Vice-Chancellor Zaini Ujang established strategic engagements with strong potential for productive ventures during his recent trip to Mekah and Madinah. This paves the way for UTM academics to share insights and meaningful experience with the Mayor of Madinah and officers of Madinah Municipality, as well as counterparts from both universities of Taibah and Ummul Qura in the holy land.
Photo: Dr Zaini (Middle) with Prof. Adnan Almasrua the Rector of Taibah University, (Right hand side)
During his visit on 4 November 2012 to Madinah, Zaini engaged in two major programmes with the Mayor of Madinah, His Excellency, Dr Khalid Taher and also the new Rector of Taibah University, Prof. Adnan Almasrua.
The meeting with the Mayor of Madinah was a rewarding and productive session, resulting in the Mayor proposing that UTM be the consultant for Madinah Municipality in four areas, namely:
- Landscape architecture planning (and implementation) to create Madinah city into a more beautiful and shady area
- Lighting / laser for night beautification
- Development of mobile applications for Madinah in terms of services, announcements, etc.
- Educational programmes for hujjaj on Arabic Language, Quranic recitation, Saudi society and culture, Islamic Personal Finance, etc.
In Taibah University, Datuk Zaini made a presentation on the topic “New Academia in Nurturing Entrepreneurial Spirit”. The two-hour session was attended by all Vice-Rectors and Deans of the university.
Specifically, Taibah will engage UTM as consultant to develop (a) Job Creation projects (b) Entrepreneurship components in their curriculum. On their part, Dr Saud Taher will head the Taibah University team. UTM is required to present the details of both proposals for the projects the latest by Feb 2013.
The UTM Deputy Vice- Chancellor of Development, Prof Wahid Omar has been assigned to lead the UTM team for this strategic engagement, together with Prof Baharudin Aris of the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL). This includes training 20 academic staff to deliver input on implementation of Job Creation projects and share insights on the use and implementation of Harvard Case Studies as a teaching and learning material, among others.
The top management of Taibah University, consisting of eight senior officials, has also decided to have a Top Management Retreat Program in Malaysia, probably at Putrajaya and UTM JB campus for a week. In addition to planning for 2013, they want to learn from our experience and best practices, especially in relation to the New Academia concept we are subscribing to, and UTM’s Job Creation programme and the Global Outreach Programme in particular.
As for the visit to Ummul Qura University (UQU) on 3 NOvember 29012 in Makkah, Datuk Zaini had a meeting with Prof Dr Bakri M Assas and his team, which resulted in fruitful and promising outcomes, with one of the days’ session receiving coverage in the media and reported in the Al-Madinah newspaper.
Photo: UTM Vice-Chancellor visit Prof. Dr. Bakri M Assas, the Rector of Ummul Qura University (UQU) in Makkah.
A few possibilities for strategic engagements between UQU and UTM were outlined to leverage on the understanding between the two universities, among others include:
- Exploring research partnership related to hajj, in particular on a new innovative framework for solid waste management, cleanliness and promotion of cleanliness among hujjaj before they arrive in Mekah;
- Exploring research partnership related to crowd management in railway stations, traffic control, movement of vehicles etc using GIS, logistic and mobility technology. This is in view of the fact that UTM has a program in logistic studies at the moment, which is an integrated program comprising GIS and remote sensing experts, simulation, traffic engineering, policy making, town planning etc.
- Embarking on “service learning” involving undergraduate students on various issues related to Mekah, hajj and umrah.
- Embarking on entrepreneurial and experiential learning to engage Muslim scholars, professors, professionals, entrepreneurs, and business people to position UQU as a platform of Muslim innovation. UTM will be able to provide partnership and support.
In order to plan and establish a deeper understanding of the partnership with UQU, it was proposed that Prof. Dr Bakri M Assas, the UQU Rector to visit UTM at a later convenient time, where further discussions can be arranged to design a partnership master plan for a 5-year partnership programme.