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The University Malaysia Sabah (UMS), in the picturesque Sepanggar Bay in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah is not only one of the most impressive universities in Malaysia; it is also one of its best, offering 124 academic study programs currently in 12 faculties and one Academy. It is also home to 24 centers, including the Preparatory Centre for Science and Technology, the Centre of Data and Information Management, and the Research Management Centre, as well as four prestigious institutes, including the Biotechnology Research Institute and the Borneo Institute for Indigenous Studies.
Established in 1994 as Malaysia's ninth public university, UMS has produced world-class professionals in a variety of fields by staying true to its vision of being an innovative university of global standing. In order to ensure this, UMS has been resolute in developing both modern infrastructures and a capable, well-managed, and well-supported faculty that can cultivate the younger generation of responsible and highly-skilled individuals.
It should come as no surprise that UMS is open to collaborations that would help it accomplish what it set out to do over two decades ago. And, in 2017, UMS found a truly world-class partner in Huawei, one of the undisputed leaders not only in smartphone manufacturing but in the entire realm of technology.
This partnership between two leaders in their respective fields—academe and tech—formally began on November 9, 2017, with signing a Memorandum of Understanding between UMS and Huawei at the third-annual Huawei Asia-Pacific Innovation Day in Kuala Lumpur. Gracing that affair as co-hosts were Malaysia's Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the Malaysia-China Business Council (MCBC), which bore witness to UMS and Huawei officially launched the smart campus initiative, alongside other industry-driven programs.
Less than a year later, on June 6, 2018, Huawei and UMS signed a Memorandum of Agreement to establish the Huawei Authorised Information and Network Academy (HAINA), or simply the Huawei ICT Academy. The Academy is part of Huawei's broader global initiative to cultivate ICT talents and support ICT skills development in another partner country, Malaysia. Equally important, it is aligned with UMS' Strategic Transformation towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0.
Through the Academy, Huawei and UMS deliver 22 Professional Certification Training to UMS students who enroll in the program. Educating them in the Academy are specially trained lecturers who have earned the distinction of being Huawei Certified Academy Instructors (HCAIs) for meeting the requirements set by the Academy. Among the courses available are core technologies to support Industry 4.0, notably telecommunications and networks, big data, IoT, cloud computing, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Since it was established in 2018, the Academy has produced over 450 UMS ICT graduates, who took part in the Huawei training courses, with most of them becoming either Huawei Certified ICT Associates (HCIAs) or Huawei Certified ICT Professionals (HCIPs) in fields such as routing and switching, cloud computing, big data, AI, cybersecurity and 5G. These graduates have entered the world of tech—as Network Engineers, IT engineers, DOC Engineers, Software Engineers, Network Product Engineer and so forth—and some have even received offers to work with either Huawei itself or with the company's various partners in Malaysia, in the rest of Asia Pacific and as far as the Middle East.
The entry of these new HCIAs and HCIPs into the professional world comes at a most opportune time as it coincides with the ongoing explosion of digital information that is being spurred on by the advancement of ICT technologies.
Granted, these advances are likely to result in the loss of some traditional jobs, but they will nonetheless open up plenty of opportunities for local ICT talents that can be counted on to unlock and accelerate the digital transformation.
Furthermore, over the better part of three years, Huawei and UMS have been unlocking potential ICT talent, with their strategic collaboration bridging skill gaps in the labour market and increasing graduates' employability. With that being said, it is safe to say that this partnership has been a rousing success. Even so, it is worth noting that it's still in its infancy in many ways, which means it has so much room for improvement and growth. It will only continue to improve moving forward, with both Huawei and UMS committed to helping young, aspiring professionals explore and learn about the latest ICT technologies—and with industry experts leading the way no less.
There is no denying that Malaysia is teeming with potential ICT talent to ensure a brighter ICT future for Malaysia. It is only waiting to be tapped and harnessed.
Huawei and UMS have been doing precisely that since 2018. They will continue to do it in the years ahead.