Saturday, April 26, 2008

Malaysian don set to soar with fellowship award - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: April 26, 2008 By : Irdiani Mohd Salleh

The first-ever Malaysian to be awarded a fellowship by a prestigious British management research institute has no illusions about herself.

"I am like a humming bird (the world's smallest bird). Although it has tiny wings, it can fly wherever it wants," said Irene Ng, an associate professor of Marketing in the School of Business and Economics at the University of Exeter, in the UK.

Ng was one of five academics in the UK who were recently awarded a Fellowship on Services by Britain's prestigious Advanced Institute of Management Research (AIM), which brings academics and business leaders together to develop research of a world-class standard.

Furthermore, Ng was appointed the Lead Service Fellow, in which capacity she will join the directorate of AIM to ensure that the institute's activities are well-integrated."I'm really honoured to be selected. This is the dream of every academic in the UK. And to be appointed to lead the research is totally unexpected," said Ng.

During her three-year fellowship, Ng's research will focus on the pricing and revenue management of services, value-based service innovation, service capacity and business-to-business (B2B) service contracts.Though Ng's achievement is no mean feat, the Malaysian academic, who is in her 40s, is humble about her accomplishments thus far.

"I'm not a genius. I'm just like any other person who went to a Sekolah Kebangsaan, failed my Form Two exams and had my research papers routinely rejected."But that never stopped me to keep on learning and trying," said Ng, who is also a mother of three."I don't limit myself. I just do what I want and say what I think. Maybe that's the secret of my success today."

Indeed, Ng has had a spectacular career. Prior to joining academia, Ng was a successful business practitioner for 12 years. She was chief executive officer of SA Tours, the largest tour operator in Southeast Asia with offices in Malaysia, Singapore and China.

She was also the founder and chief executive officer of Empress Cruise Lines, which boasts an annual turnover of US$250 million (RM795 million).But with her recent fellowship win, Ng may be demonstrating that her best accomplishments are yet to come.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Graduates to form 33% of workforce by 2010 - The Star

April 22, 2008 By SIMRIT KAUR

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government intends to increase the number of tertiary-educated people in the workforce from 20% to 33% by 2010.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said that the challenge in achieving this was to ensure that there is no sacrifice in quality over quantity.

“To merely achieve these numbers would not be too difficult. We have grown our tertiary capacity from only one university in 1961 to 20 public universities, 36 private universities and university colleges, 21 polytechnics, 37 community colleges and 485 private colleges.”

Mohamed Khaled added that academic staff in universities would play a key role in producing quality graduates.

“Every university must create an environment that fosters a culture of excellence to attract the most able as well as motivate existing academic staff," he said in his speech Tuesday at the 12th Malaysian Education Summit, which was delivered by deputy higher education minister Dr Hou Kok Chung.

To build the right culture at universities, the ministry would uplift the profession, provide professional development and training opportunities and celebrate the achievements of academic staff with awards and recognition, he said.

Mohamed Khaled added that the Higher Education Ministry would move away from being a regulator and enforcer of government policies and act as a facilitator and lead partner instead.“As the lead partner, the Ministry will not only provide strategic direction, but also offer the support necessary to ensure the success of higher education institutions,’’ he said.

“Our role at the Ministry is not to micro-manage the universities but to ensure that all the building blocks that are necessary to promote excellence are put in place and the environment is conducive for competitive academic pursuits.”

Mohamed Khaled also announced that institutions seeking to become apex universities would be submitting their transformation plans by the end of this month.

The ministry plans to select one or two Malaysian higher education institutions to become apex universities which would be put on an accelerated programme to achieve world-class status.