Special education for the future of Malaysia

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YBhg. Prof. Datuk Dr. Md. Zabid b. Hj. Abdul Rashid (Unirazak)
YBhg Prof. Datuk Dr. Md. Zabid b. Hj. Abdul Rashid, President and Vice Chancellor of UNIRAZAK

Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (UNIRAZAK) was established in 1997 as one of the first private universities in Malaysia and has rapidly established itself as a premier centre for education in its efforts to produce competitive and capable graduates. Its vision is to become the leading institution in providing quality education and human capital in niche areas among emerging economies. Inside Investor asked the university’s President and Vice Chancellor YBhg, Prof. Datuk Dr. Md. Zabid b. Hj. Abdul Rashid about the institution’s milestones.

Q: Can you tell us what the purpose and vision of UNIRAZAK are?

A: UNIRAZAK aspires to be a boutique university, focusing on two main areas which are to produce quality graduates in entrepreneurship and leadership, and to address areas of innovation.
In the area of entrepreneurship, our Bank Rakyat School of Business and Entrepreneurship (BRSBE) has been working with the leading entrepreneurship university in the US, namely Babson College, which has been number one in entrepreneurship in the USA for the past 15 years. They help train our faculty members and our students also have the opportunity to visit and learn with them. Our main objective in BRSBE’s bachelor programmes is to produce future entrepreneurs, and by that we expect every graduate from the programme to become an entrepreneur, whether he or she is starting a small business or engaging in social entrepreneurship.
In the field of leadership we want to make sure that the students we have will become managers in enterprises or organisations, and we need to train them from now so that by the year 2020 Malaysia will have a reasonable number of peers to lead the economy.

Q: What core courses are you offering in that respect?

A: We do have specialised programmes at the bachelor level. For example, in the Tun Abdul Razak School of Government (TARSOG), we offer a Bachelor of Arts in Leadership for the public sector. In the business sector, we offer an MBA in Leadership. We also have a chair of leadership with well-known academics who train our students.

Q: Do you also train learning by doing for entrepreneurship?

A: In fact we make sure that one year before the students graduate they have to identify their business opportunities and present business plans. They are asked to decide if they want to do business or establish a community to address problems in society, and we will coach them in doing this. If they need financing, we will also make arrangements to find financiers or sponsors to commence the activities. At this point of time, under this programme we have produced ten students so far. They have already started businesses and are successful in doing this.

Q: What kind of diploma or qualification do the graduates get at the end of their studies?

A: We have three major faculties, namely the Bank Rakyat School of Business & Entrepreneurship (BRSBE), the Tun Abdul Razak School of Government (TARSOG), and the Graduate School of Business (GSB). In BRSBE we offer at least six bachelor degrees. All of these programmes are unique, not only among private universities in Malaysia, but also different from programmes at public learning institutions in Malaysia and abroad.  In TARSOG, we offer Bachelor of Arts in Leadership, Bachelor of Arts in Government and Public Policy, and Bachelor of Economics. In GSB students can graduate as MBAs, PhDs, Master of Science, or Master of Strategic Human Resource Management. For more information you can visit our website (www.unirazak.edu.my)

Q: What makes UNIRAZAK unique?

A: In BRSBE, we are the only university in the region offering the programme on entrepreneurship in collaboration with Babson. We also have another programme called Bachelor of Accounting with CPA Australia. This is the only programme in the world in which a bachelor degree is offered together with a CPA qualification from Australia. Normally, you have to do the CPA after the degree. Another programme we have is Bachelor of Business Administration in Insurance where we collaborate with the Chartered Institute of Insurance in the UK. We are the only non-UK based institution that has been given this recognition. With all these degrees a graduate can work anywhere in the world. There is also another programme for a Bachelor in Business Administration in Islamic Banking and Finance. I believe we are the only university offering such a programme in English. Our graduates will be granted exemptions from Chartered Islamic Finance Professional regulations by the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF) which means that they can work for any Islamic banking institution. Then we also have a Bachelor of Business Administration in Islamic Financial Planning, and a Bachelor of Taxation. All our programmes are specifically designed to meet the needs of Malaysia and also the global market. They are all in English, and they are all new, unique, innovative and exclusive

Q: Who are your students, and what is the ratio between locals and foreigners, and what are your international collaborations?

