Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) have reached another milestone when it inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Safat Academy established under GIAD Industrial Group which is an approved institution by the Sudan Ministry of Higher Education based in Khartoum, Sudan. The parties agreed to collaborate in the academic programs of Master of Science (Engineering Business Management) and Engineering Doctorate (Engineering Business Management) offered by UTM Razak Faculty of Technology and Informatics (RFTI).

The MoA was signed by UTM Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Wahid Omar and Safat Academy general manager Eng Ahmed Mousa Eissa Soliman, in the presence of His Excellency Hamza Omer Hassan Ahmed, Ambassador of Sudan in Kuala Lumpur.

Generally, industry–university collaborations have a long tradition in several countries worldwide and universities play a crucial role in achieving economic growth in today’s knowledge-based societies. Apart from universities’ traditional core missions of research and teaching, international collaboration with Sudan’s Safat Academy has strengthened the existing mutual relationship between UTM RFTI and Safat Academy specifically, and between Malaysia and Sudan,generally.

Sudan has a long established collaboration with Razak Faculty of Technology and Informatics. Sudan’s involvement with UTM is undeniable where a large number of international students from Sudan can be seen from RFTI postgraduate course and research such as engineering doctorate and master’s program. Today’s signing of agreement is an example of UTM-Sudan collaboration between UTM RFTI and Sudan’s Safat Academy in the development of Transnational Education (TNE).

In his speech, Prof Datuk Dr Wahid Omar said this relationship will represent “Knowledge Transfer” between Malaysia and Sudan. This will enhance the human capital development for the people of Sudan. These two programs (MEBM and EngDoc) will be the landmark programs for Safat Academy in the journey to become a full-fledged university. It will also open opportunities for students from inside Sudan and surrounding region in north-east Africa to be alumni of UTM Global family.

He said this partnering is for 15 years of Knowledge Transfer Initiative in Khartoum. For the first 5 years, staff from UTM RFTI will solely deliver the modules. For the next consecutive 5 years, shared teaching will be undertaken. In the last 5 years, Safat Academy lecturers would be able to deliver the modules especially since many Sudanese would have graduated their EngDoc and PhD with UTM. All the while, Quality Assurance will be maintained by UTM since it is still a UTM postgraduate degrees.

He said the first batch of 18 MEBM students and 11 EngDoc students have already attended their modules in Safat Academy location, adjacent to Khartoum Airport.  A second batch of students are now applying and hopefully, many will register for the new session of 2019/2020. A joint-inter organisation committee chaired by the Dean of Razak Faculty of Technology and Informatics is already formed to deliberate all policies, initiatives, financial and operational issues.

This collaboration between UTM and Safat Academy, Sudan is aligned with the nation’s expectations and initiatives that demand university programmes to be more relevant to industry needs, to be globally recognised, as well as innovative and competitive. This collaboration reflects an exemplary practice of international industry and university collaboration in the Malaysian Higher Education context.