IN order to survive the pace of digital change, tertiary education institutions need to embrace the concept of University 4.0 to be relevant to prospective students.
According to Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s UTM 4.0 for 4th Industrial Revolution Task Force head Professor Dr Rose Alinda Alias, UTM is set to adapt to the demands of a modern and sophisticated era.
“UTM 4.0 for 4th Industrial Revolution is an initiative that is responsive to the impact of digitisation.
“The initiative is driven by new and innovative technologies that will cater to and meet expectations of future jobs,” she said.
Rose Alinda said the impacts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) begins in the manufacturing industry.
She said higher education plays a critical role as universities produce talents, namely the graduates for future jobs.
Thus, she added, an important question that has to be addressed is how higher education institutions would be affected by the revolution and how the delivery of education will be transformed?
Rose Alinda said the University 4.0 began in Germany at the Rheinisch-Westfalische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH Aachen), where Sabina Jeschke, a Professor for Information Sciences in Mechanical Engineering, formulated the model and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was commissioned to conduct a global survey that resulted in the report that became the reference for all.
“Since then, universities in the Asean region including King Mongkut’s University of Technology (Thailand), Nguyen Tat Thanh University (Vietnam), Sungkyunkwan University (Korea) and National Chiao Tung University (Taiwan) became interested in the notion.
“Our strategy is to leverage industry 4.0 technologies to support educators and students for the 4IR. Our key performance indicators (KPI) or key ‘amal’ indicators (KAI) to bring UTM into world class university status are scholarly journals, research, postgraduate programme, intellectual property and research university while not forgetting the involvement of team work, integrity, honesty, entrepreneur and organisation development, among many other factors.
“Furthermore, UTM is aligned to the 10 Shifts in the Malaysian Higher Education Blueprint to ensure the outcome meet the needs and demands for the 4IR,” she added.
Rose Alinda said what the university is trying to do is to adopt the 4IR framework and come out with UTM 4.0 Digital Nervous System.
“It means a massive data network and feedback system that enables us to be responsive, resilient and adaptive to the complex environment in the future.
“Among the data networks are Research (Centre of Excellence), Big Data (artificial intelligence), Massive Open Online Course (MOOCS), faculties and schools.
“UTM 4.0 Academic Programme very much reflected the 4IR where we leverage on the industry 4.0 technologies. UTM 4.0 is to showcase our capabilities to envision the future of higher education.
“It already involves the 21st century curriculum, new academia learning innovation, gamification, industrial lot lab, learning analytics, cyber-physical systems,” Rose Alinda said.
She added that UTM 4.0 will focus on the exploiting and leveraging the Industry 4.0 cyber physical system technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotic to change the way the universities educate global future citizens to create a new breed of graduates that are able to excel at 4IR, while at the same time still value ethics and spirituality.
“The world of work for which we’re preparing students is changing quickly. Automation will make many jobs obsolete before long as many of the pathways through working life are changing dramatically.
“The shift is necessary based on the expectations of students, who are increasingly demanding the flexible delivery of their subjects at the university,” she added.
Rose Alinda said UTM 4.0 will now have greater emphasis on on-demand learning, multiple modes of education, with a seamless blend between the different modes of on campus, blended or wholly online.
“We also are moving away from degrees as the only form of credential we offer but more towards a mixed-offering of degrees including short qualifications and credentials.
“This shift allows universities and their industry partners to co-create shorter period of courses with a much stronger focus on career management for students, both while they’re at university and upon graduation,” she said.
However, Rose Alinda said it is much easier said than done but she believes the university has a lot of infrastructure and industry frameworks that it will have to navigate its way to become University 4.0.
UTM is organising an International Conferences on University 4.0 which will be held at Nguyen Tat Thanh University from July 20 to 21.
“UTM professors will be among the key speakers at the conference which will mainly discuss the required skills and knowledge that University 4.0 should equip the future generation with; how University 4.0 should change its learning design (curriculums, teaching methods, assessments) in the light of technological and social disruptions; how the 4IR will affect the administration, research, development and innovation agenda of University 4.0, and how University 4.0 should collaborate with the industries and governments to foster innovative ecosystems,” said Rose Alinda.