UM Provost Message
Assalamualaikum wbt. and Warmest Greetings,
Much has been said about the changes happening in the Malaysian higher education scene. While some lament the current state of higher education in the country with some pining for the “good old days”, few would dispute that many changes have indeed taken place in Malaysian higher education over the past 20 years. The introduction of private higher education in a big way about 20 years ago was the beginning of a more egalitarian approach to higher education that does not seem to have abated.
Many full-fledged private universities including some branches of foreign ones have been set up as a result of the opening up of the higher education sector on a scale never before imagined. This massification and globalization of higher education have resulted in profound changes in the way people now view higher education. Increased staff and student mobility, institutional collaborations and a revolutionary change in the way we teach and learn are now having profound changes on Malaysian universities and on Malaysian higher education in general. Institutions of higher learning in Malaysia (IHLs) are all expected to teach well, provide excellent consultancy, conduct world-class research and be financially sustainable. The Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) in Malaysia has meanwhile not been idle. The launch of an ambitious National Higher Education Strategic Plan in 2007 was followed by an even more ambitious Higher Education Blueprint in 2015 with the aim of not just making Malaysia a higher education hub but a trendsetter and leader in higher education.
What do all these mean for the University of Malaya (UM)? Malaysia’s oldest and best university has its work cut out. It has to be both egalitarian and elitist, leading and shaping the nation’s future and enriching lives (in more ways than one) at the same time. It has to be both traditional and leading-edge in its approach, both a friend and a mentor to its younger brethren and both a leader in T&L (teaching and learning) and research. This multiplicity of roles and higher expectations come at a time of shrinking budgets, which makes leading Malaysian universities particularly difficult at this time. The Office of the DVC (Academic and International) / Provost of UM must therefore be prepared to shoulder these daunting challenges and not flinch. It is my belief that UM staff are quite prepared for these challenges. The sweeping changes happening in the Provost portfolio together with new strategic plans being put in place augur well for the future of UM. As Malaysia’s premier university, UM will lead on multiple fronts and capitalize on its many talents and strengths to forge new collaborations, partnerships and engagements with other global institutions to ensure that it remains at the leading edge of all these fronts.
Never before has the Academic and International portfolio been more challenging and exciting.
This brings us to the UM Provost website. The UM Provost website aims to disseminate information to existing and potential partners, stakeholders and the community at large. By exploring through its pages, one will be enlightened with current information on UM academic and internationalization activities, expertise, infrastructure and services.
Professor Awang Bulgiba Awang Mahmud
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic & International) / Provost