A: 15 per cent of our students are foreigners,  and we would like to increase that to 40 per cent. We look forward to attracting more high quality students to our institution. We also have signed two MoUs for student exchange with French institutions, Euromed in Marseille and Group Sup in La Rochelle, and we are about to sign another one with Novancia in Paris. All three are French institutions. On top of that we have collaborations with Hochschule Bremen in Germany, and also the University of Valencia in Spain. We regard the student exchanges as very important – currently, we have seven French students here, but we also want to see Malaysians going to France.

Q: Are you looking at partnerships with the GCC?

A: I would be very happy to have collaborations with learning institutions from there. But people from the GCC are currently coming here for business and not for study. Of course, there are many potential students from the GCC interested to come to this part of the world. I noticed that these are mainly female students who have limited mobility elsewhere, and they want to come to Malaysia because it is a Muslim country but more open than others and gives them more freedom and security. It is a good sign that they are interested in coming here,

Q: How many teachers do you currently have?

A: Full time we have 35, part time we have another ten. Amongst private universities, our academic staffs have one of the highest percentage of teachers that are doctorate holders.

A: What partnerships do you have with Malaysian companies?

Q: For our programmes in accounting and taxation, many Malaysian companies have expressed interest in our students and want to provide internships. We are very open to this. To deepen our relationship with the industry, we organise roundtable discussions with them at least once a year in specific sectors. The purpose for this is so our academics get to know the current challenges of the industry better, and to encourage the industry sector to engage with the university. We encourage our teachers to co-teach with industry practitioners so our students will be able to benefit from the latest corporate and industry practices. Of course we also have MoUs with companies with whom we want our people to engage with to develop higher quality graduates in the future.

Q: How do you assess the educational policy of the Malaysian government?

A: I think the government is very supportive of the education sector – a lot of policies have been drafted and implemented, and the government is very much committed to enhance the educational quality in the country. Also, foreign students are encouraged to come to Malaysia. We currently have a total of 90,000 foreign students here, and the ministry wants the number to increase to 150,000-200,000 within three years.  UNIRAZAK looks forward to meeting this challenge and providing high quality, innovative programmes not just to Malaysians but to all.

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

YBhg Prof. Datuk Dr. Md. Zabid b. Hj. Abdul Rashid, President and Vice Chancellor of UNIRAZAK

Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (UNIRAZAK) was established in 1997 as one of the first private universities in Malaysia and has rapidly established itself as a premier centre for education in its efforts to produce competitive and capable graduates. Its vision is to become the leading institution in providing quality education and human capital in niche areas among emerging economies. Inside Investor asked the university’s President and Vice Chancellor YBhg, Prof. Datuk Dr. Md. Zabid b. Hj. Abdul Rashid about the institution’s milestones.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

YBhg. Prof. Datuk Dr. Md. Zabid b. Hj. Abdul Rashid (Unirazak)
YBhg Prof. Datuk Dr. Md. Zabid b. Hj. Abdul Rashid, President and Vice Chancellor of UNIRAZAK

Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (UNIRAZAK) was established in 1997 as one of the first private universities in Malaysia and has rapidly established itself as a premier centre for education in its efforts to produce competitive and capable graduates. Its vision is to become the leading institution in providing quality education and human capital in niche areas among emerging economies. Inside Investor asked the university’s President and Vice Chancellor YBhg, Prof. Datuk Dr. Md. Zabid b. Hj. Abdul Rashid about the institution’s milestones.

Q: Can you tell us what the purpose and vision of UNIRAZAK are?

A: UNIRAZAK aspires to be a boutique university, focusing on two main areas which are to produce quality graduates in entrepreneurship and leadership, and to address areas of innovation.
In the area of entrepreneurship, our Bank Rakyat School of Business and Entrepreneurship (BRSBE) has been working with the leading entrepreneurship university in the US, namely Babson College, which has been number one in entrepreneurship in the USA for the past 15 years. They help train our faculty members and our students also have the opportunity to visit and learn with them. Our main objective in BRSBE’s bachelor programmes is to produce future entrepreneurs, and by that we expect every graduate from the programme to become an entrepreneur, whether he or she is starting a small business or engaging in social entrepreneurship.
In the field of leadership we want to make sure that the students we have will become managers in enterprises or organisations, and we need to train them from now so that by the year 2020 Malaysia will have a reasonable number of peers to lead the economy.

Q: What core courses are you offering in that respect?

A: We do have specialised programmes at the bachelor level. For example, in the Tun Abdul Razak School of Government (TARSOG), we offer a Bachelor of Arts in Leadership for the public sector. In the business sector, we offer an MBA in Leadership. We also have a chair of leadership with well-known academics who train our students.

