Professor Dr Mohd Saleh Jaafar (10th from right) and Surina Shukri (centre) with representatives of higher-learning institutions at the Premier Digital Tech Institutions and Strategic Partners award ceremony in Cyberjaya. PIC BY SAIFULLIZAN TAMADI.

DIGITAL disruption is creating new job opportunities and changing the way we work. The World Economic Forum predicts that 65 per cent of students today will be working in jobs that have yet to be defined, and most of them will require digital skills.

Now, more than ever, the country needs to equip its youth with the right skill sets and mindset to ensure that they remain relevant. Recently, HELP University, Islamic International University Malaysia (IIUM) and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman have been recognised as Premier Digital Tech Institutions, joining 13 others with the same status.

This initiative is jointly developed by the Education Ministry and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to produce top talents and future leaders in digital technology

Premier Digital Tech Institutions provide an optimum ecosystem in preparing graduates to meet industry demand. Institutions applying for the recognition have to undergo meticulous assessments to ensure that they provide quality tech education and facilities.

According to IIUM Kulliyyah of Information Technology Student Affairs deputy dean Mohd Syarqawy Hamzah, MDEC has set a high standard, which does not only look into the courses offered and student achievements, but also the support given by the university.

It includes those provided by IIUM’s Counselling and Career Services Centre, which not only offers career advice, but also builds relationships with the industry and organise events to benefit them and its students.

For HELP University, the recognition and status will boost its mission to produce self-directing graduates, who can master new skills efficiently.

Prior to being recognised, HELP University had to undergo intensive assessments by an auditing team comprising representatives from the industry, Higher Education Department and MDEC.

“We endeavour to instill in our students the attitude and values to prepare them for a lifetime of continuous learning and leadership,” said Faculty of Computing and Digital Technology dean Dr Sien Ven Yu.

“Our close links with the industry have enabled us to introduce an innovative series of final-year projects and internship programmes, which are supervised by practising IT professionals. This arrangement not only offer students valuable work experience, but also provide them with specific knowledge and specialised skills.”

At the recent award ceremony, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said Premier Digital Tech Institutions would ensure that Malaysians were proficient in data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics and digital marketing.

“Talent is key for Malaysia to succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0). It is critical that we prepare local talents for future jobs,” he said in his speech read out by Private Institution of Higher Learning deputy director-general Professor Dr Mohd Saleh Jaafar.

MDEC chief executive officer Surina Shukri said the corporation was a strong proponent of public-private partnerships, and this Premier Digital Tech Institutions initiative was a great example of how such alliances could powerfully impact the growth of Malaysia’s digital economy.