Network, Noraini said that the hybrid of academic expertise and practical experiences of industry’s leading figures, as well as society, could produce breakthrough thinking.

“One of the initiatives that has successfully manifested this is the [email protected] programme. Therefore, I hope this programme will continue to be implemented with fresh faces and content,” she said.

On Strengthening Graduates Marketability, Noraini said that programmes such as Penjana KPT-CAP and KPT-PACE vouchers should be improved, with their spectrums expanded and monitored closely to ensure the set outcomes are achieved.

“Another effort is by strengthening the entrepreneurship agenda. The Entrepreneurship Action Plan 2021-2025 should be expedited.

“This includes cultivating entrepreneurship aspects in the curriculum, promoting entrepreneurship as a career opportunity, providing assistance and support to start a business and highlighting graduate entrepreneurship success stories,” she said, adding that the IPT Graduates Marketability Strategic Plan 2021-2015 will be launched soon.

Under the focus of Driving Community Well-being, Noraini said that IPT administrators must emphasise the need to increase beyond academics contributions to the community.

On Promoting Institutional Excellence, she said that the excellence of an institution is driven by good governance, with one aspect of governance deserving attention being the management of public university holdings.

“I recommend that we give a new narrative to the business model of the parent company of public universities and ensure they play a role similar to other government-linked companies,” she added.

She said that universities, as statutory bodies, were given the authority to set up subsidiaries and make investments, and should create an effective monitoring method for investment management, establishment of parent companies and subsidiaries, and financing to be made by public universities.

Under the Enlivening the Spirit of #KPTPrihatin, Noraini urged the ministry staff and those at its agencies as well as the IPT to continue to embrace the #KPTPrihatin spirit by inculcating the element of welfare among the graduates and staff. — Bernama