Themed “Higher Education 4.0: Knowledge, Industry and Humanity”, the 2018 mandate from Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh is centred on embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) as part of the call to revamp the Malaysian higher education system.

While last year’s mandate unveiled the ministry’s plan on redesigning higher education, this year witnessed on initiatives to ensure all higher education institutions will be relevant and remain competitive in the dawning of Industry 4.0.

And Idris stressed to realise this, first, the process of teaching and learning has to be changed. Under Learning and Teaching 4.0, there are four aspects which should be put into paramount.

First, the learning spaces should be redesigned. (eg : lecturer halls with multi-tiered collaborative tables and the use of smart board)

Second, different kinds of pedagodies are needed, which are heutagogy (self-determined learning), paragogy (peer-oriented learning) and cybergogy (virtual-based learning).

Third, curriculum had to be fluid and organic. Idris announced that as of 2018, up to 30 per cent of all university programmes will adopt this concept, enabling them to respond to innovations and new areas of knowledge without being bound by traditional rigid curriculum practices.

And fourth, all of the aforementioned should incorporate the latest learning and teaching technologies.

Idris also urged for lessons to integrate ‘learning without lectures’ concept, of which classes need not be conducted through lectures.

Another concept, called ‘evaluation without examinations’, highlights on how assessments need not be based solely on exams.

There should be lesser worries on unemployment issues as Idris said there would be new types of jobs created under the TVET 4.0 framework. The framework will look at new industries and how to prepare students for the changes brought by Industry 4.0.

Another move is to address the challenges of Industry 4.0, which is to have the industry and the academia act as one to fulfil industry and graduate needs. This could be continued with exisiting initiatives introduced by the ministry, such as 2u2i and CEO@Faculty programs.

And last but not least, based on all the elements presented in the mandate, Idris explained on how the idea of merging academia and industry to benefit humanity in the long run. The human element, he said, must go along with the technical tools brought about by Industry 4.0.