ULMAA (University of Liverpool Malaysia Alumni Association)

The Pathway to Co-prosperity

University education in a globalised environment

The wave of globalisation has transformed almost every industry of the world, including universities. Gone are the days that we can sit back and be happy with one physical brick-and-mortar physical organisation to compete in the world market.

University education has to address the challenges to ensure the system is in line with the needs of the industry, so that the graduates can be productive wherever they have been chosen to work.

No doubt English is the language widely spoken in the world, there is a need to have a multi-lingual capability in order to communicate effectively with people in a non-English speaking country or where English is not the prime language for business. Language may be one of the issues, and may not be as crucial as understanding and respecting the culture of the customers or suppliers. Non-English speaking countries may have to develop graduates who are competent in English in order to be globally competitive. There is a report showing the trend that China will soon overtake India in terms of number of English speaking people, due to the need to communicate effectively in the business world.

Universities are beginning to realise the importance of global joint ventures, strategic alliances or mergers, on top of the more conventional licensing or franchising arrangements.

Whereas, undergraduates in the Western world are likely to be more natural in active participation, discussions and engagements, some Asian classrooms can be simply one way communication and pure lectures. It could well be the end result of paper chase and the priority given to passing the examinations, rather develop the attitude, personality and character of the university students. Examination-oriented university education system may not be effective in developing innovative and creative graduates, and may not focus on enhancing the critical thinking capabilities.

It is time universities begin to explore the globalised and internationalised network of campus in order to deliver consistent standards of education and at the same time address the local or regional needs of the industry. The local partners and domestic employers may be able to provide the Voice of the Customers (VOC) that can help greatly in developing effective educational products and services.

The alumni associations can be another critical VOC channel, as they can provide very detailed reality checks and real life experiences of the adequacy or deficiency of the prevailing education system or methodology.

Imagine a business school graduate getting into the real world, and finding it simply unprepared for entrepreurship or intra-preneurship. Do we blame of overly confident MBA or DBA holder or the curriculum that lacks the fundamentals for execution in the real world environment?

The world is changing fast, and it is time for universities to address the needs of the society or industry in order to maintain leadership and sustainability.

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March 31, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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