Miri – 29 April 2014 – Graduates attaining degrees or further degrees can change not only their own outcomes in life, but also that of the wider community.
In addressing graduates of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) at the university’s recent graduation ceremony, former deputy chief minister and Curtin Sarawak Council chair Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam said they should consider the benefit of education to the community as well as themselves, the importance in a globalised world of an international perspective in university education, and the opportunity for all graduates to contribute to the wider community.
He added that people with degree education earn more, obtain higher quality employment than non-graduates and experience greater job security and career development.
“Education increases your ability to develop your personal talents and capacity, to take full advantage of opportunities so that you are able to realise your full potential. Also, in graduating, you have made it more likely that your children will earn degrees,” he said.
According to him, research has shown that an educated community experiences higher growth rates, less individual dependence on public subsidies and support, less crime and greater civic and cultural involvement by citizens. Graduates are also more likely to undertake voluntary activities and to hold positive attitudes to issues such as diversity and equal opportunities.
“As Curtin graduates, you should see yourselves as leaders with obligations to promote community development. Even after leaving the university, you should continue to live by the university’s commitment to engage our communities and change lives for the better,” he advised.
Touching on the university, he said Curtin Sarawak recognises the importance of preparing its graduates for a multicultural world and for international competition.
“We provide a diverse cultural environment where students develop an appreciation of the international nature of knowledge and learning,” he pointed out.
He added that Curtin’s curriculum is developed to provide students with an understanding of where their discipline fits in the global context, and the university sets its academic standards based on international benchmarks to prepare students for the global workforce. It is also committed to continuously improving the quality of its educational programmes and research to ensure that its graduates have the skills required to participate on the world stage.
Among those present at the ceremony were Assistant Minister of Communications Datuk Dr Lee Kim Shin, who is also chair of the Curtin Sarawak Management Board; Sue Wilson, acting chancellor of Curtin University; Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry; chairman of Curtin (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Datu Dr Hatta bin Solhi; Dr Razali Abon, director of the Human Resource Development & Quality Unit in the Chief Minister’s Department; and Curtin Sarawak pro vice-chancellor Professor Jim Mienczakowski.
The ceremony witnessed the graduation of 66 postgraduate students with degrees in engineering and business, 258 undergraduate students from the School of Business with degrees in arts, business administration and commerce, and 186 undergraduate students from the School of Engineering and Science with degrees in engineering, science and technology.
Professor Mienczakowski, in his opening speech, encouraged the graduates to embrace life-long learning, to undertake further study and give special consideration to broadening their disciplinary horizons. He said that learning is a lifelong evolutionary process, involving periods of formal study, together with learning based on experiences in the workplace and other theatres of life.
“Learning during formal study and learning by doing in the workplace are complementary and reinforce each other. Your working life should be enriched and re-invigorated by occasional forays back into the education system, in order to update your existing skills and content knowledge, as well as to acquire new ones,” he remarked.
On the value of inter-disciplinary study, he commented that despite very strong forces in the economy and society pushing students towards greater specialisation in their skill sets and discipline content knowledge, an inter-disciplinary education is still preferable. He said multi-skilled graduates with skills across several disciplines are more appreciated by employers, are seen to be more flexible and adaptive, and are more likely to succeed in both the private and public spheres.
For more information on Curtin Sarawak, visit its website at www.curtin.edu.my, its Facebook page at facebook.com/CurtinUniversitySarawakMalaysia, Twitter profile at twitter.com/curtinsarawak, YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/CurtinUniSarawak, or Instagram at instagram.com/curtinsarawak.