UTAR hosts Malaysia Taiwan Higher Education Forum 2016

Group photo of the VIPs and the participants.Group photo of the VIPs and the participants.

UTAR hosted the Malaysia – Taiwan Higher Education Forum (MTHEF) 2016 for the first time at its Kampar Campus on 15 October 2016, enabling education ties between Malaysian and Taiwan institutions of higher learning to be strengthened.

The biennial forum, jointly organised with Feng Chia University (FCU), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), and the Taiwan Education Center (TEC), Malaysia, was another success following the inaugural forum held at FCU, Taiwan in 2014. It saw the presence of over 130 participants from 24 Taiwan universities and 23 Malaysian institutions of higher learning.

Themed ‘International Collaboration for Human Capital Development’ this year, the one-day forum served as a strategic platform enabling participants to share experiences and insights in areas of academia-industry collaboration, university-university collaboration, and collaboration on technical vocational education and training (TVET).

Invited to officiate the forum was Senator and UTAR Council Member, Dato’ Dr Hou Kok Chung who was cordially received by UTAR President Ir Prof Dato’ Dr Chuah Hean Teik. Also present at the opening ceremony were Board Member of Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education of Taiwan Prof Dr Chen Liang-Gee, Director of the Higher Education Excellence Planning Division, Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia Prof Dr Raha binti Abdul Rahim, representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Malaysia James Chang Chi-Ping, President of FCU Prof Dr Lee Bing-Jean, Director of TEC, Malaysia Dr Liu Pei, representative of USM Dr Muhizam bin Mustafa, and UTAR Council Member Hew Fen Yee.

Representing the Malaysian Organising Committee to deliver the welcoming address was Prof Chuah, who also expressed his gratitude for the opportunities given to UTAR to host MTHEF 2016 for the first time. “Internationalisation is no longer a luxury in a globalised world, but a necessity. Malaysia is one of the leading countries in ASEAN where we can work together with Taiwan on R&D and human capital development, as well as growing from strength to strength so that we can collaborate more effectively,” he said, and hoped that MTHEF 2016 will generate strategic networking between Malaysian and Taiwan academics.

Speaking on behalf of TECO was Chang who congratulated the organisers for successfully organising the forum in Malaysia for the first time. He also mentioned that since the previous forum held in FCU in 2014, there was an increase in student mobility as well as interaction between Malaysia’s and Taiwan’s institutions of higher learning. “The ideas and exchanges shared throughout the previous forum had brought fruitful achievements. The experiences and ideas shared are vital to inspire the future development and cooperation between Malaysia and Taiwan,” Chang concluded, and looked forward to seeing the educational ties between both economies reach a new milestone through this forum.

Echoing Chang’s sentiment was Prof Chen, who delivered his speech on behalf of the delegation from Taiwan. Prof Chen explained that the forum is in line with the New Southbound Policy which promotes goodwill and partnerships between Taiwan, Southeast Asia and South Asia. “As a result, we encourage our students in Taiwan to also visit Malaysia to study and for joint research projects so as to promote mutual understanding. Besides that, we’re also able to share Taiwan’s experiences in academia-industry collaboration, as well as success in offering vocational education,” said Prof Chen, who is also the forum’s first Keynote Speaker.

Acknowledging Taiwan as one of the preferred destinations for Malaysians to pursue their studies, Dato’ Hou encouraged the Malaysian higher education authorities and universities to foster more collaborative ties and invest in R&D initiatives with Taiwan. “Collaborations among universities everywhere come in forms similar to this conference, student and staff exchanges, as well as R&D tie-ups,” he mentioned. Dato’ Hou also highlighted the need to sustain the collaborative ties to ensure their success and impact. “R&D activities are building blocks to human capital development, making it also a strategic investment. Jointly and collectively, every stakeholder can help to expand Malaysia’s R&D capacity and capability, pushing us forward as a knowledge-driven nation.”

Dato’ Hou receiving souvenirs from Prof Chuah and Prof Chen.

Dato’ Hou receiving souvenirs from Prof Chuah and Prof Chen.

From left: Advisor of TEC Datuk Dr Ting Chong Cheng, Dr Muhizam, Prof Lee, Prof Chen, Prof Chuah, Dato’ Hou, Prof Raha, Chang, Dr Liu, UTAR Vice President for Internationalisation and Academic Development Prof Ir Dr Ewe Hong Tat and TEC Chief Executive Officer Beh Chew Nam.

