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National University of Malaysia Proposes More Cooperation During Visit to NTNU
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A delegation led by National University of Malaysia (UKM) Vice Chancellor Prof. Dato’ Gs. Ts. Dr. Mohd Ekhwan Hj. Toriman visited National Taiwan Normal University on 20 October. The two partner institutions had signed an MOU and student exchange agreement between UKM’s Institute of Visual Infomatics and NTNU’s Institute of Electro-Optical Engineering. However, Vice Chancellor Toriman expressed great interest in more areas for future collaboration.

National University of Malaysia was founded in 1971. Recognized by the Malaysian government in 2006 as a national research university, UKM has a similar administrative structure as the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge in England in overseeing its 14 faculties. Besides its main campus in Bangi hosting around 31,000 students, among which 5,700 have international status, UKM also has two respective campuses in Qatar and Indonesia. It is the only university in Malaysia to have two hospitals as well as five living labs set amidst different natural landscapes and accessible to researchers and general visitors alike.

The 10-member delegation were warmly greeted by NTNU President Cheng-Chih Wu, Executive Vice President Frank Yung-Hsiang Ying, Vice President for International Affairs Yi-De Liu, Vice President for Research and Development Ying-Shao Hsu, and Deputy Director Cheng-Hung Lin of the Graduate Institute of AI Interdisciplinary Applied Technology. President Wu expressed NTNU’s desire to further internationalize and strengthen its partnerships in Southeast Asia. Malaysia is already among the largest proportions of home countries among the international student population at NTNU. Sing-Yee Tan, a Malaysian national working full-time in the Office of International Affairs at NTNU, helped to facilitate this visit in both Malay and English.

In response to UKM Vice-Chancellor Toriman’s recognition of NTNU’s impressive global ranking in the social sciences, NTNU President Wu shared that NTNU also excels in biochemistry, engineering such as AI and robotics. In fact, NTNU recently held the official opening ceremony for its College of Industry-Academia Innovation, which was attended by 12 partner tech corporations and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen, earlier this month. UKM suggested a particular area for collaboration, which was sparked by a previous meeting with Dr. Nicole Yen-Yi Lee, Director General of the Department of International and Cross-strait Education for Taiwan’s Ministry of Education. Dr. Lee had mentioned that both UKM and NTNU are pioneers in national education testing, such as developing English standardized testing alternatives to TOEFL. Therefore, UKM would like to collaborate with NTNU on fine-tuning the partner institutions’ respective international English programs and English proficiency tests.

UKM’s Intensive English Program (IEP) and Higher Education English Test (HEET) are already recognized by several British universities and Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Recently, a Malay “HEET Measure Council” has been established in China and UKM proposes that a similar council can be set up in Taiwan. Meanwhile, NTNU’s expertise in bilingual program development extends beyond English to the field of Chinese as a foreign language.

Through this meeting between National University of Malaysia and representatives of National Taiwan Normal University, there appears to be a great deal potential for cooperation as well in music and the performing arts, management, and other social sciences through 3+1 dual degrees or internships. NTNU President Wu suggested that a list of collaboration subjects and dual degree possibilities be compiled for both universities to continue in further detailed discussions.

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