The European Union (EU) is collaborating with Malaysia towards helping the latter in achieving its goal of becoming a regional and international hub for higher education, according to EU ambassador and head of delegation to Malaysia for MyEULink 2012, Vincent Piket.
On why the EU chose Malaysia as a collaborative partner, Piket said, "Malaysia and the EU share common challenges in the area of transnational education.
Furthermore, with Malaysia demonstrating its commitment to engage with partners regionally and internationally, we see promising signs."
He added, "Malaysia’s aim of becoming a regional and international hub as well as its open policy of welcoming universities globally to establish local branches will have significant effects on competition, resulting in greater efficiency, greater quality and greater innovation.
The country’s long-term higher education ambitions are indicators of the potential of our future success together."
"Malaysia firmly believes in the sharing of experiences and resources to ensure a dynamic global engagement where mutual benefits can be derived between all parties concerned," said deputy minister of Higher Education Malaysia Datuk Dr Hou Kok Chung after officiating the MyEULink European Higher Education Conference and Fair 2012 in Kuala Lumpur.
Hou added, "For Malaysia, it will be vitally important that an increased transnationalism does not only result in regional competitiveness but also increases the attractiveness of South-East Asian higher education for the world."
Via its Europe 2020 growth strategy is looking at funding a whopping €19 billion or RM17.51 billion for higher education in 2014-2020.
"By 2020, the EU estimates 35% of new jobs will require high-skills. Therefore, there is a need to upgrade skills in order to boost employability. This can only be achieved by increasing the labour market relevance of education, training, and access to lifelong opportunities. This is a challenge also confronted by Malaysia," said Piket.
He added, "With the Europe 2020 strategy in place, the EU highlights higher education as a key policy area where transnational collaboration can help deliver positive results for jobs, economic development and social inclusiveness."
To achieve the goals of Europe 2020, the EU has outlined new agendas such as increasing number of graduates; improve quality of teaching, equipping graduates with core transferable competences to succeed in high-skills occupations; and providing more opportunities to gain additional skills through higher education abroad, according to the EU.
The two-day MyEULink conference began on March 17 and will go on till March 18 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, with participation from delegates across the European regions such as New Zealand, Germany, France, Spain, and the UK.
The event will see these delegates promoting study-opportunities abroad, as well as sharing ideas and addressing key issues of concern.