Q: Do you also train learning by doing for entrepreneurship?

A: In fact we make sure that one year before the students graduate they have to identify their business opportunities and present business plans. They are asked to decide if they want to do business or establish a community to address problems in society, and we will coach them in doing this. If they need financing, we will also make arrangements to find financiers or sponsors to commence the activities. At this point of time, under this programme we have produced ten students so far. They have already started businesses and are successful in doing this.

Q: What kind of diploma or qualification do the graduates get at the end of their studies?

A: We have three major faculties, namely the Bank Rakyat School of Business & Entrepreneurship (BRSBE), the Tun Abdul Razak School of Government (TARSOG), and the Graduate School of Business (GSB). In BRSBE we offer at least six bachelor degrees. All of these programmes are unique, not only among private universities in Malaysia, but also different from programmes at public learning institutions in Malaysia and abroad.  In TARSOG, we offer Bachelor of Arts in Leadership, Bachelor of Arts in Government and Public Policy, and Bachelor of Economics. In GSB students can graduate as MBAs, PhDs, Master of Science, or Master of Strategic Human Resource Management. For more information you can visit our website (www.unirazak.edu.my)

Q: What makes UNIRAZAK unique?

A: In BRSBE, we are the only university in the region offering the programme on entrepreneurship in collaboration with Babson. We also have another programme called Bachelor of Accounting with CPA Australia. This is the only programme in the world in which a bachelor degree is offered together with a CPA qualification from Australia. Normally, you have to do the CPA after the degree. Another programme we have is Bachelor of Business Administration in Insurance where we collaborate with the Chartered Institute of Insurance in the UK. We are the only non-UK based institution that has been given this recognition. With all these degrees a graduate can work anywhere in the world. There is also another programme for a Bachelor in Business Administration in Islamic Banking and Finance. I believe we are the only university offering such a programme in English. Our graduates will be granted exemptions from Chartered Islamic Finance Professional regulations by the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF) which means that they can work for any Islamic banking institution. Then we also have a Bachelor of Business Administration in Islamic Financial Planning, and a Bachelor of Taxation. All our programmes are specifically designed to meet the needs of Malaysia and also the global market. They are all in English, and they are all new, unique, innovative and exclusive

Q: Who are your students, and what is the ratio between locals and foreigners, and what are your international collaborations?

A: 15 per cent of our students are foreigners,  and we would like to increase that to 40 per cent. We look forward to attracting more high quality students to our institution. We also have signed two MoUs for student exchange with French institutions, Euromed in Marseille and Group Sup in La Rochelle, and we are about to sign another one with Novancia in Paris. All three are French institutions. On top of that we have collaborations with Hochschule Bremen in Germany, and also the University of Valencia in Spain. We regard the student exchanges as very important – currently, we have seven French students here, but we also want to see Malaysians going to France.

Q: Are you looking at partnerships with the GCC?

A: I would be very happy to have collaborations with learning institutions from there. But people from the GCC are currently coming here for business and not for study. Of course, there are many potential students from the GCC interested to come to this part of the world. I noticed that these are mainly female students who have limited mobility elsewhere, and they want to come to Malaysia because it is a Muslim country but more open than others and gives them more freedom and security. It is a good sign that they are interested in coming here,

Q: How many teachers do you currently have?

A: Full time we have 35, part time we have another ten. Amongst private universities, our academic staffs have one of the highest percentage of teachers that are doctorate holders.

A: What partnerships do you have with Malaysian companies?

Q: For our programmes in accounting and taxation, many Malaysian companies have expressed interest in our students and want to provide internships. We are very open to this. To deepen our relationship with the industry, we organise roundtable discussions with them at least once a year in specific sectors. The purpose for this is so our academics get to know the current challenges of the industry better, and to encourage the industry sector to engage with the university. We encourage our teachers to co-teach with industry practitioners so our students will be able to benefit from the latest corporate and industry practices. Of course we also have MoUs with companies with whom we want our people to engage with to develop higher quality graduates in the future.

Q: How do you assess the educational policy of the Malaysian government?

A: I think the government is very supportive of the education sector – a lot of policies have been drafted and implemented, and the government is very much committed to enhance the educational quality in the country. Also, foreign students are encouraged to come to Malaysia. We currently have a total of 90,000 foreign students here, and the ministry wants the number to increase to 150,000-200,000 within three years.  UNIRAZAK looks forward to meeting this challenge and providing high quality, innovative programmes not just to Malaysians but to all.

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