From left: Advisor of TEC Datuk Dr Ting Chong Cheng, Dr Muhizam, Prof Lee, Prof Chen, Prof Chuah, Dato’ Hou, Prof Raha, Chang, Dr Liu, UTAR Vice President for Internationalisation and Academic Development Prof Ir Dr Ewe Hong Tat and TEC Chief Executive Officer Beh Chew Nam.

Keynote Addresses by Prof Chen and Prof Raha.

Keynote Addresses by Prof Chen and Prof Raha.

The ceremony ensued with a souvenir presentation and group photograph session, followed by keynote addresses by two keynote speakers, Prof Chen and Prof Raha.

To further stimulate discussions and exchanges of ideas, three parallel sessions with each session featuring a topic were also held, namely Best Practices and Experiences for Parallel Session One, Funding and Sustainable Mechanisms for Parallel Session Two, and Future Trends and Challenges for Parallel Session Three. Each parallel session consisted of three concurrent talks related to academia-Industry collaboration, university-university collaboration, and collaboration on TVET.

The forum also witnessed a rich line-up of highly qualified academics and researchers from both Malaysian and Taiwan universities sharing their experiences and invaluable insights along the lines of international human capital resources, training and development.

Among the line-up of senior professors and academics who shared their rich breadth of expertise included UTAR Vice President for R&D and Commercialisation Prof Ir Dr Lee Sze Wei, USM Director of International Mobility and Career Centre Dr Muhizam, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka Director of Academic Planning and Development Office Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Fahmi bin Miskon, Universiti Teknologi Petronas Deputy Vice Chancellor of Academic Prof Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib, Multimedia University Director of Research and Management Prof Ir Dr Hairul Azhar Abdul Rashid, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Dean of Faculty of Education Prof Baharuddin Aris, Universiti Utara Malaysia Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Noor Azizi bin Ismail, Taylor’s University Pro-Vice Chancellor Emeritus Prof Dato’ Dr Visweswaran Navaratnam, and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Wahid bin Razzaly.

Distinguished professors and academics from Taiwan included the Vice President of FCU Prof Dr Jin H. Huang, National Taiwan University Executive Vice President for Administrative Affairs Prof Dr Ching-Ray Chang, National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology President Prof Dr Cheng-Yuan Roger Chen, National Cheng Kung University CEO of Research and Services Headquarters Prof Dr Fong-Chin Su, Elite Study in Taiwan Project Office of Taiwan’s Ministry of Education Prof Dr Wan-Lee Cheng, National Taipei University of Technology Vice President Prof Dr Wen Lung Li, Chung Yuan Christian University’s Prof Dr Shih-Ming Michael Wang, National Chiao Tung University Vice President of International Affairs Prof Dr Yu-Tai Ching, and Chung Hwa University of Medical Technology Vice President Prof Dr Yu-Lin Yang.

Speakers and moderators at the parallel sessions.

Speakers and moderators at the parallel sessions.

Discussions during the parallel sessions.

Discussions during the parallel sessions.

Forging ahead with its vision to be a global university of educational excellence with transformative societal impact, UTAR also inked Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with FCU, National Ilan University, Chung Hwa University of Medical Technology, Chang Jung Christian University, Kun Shan University, Chao Yang University of Technology, and National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology towards the end of the forum. The signing of MoUs was another boost to UTAR’s existing university partners.

Other Malaysian institutions of higher learning which signed MoUs with Taiwan universities were First City University College which signed with Kun Shan University and I-Shou University, as well as Tunku Abdul Rahman University College which signed with Chung Hwa University of Medical Technology.

MTHEF was first held at FCU on 18 December 2014. Co-organised by UTAR and FCU, the 2014 forum was themed ‘New Philosophy of Higher Education, Unification of Learning and Practice, and Enhancement of Student Global Mobility’. The forum in 2014 successfully linked many higher education institutions from Taiwan and Malaysia to take part in internationalisation activities. This year, MTHEF 2016 hopes to further strengthen higher education internationalisation activities in line with the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015 – 2025 (Higher Education). MTHEF 2018 will be subsequently held in Taiwan.

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