UTAR and Huawei’s Efforts to Create Industry Ready Talents
Established in 2002, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) is a not-for-profit private university owned by the UTAR Education Foundation. The university has two campuses in Malaysia which provides affordable quality education and contributes to the human resource development of the nation to help bridge the socioeconomic education divide.
UTAR is a university for the people, by the people that provides an enriching tertiary educational experience to more than 20,000 students both socially and academically. Currently, the university offers 129 academic programmes from a wide range of disciplines that combines academic learning with research initiatives through its 36 research centres.
The university is currently ranked #201-250 in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022. UTAR aims to educate and train graduates to be technology savvy so that they can contribute to the nation’s technological development. To achieve this, UTAR has partnered with many significant industry players and a beneficial partnership is the one with Huawei.
The world is currently undergoing a digital transformation with connectivity at its centre. Technology is predicted to continue developing at a swift pace in the next 100 years, but the sustainability of digital innovation is dependent upon the capabilities of ICT talents.
Presently, academic courses in most universities are developed to teach students the theories and operational principles of technology but have overlooked awareness and engagement within the industry. As the incubator of future technology talents, UTAR understands the need to bridge the industry-academic gap.
In 2018, UTAR began collaborating with Huawei on the Huawei ICT Academy programme. The Huawei ICT Academy programme authorises universities to provide Huawei certified training programmes to its students.
An essential part of the education process is the educators themselves. As a part of the Huawei ICT Academy programme, teaching staff from UTAR were certified under the Huawei Certified ICT Associate (HCIA) programme and Huawei Certified Academy Instructor (HCAI).
By certifying existing teaching staff from the university, Huawei gave them the ability to train talents that would become future ICT leaders. Certified trainers have the ability to prepare students that fulfils the needs and in line with the trends of the ICT industry, exposing them to real-world challenges and opportunities to produce quality graduates.
As a result of Huawei’s Huawei ICT Academy programme, UTAR has integrated teaching materials from the HCIA-Routing and Switching programme into their Data Communications and Networking course. This core course is delivered to students in the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Electronic and Communication Engineering programme under the UTAR Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science.
Traditionally, the course taught theories and fundamental principles with no hands-on exercises on network construction and configuration due to the lack of access to network equipment on campus. At that time, it was not an engaging subject for the students.
In 2019, Huawei’s HCIA teaching materials were embedded into the course, which included helpful PowerPoint slides and discussions of practical and real network scenarios during lectures. This gave students a better understanding of the teaching material and allowed for greater interactive participation.
Huawei’s network simulator, eNSP, became a great tool in the UTAR course. eNSP provided a platform for students to construct networks and configure devices. Topics within the subject were taught with hands-on sessions, which allowed students to see how protocols aided data exchange between devices, giving them a better understanding of the topic. Students of the course were exposed to the simulator for lectures, assignments, and a hands-on test during the semester. This allowed them to strengthen the network configuration skills and problem-solving skills required from engineers.
With the Huawei ICT Academy programme, Huawei provides much more than the value of education taught within lecture halls. UTAR students are allowed to take their HCIA certification exam after the completion of their final university assessment. This opportunity is aided and sponsored by Huawei, providing value-adding to graduates’ resumes.
UTAR greatly appreciates the support and sponsorship from Huawei Technologies to help them produce graduates ready for the job market. The collaboration between UTAR and Huawei has greatly benefitted the university, its students and, on a grander scale, the ICT development in Malaysia.