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Universiti Malaya (UM), Malaysia’s oldest university, originally founded in Singapore as the King Edward VII College of Medicine on the 28th of September 1905. King Edward VII College of Medicine then merged with Raffles College on the 8th of October 1949, thus birthing what is now UM, which is at the moment the top academic institutions in Malaysia and among the best in all of Asia and the rest of the world.
This prestigious university is guided by its quality policy of conducting teaching and learning, carrying out research, providing world-class services and enhancing knowledge through continuous improvement efforts. True to this policy, UM routinely forges partnerships with various institutions from those in the academe and across diverse industries. And among its most notable partners so far is Huawei, which is helping UM to advance the teaching and learning experience of Information and Communication Technologies several notches up in order to produce IT-ready professionals who can be change-makers.
The Huawei ICT Academy was established in partnership with Universiti Malayain late 2018, marking the start of the collaboration between one of the top universities and one of the leading tech companies in the world. It has undoubtedly been a resounding success, with Huawei and UM producing numerous ICT talents who are now plying their trade not only in Malaysia but in other countries as well.
Under this collaboration, Huawei is, among other things, empowering members of the UM teaching faculty with digital know-how so that they, themselves, can facilitate its eventual transfer to students interested in technology. This is made possible through certifications offered by Huawei to UM academicians who want to pursue tech-centric upskilling and reskilling.
Several university teaching faculties are certified as Huawei Certified Academy Instructors (HCAI) for Huawei Certified ICT Associate (HCIA) in Routing and Switching (R&S) and Cloud Computing. The certified HCAI among the UM academicians allow them to train the students in these two ICT professional certificates by Huawei.
What this means is that Huawei, through the HCAI and HCIA, is equipping the UM faculties with the expertise that will enable them to train their students and transform these young men and women into ICT-ready professionals. In effect, the University can choose to continue this initiative of offering ICT training to students but with most of the heavy lifting shouldered by UM and Huawei providing assistance only on an as-needed basis. This assistance, in turn, can range anywhere from further training of faculty staff to hardware and software, and much more.
The UM-Huawei collaboration will no doubt be highly beneficial for the UM faculty members, who are themselves professionals in the academe. With the HCAI and HCIA, they are able to expand their knowledge base to include some of the skills that are most in-demand in today’s digitally transforming times and share them with the biggest beneficiaries of this collaboration: The UM students.
Students with an electrical engineering background, in particular, are sure to benefit from this UM-Huawei partnership, if they choose to take advantage of it, as the basic content of the HCIA (R&S) is now part of an elective being offered to final year students. In this elective, HUAWEI representatives will be invited to give talks that will provide students with insights into the latest technologies and innovations in the field of data communication.
These talks, which students outside the elective can attend if they wish to do so, will offer participants an inside look at the professional lives of network engineers and administrators, from what they do, to what they need to deal with on a day-to-day basis, to what exactly the profession offers and to the facilities involved—including those that one would typically see in a Huawei-affiliated business.
Additionally, students who have completed the semester’s final exams are invited to sit for the certification exams, which are open to all UM students. Mostly, though, students from the Electrical Engineering Department and the Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology are the ones who take advantage of this opportunity, no doubt due to the nature of the subject. As of posting, 148 students have already completed the course, with 50 successfully passing the HCIA (R&S) certification exams.
To familiarise the students with the Huawei brand and its products, the company also partakes actively in the students’ activities, which include but are not limited to corporate social responsibility events, sponsorships and Industrial Talks or Career Days. Moreover, selected students were given the opportunity to participate in the Huawei ICT competition in 2019 and 2020, where they performed admirably and were consequently exposed to tech at the global level to boost their confidence and morale.
Others, meanwhile, were invited to join the Huawei Seeds for the Future and ICT Academy Workshop, a platform that ultimately exposed UM students to the field of ICT and the vast opportunities available in it. In addition, some students from the Faculty of Engineering received formal training at the Huawei HQ in Shenzhen, China—a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that not only equipped the students with technical skills but also developed their confidence in their own capabilities as potential difference-makers in the world of tech.
UM has, on more than one occasion, expressed its gratitude to Huawei for all its help and the support it has given to the students and teachers. But this partnership is not ending anytime soon. In fact, plans are underway to extend it for many more years and potentially expand upon it. Already, UM is planning to embed the HCIA Cloud syllabus into one of the elective courses at the Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology. As such, students will soon be able to expand their knowledge with an additional certification in HCIA (Cloud Computing).
With the success of the UM-Huawei collaboration, the hope now is for the latter to look into and forge similar partnerships with other academic institutions. And if these partnerships will be as successful as the one UM and Huawei are cultivating at the moment, Malaysia’s Digital Economy Blueprint will surely get a big boost from a potential influx of tech-savvy, digitally skilled professionals trained by no less than Huawei.