Experts explain the need for greater research funding for tech students and present why the need for collaborations with industry players is so important: to develop and foster young tech talent that will, in turn, boost the economy.
According to a recent report, various academic experts and leaders in Malaysia have urged that collaborations between public universities and the industry must be intensified in an effort to optimise existing expertise in the country and create high-tech industries.
The director of Photonics Research Center and a professor at Universiti Malaya (UM) stated that the industry would gain more benefit from working with public universities especially government-linked companies (GLCs).
He said that certain GLCs are focusing more on the universities they administer. Therefore, the opportunities are going to be expanded to public universities with many experts in various fields of technology.
He gave the example of the Malaysian Technical University Network (MTUN) which has hundreds of engineers who have the potential and training to be involved in the industry. They could even add new technologies which they could add value to a project and then be shared with other students.
Commenting on the 2019 Budget presented by the Finance Minister, the director/professor also stated that, as an example of a model: 200 engineering lecturers from public universities are exposed to 30 to 40 industries and one industry is capable of producing high-tech products then the knowledge is later shared to students. He noted that this is the German model.
In his remarks, the professor said that in unstable economic conditions, research and development (R&D) areas need to be streamlined to strengthen the industry and produce new innovations.
In severe economic conditions in China, he noted, they will increase investment in R&D to be able to change the landscape of the industry with the production of high-tech products.
The vice-chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia stated that in a restricted financial situation, the government was still able to maintain research value in higher learning institutions.
A large fund is still needed not only from the government but also the private sector especially in the quest for entrepreneurship-based economy according to 2019 budget, he noted.
He noted that while the nation may have been unable to see the results of local public universities research earlier, they are now able to see where they need to further improve existing performance.
Meanwhile, the vice-chancellor of and professor at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan stated that research funds are important to help raise the institutions’ performance.
He said research is also an indicator of world-class ratings, especially those who had collaborated with individuals or international institutions to further promote local education institutions.
This same amount of funding will help the institutions to improve the quality of research and make the country a leading education hub as we have a great potential towards that direction, it was noted.
Collaborating with industry players would be key to helping boost tech education as an earlier report by OpenGov Asia noted that research shows that the demand for tech professional is on the rise, especially in Malaysia.
The report noted that Malaysia witnessed an uptrend in annual online demand for Software, Hardware, Telecom professionals for the first time since March 2018, up 2 per cent in July.
The IT index comprises data of overall hiring activity in each country, as well as specific data in the IT and BPO sector.
These findings show that, as far as Malaysia is concerned, the country is on track to manifest a few of the objectives laid out in the Smart City Initiatives, namely to stimulate social, economic and physical development in a dynamic, balanced and sustainable manner.
Moreover, the Smart City Initiatives manifesto recognises the importance of generating a competitive urban economy through strengthening digital application by improving the readiness of its urban services through digital applications, and by encouraging digital application through information dissemination and hands-on training.
And this is done by encouraging and providing paths for university students to work with and learn from tech professional in the industry.
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