Mustapa wants stronger link between industry and varsities

3/21/2010 — The Star

International Trade and Industries Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamad is not satisfied with the cooperation between industry and universities.
He said the “loose connection” between both had resulted in Malaysia being unable to take full advantage of the existing expertise to catapult the country to a higher plane especially in the entrepreneurial sector.
“A relationship between the industries and the universities does exist but they do not complement each other in various fields; there is still room for improvement because I have received complaints from universities lamenting the difficulty of getting their students placements for practical training.
“My ministry is still looking for the right approach to solve this problem; one where the industries would take in these students as part of nation building rather than regard them as a burden,” Mustapa said in his speech before launching the East Coast Economic Region (Ecer) Entrepreneurial Convention 2010 at a Kelantan Trade Centre here Sunday.
Among those present were Ecer Development Council chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Issac John, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) Vice-Chancellor Datuk Zainal Mohamed and Ecer/Ministry of Higher Learning/UMK secretariat chairman Prof Dr Ibrahim Che Omar.
Mustapa also said one of the steps to strengthen the relationship between the two entities was to come up with mandatory policies to compel industries to forge a better relationship with universities
“However, such policies need the support of the corporate sector.
“I will be holding discussions with the industry captains soon to thrash out this matter,” he added.
He said although many industries had taken in student apprentices they were limited in number.
“The industries cannot complement the large number of student apprentices and I hope this convention could find a solution,” he added.
He said practical training would make the students more independent and expand their thinking so that do not only look for employment in the civil service.