Unleashing Potential for Empowering Internationalisation in Malaysian Higher Education at CALOHEA National Meeting at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

Igniting a new era of internationalisation in Malaysian Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), the CALOHEA National Meeting, this time, took centre stage at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Kuala Lumpur (UTMKL), on 12 – 13 June 2023. It was an inspiring gathering of 177 participants, including lecturers, university top management, governmental agencies, employers, and students. The meeting radiated an atmosphere of encouragement, aiming to propel the implementation of the CALOHEA Recognition Mechanisms (RMs) and foster a vibrant learning environment for the enhancement of Internationalisation efforts. Together, the project members and participants embarked on a journey to amplify the global impact of Malaysian HEIs.

The Meeting kicked off with opening remarks from Dr. Robert Wageneer, Director of the International Tuning Academy at the University of Groningen. He emphasised collaborating on a global endeavour to adapt to the ever-changing nature of education nowadays. Such an endeavour requires the reformation of the study programme to function in an international setting, serving as the ultimate goal of CALOHEA and this National Meeting, which is intended to showcase the insight of the project to the general public in Malaysian Higher Education. The remarks were coupled by the one of Prof. Ts. Dr. Abd Latif Saleh, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Kuala Lumpur (UTMKL). In his speech, he mentioned UTM’s contribution to the mission to produce forward-looking and advanced technology-based research graduates by launching the “enVision Moonshot” initiative. He also extended his appreciation towards CALOHEA and UTM’s involvement in the project to promote internationalisation in the ASEAN region and actualize UTM’s vision of being one of the prominent universities at the global level.

Dr. Robert Wagenaar, Director of the International Tuning Academy, University of Groningen

The first day of the meeting was filled with enthusiastic dialogue on RMs in course/program design to promote mobility and internationalisation in ASEAN HEIs. Diverse voices harmonised, bringing forth a symphony of ideas, experiences, and best practices. Lecturers, university leaders, and stakeholders engaged in spirited conversations, exchanging strategies to shape program and curriculum design. Centred at the heart of the dialogue was the Knowledge sharing session where CALOHEA coordinators and international delegates from the Project Consortium in each subject area (Civil Engineering, Teacher Education, and Medicine) were taking turns explaining, giving instruction on the systematic usage, as well as sharing the result and impact of each RMs after its implementation.

CALOHEA is focusing on the relations between “the mind and the heart” of the curriculum, said Assoc. Prof. Dr. Muhammed Saiful Bahri Yusoff, Coordinator of Medicine Subject Area Group of CALOHEA. Ensuring the “heart-to-heart” connection between universities by promoting transparency in program design through the usage of each RMs allows for more comparable learning outcomes, it opens up “the mind” to recognize and collaborate on any global endeavours towards mobility and internationalisation.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohammed Saiful Bahri Yusoff and Prof. Dr. Hamdan bin Said, CALOHEA Project Members

The dialogue also opens for speakers from various institutions involved in Malaysian Higher Education to share their views towards challenges and opportunities for Malaysian Higher Education from mobility and internationalisation. Prof. Ir. Dr. Khairul Salleh bin Mohamed Sahari, representative of the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA), has shared about MQA’s role in facilitating the recognition of qualifications. In his presentation, the mapping of Malaysian Qualifications & Quality Assurance Systems has been exemplified. The presentation was also coupled with the ones from representatives from Civil Engineering, Teacher Education, and the Medicine industry, as well as students experienced in student mobility programmes. Overall, the dialogue provided valuable insight towards the future of program design and internationalisation in Malaysian Higher Education.

Workshop on Recognition Mechanisms (Teacher Education Subject Area Group)

In conclusion, the CALOHEA National Meeting at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, shone a bright light on the boundless possibilities of internationalisation. Participants possessed the chance to explore the realms of innovation, critical thinking, and global perspectives, guiding our students toward remarkable achievements in the reformation of curriculum design for better learning outcomes. CALOHEA National Meeting, in this sense, became a catalyst, inspiring us to mould our curricula to meet international benchmarks. Through interactive workshops and presentations, we unlocked the secrets of aligning our programs and curricula with CALOHEA standards. In this spirit of unity and synergy, CALOHEA sowed the seeds of collaboration, fostering deep connections between stakeholders to elevate Malaysian Higher Education and make a lasting impact on the global stage.