07 November 2007

Zawawi to head apex varsity panel

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Universiti Malaysia Sarawak vice-chancellor Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Zawawi Ismail has been named chairman of the committee looking into the criteria for the selection of apex universities.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said the committee should be able to begin work later this month.

“We are in the process of selecting more committee members as we now have 12 but want 20 in total,” he told reporters yesterday after opening the two-day Global Higher Education Forum 2007.

Mustapa said he hoped the committee would be able to complete its work within a year.

“Hopefully, we can then announce the names of one or two apex universities,” he said.

When launching the National Higher Education Strategic Plan and National Higher Education Action Plan 2006-2010 in August, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the country would select one or two apex universities, which would be granted more autonomy and resources to create an environment that would attract the best students and faculty.

In his speech, Mustapa said it was hoped that by bringing a university into the ranks of world-class institutions, all Malaysians would have a renewed passion to venture into new frontiers of performance and leadership.

More than 350 participants from around the world, including 14 university presidents, are attending the forum, organised by the ministry, Universiti Sains Malaysia, the National Higher Education Research Institute and the International Association of Universities.

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