THE Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) represents new ways in which disruptive technologies are embedded in our daily experience.
This has emphasised the need to redesign the education system and transform the learning and teaching delivery, as well as demanding the industry sectors to enhance, reskill and upscale talents.
Experiential learning, future-ready curriculum, and life-long learning mindset are critical elements in uplifting graduates’ skills and attributes to thrive in the gig economy world.
Hence, talent planning is critical to ensure Malaysia’s preparation in producing talents and graduates who are agile and adaptive to the changing demands of 4IR.
Looking at the importance of 4IR, the Higher Education Ministry recently launched a book, Framing Malaysian Higher Education 4.0: Future-Proof Talents, by its minister, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.
The book provides background information on 4IR, its impacts and challenges, the current scenario and future alternatives in redesigning Malaysian higher education.
The basis of this book is to produce ethically and morally upright citizens who are spiritually grounded and caring to cope with the demands of 4IR.
Regardless of technology advancement and changes, graduates will be prepared to overcome disruptive innovation through life-long learning, which creates the opportunities to learn, unlearn and relearn.
Idris said Malaysian graduates had to possess strong positive values and be work-ready to stay ahead in the global marketplace and contribute to global wellbeing.
“The book encapsulates the way forward for the higher education sector in adapting to the ever-changing demands of higher education.
“It frames four foci (focal point), 15 approaches with detailed initiatives, three future-proof attributes and nine Malaysian future-proof skill sets in unlocking the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education),” Idris said at the launch of the book, in conjunction with the 22nd Malaysian Education Summit at Sunway Resort Hotel in Petaling Jaya.
The focal points mentioned in the book are future-ready curriculum, agile governance, research and innovation, and talent planning.
“The ministry needs to play its role as a catalyst by focusing on pro-active skills transformation, both in the educational system and workplace, as well as emphasising the role of the younger generation in the future,” he added.
The book contains guidelines, strategies and aspirations for public universities and private institutions in meeting the demands of 4IR.
It was developed through collaborative and consultative processes with various stakeholders who underwent numerous programmes, workshops and meetings involving more than 10,000 individuals comprising public and private university leaders, administrators, academics, students and industry players.
The book is based on the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education) and the initiatives, such as the integrated cumulative grade point average (iCGPA) and work-based learning programme (2U2I), in redesigning Malaysian higher education landscape that are aligned with the vision and mission of the ministry.
DELIVERY OF PROGRAMMES
Over the years, the delivery of Malaysian Higher Education Programmes (MyHE) had transformed significantly.
There are four phases of MyHE:
MyHE 1.0 centres on teachers as the source of knowledge by employing the chalk-and-talk teaching method;
MyHE 2.0 establishes the utilisation of basic technology practices in the classroom and features students as receptacles of information, who regurgitate and respond to knowledge;
MyHE 3.0 encourages dynamic teaching approaches by requiring student exploration of real-world problems and collaboration on social learning platforms; and,
MyHE 4.0 promotes student diversification of roles as curators of knowledge, content producers, connection-makers ― the web as the open global curriculum and educators as the resource guide.
In this book, it is stated that MyHE 4.0 emphasises higher order thinking skills than the lower order thinking skills.
The cognitive domain drives the goals of the learning process, where learners are expected to acquire new skills, knowledge and attitude, as well as construct their own new knowledge.
Learners should actively contextualise and produce data instead of only acquiring it. They need to be able to generate knowledge based on personal experiences and environmental participation.
It is imperative that the higher education ecosystem put into place the right education, networks of people and infrastructure to enable better management of the impact.
Therefore, Malaysian higher education institutions must play their role in producing future-proof graduates tailored and prepared for immersive education, which combines the virtual world, simulators, learning games and sophisticated digital media.
One of the lead authors of the book, Higher Education Department director-general Datin Paduka Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir, said life-long learning must be embraced by all students through reskilling and upskilling opportunities.
“We need to equip our graduates with future-proof skill sets by harnessing their humanistic, technological and data analytics competencies in embracing 4IR,” she said.
“4IR is radically changing the landscapes of higher learning institutions all over the world and Malaysia is no exception.
“Most of the challenges and opportunities of 4IR are moving at a high speed. For example, data science is now the key pre-requisite of knowledge in automation and big data analytics.
“It also provides the background in the understanding of how cyberspace will become obsolete.
“The ministry’s successful entry into 4IR is dependent on its ability to respond to change, master new knowledge, as well as engage in frontier research, development and innovation on a continuous basis.”
The book also identifies that there are three clusters of 4IR challenges facing the higher education sector.
The first challenge relates to institutional awareness and readiness.
Education providers must review their current organisational model to stay relevant and competitive.
These institutions need to align with the technological advancement by leveraging technology competency, data analytics, experiential learning, as well as the humanities values of the entire system.
The second challenge involves the explosion of data, where more data will be transmitted over a wireless connection and linked to various devices.
The third challenge is the transformation of the workforce as new industrial sectors, such as digital medicine and precision agriculture, as well as new jobs, such as medical robot designers and grid modernisation managers, will emerge.
The book elaborates on guided leadership of the neoteric academia, the shift of engineering and technology-focused core contents towards liberal arts and humanities-related knowledge, as well as spiritual intelligence as one of the attributes of future-proof graduates.
These are some of the recommendations in fronting the challenges brought forth by 4IR.
The pdf version of the book can be downloaded via the Malaysian Education 4.0 (MyHE 4.0) application on Google Play and App Store.