Australian Education Minister Dan Tehan (second from left), Malaysia Higher Education director-general Datuk Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir, (second from right), University of Wollongong Australia chancellor Jillian Broadbent AC (left), UOW Malaysia KDU chancellor Datuk Teo Chiang Quan (right) at the inauguration ceremony of UOW Malaysia KDU. -NSTP/Sairien Nafis

THE transition of KDU University Colleges into University of Wollongong (UOW) Malaysia KDU will see new international education and research opportunities for Malaysian students and academics through the UOW Global Network.

Approved by the Education Ministry, the acquisition deal was first announced in November last year and completed in September.

UOW Malaysia KDU University College vice-chancellor Professor Dr Hiew Pang Leang said: “We now have access to a wider global network, including new curriculum and student mobility opportunities.

“On top of the new curriculum, there are some featured KDU programmes, such as our renowned hospitality programme and game development programme, which are unique. These programmes will, hopefully, cross-fertilise into other UOW campuses.”

Australian Education Minister Dan Tehan said UOW Malaysia KDU students now have extraordinary opportunities in a globalised world.

“By producing students who meet the needs of the industry, we are setting Malaysia and Australia to thrive in the 21st century,” said Tehan, who was on his first international visit as education minister.

“The rich education history that Australia and Malaysia share dates back to the 1951 Colombo Plan, which enabled Malaysian students to study in Australia. Now, we have 24,000 Malaysians studying in our country.

“Since then, we have established the New Colombo Plan, enabling Australians to study in Malaysia.

“Twenty-three per cent of our international students are educated offshore. The inauguration of UOW Malaysia KDU builds on this partnership and cooperation.”

Present was higher education director-general Datuk Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir, who said the country’s higher education system was gaining recognition.

“This is in line with our aim to be a global education provider as stated in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education).

“At the end of the year, we will see the liberalisation roadmap for private higher learning institutions. Come 2021, education will become an industry under the 12th Malaysia Plan.

“We hope UOW’s presence in Malaysia will add value to the country’s education system as well as continue making Malaysia a higher education destination.”

UOW vice-chancellor and principal Professor Paul Wellings said the inauguration was an auspicious milestone that will benefit KDU staff, students and the country.

“UOW has a successful 10-year track record of providing world-class tertiary education to Malaysian students. We are proud to have more than 5,000 Malaysian alumni.

“We intend to leverage our global profile to introduce new undergraduate and postgraduate programmes to the UOW KDU campuses, as well as creating international education and research opportunities.

“The transition will not only enhance UOW’s global network, but contribute to realising the Education Ministry’s vision of creating a higher education system that enables Malaysia to compete effectively in the global economy.”

UOW senior deputy vice-chancellor Professor Joe Chicharo launched the Global Challenges Knowledge Exchange Network (Asia) programme.

Part of UOW’s successful Global Challenges interdisciplinary research programme, the new network aims to increase research collaboration between Australia and Malaysia. It will see eight scholarships awarded annually to UOW Malaysia KDU and UOW Australia academics.

The KDU campuses, comprising

UOW Malaysia KDU College, UOW Malaysia KDU University College and UOW

Malaysia KDU Penang University College, are part of UOW Global Enterprises, alongside UOW in Dubai and UOW College Hong Kong.

UOW has a total of 18,000 students in those campuses.