School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, UTM Skudai has successfully hosted the 3rd International Conference on Educational Studies (ICES) which was held from 19 to 20 October 2019 (Saturday – Sunday) at Doubletree by Hilton, Johor Bahru.  ICES is a biennial event which has been co-organised with different agencies since 2015.  For this year’s conference, it was co-organized by International Society for Educational Initiatives (ISEI), School of Education – Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (FSSH) and five universities from Indonesia namely Universitas Negeri Malang, Universitas Negeri Padang, Universitas Muhammadiyah Purwokerto, Universitas Muhammadiyah Makassar and Universitas Lambung Mangkurat.

The theme of this 3rd ICES conference was “Educational Initiatives in the ear of Industrial Revolution 4.0”.  This conference was officiated by Puan Sallina Hussain (Deputy Director, Learning Sector of Johor Department of Education).  Around 150 participants and delegates from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and other countries such as Afghanistan and Nigeria attended this conference.  There were 122 papers presented under various themes ranging from educational policies and issues to ethnicity, culture and psycho-linguistics.   All of the accepted papers presented in this conference were either in English or Malay.  The allowance of dual languages to be used in this conference made this conference unique as it acknowledges the diversity of language proficiency among the presenters and participants attending this conference.

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people standing and suit

Puan Sallina Hussain (middle) was flanked by the chairman of ISEI (left) Prof Dato’ Dr Mohamed Najib Abd Ghafar and the chair of School of Education, Assoc Prof Dr Azlina Mohd Kosnin (right). Assoc Prof Dr Abdul Rahim Hamdan (standing beside Assoc Prof Dr Azlina Mohd Kosnin) is the Deputy Chairman of ISEI (UPSI). Assoc Prof Dr Zainuddin Hassan is the director of ICES 2019 (standing beside Prof Dato Dr Mohamed Najib Abdul Ghafar)

In her officiating speech, Puan Sallina Hussain highlighted the aspiration of the Ministry of Education in nurturing excellence and resilient human capital who are able to achieve the requirements of Vision 2030 in line with Education National Philosophy based on Rukun Negara.  She also emphasized on the importance of enhancing students self-esteem especially students who in rural areas.  She gave example of *Pak Nil’s efforts to conduct workshops for students in rural areas to enhance students’ self-esteem.   In this regard, teachers were encouraged to continuously support students in enhancing their self-confidence and self-esteem.   She also reiterated that over the past few years, numerous seminars on a wide range of topics have been offered by universities and the Ministry of Education in Malaysia, mainly to equip teachers with pedagogical skills and current trends in educational practice of global education.  She hoped such seminars would be continued in the future.

There were four keynote speeches delivered in this conference.  The first keynote was delivered by Dr. H. Andi Sukri Syamsuri (Vice Rector, Universitas Muhamadiyah Makassar ).  In his keynote address, he highlighted some challenges of implementation of digital technology in classroom.  He noted that regardless of the challenges, teachers have to use digital technology as part of their teaching practice through blended learning which combines the use of face-to-face learning and online learning.

Image may contain: 1 person

Dr. H. Andi Sukri Syamsuri, Vice Rector of Universitas Muhamadiyah Makassar, Indonesia

The second keynote was delivered by Assistant Professor Dr Lilla Adulyasas (Dean, Faculty of Science, Technology and Agriculture, Yala Rajabhat University,Thailand).  She shared her research findings of the implementation of Van Hiele Phase Based Learning to scaffold students’ needs for learning geometry.  In her study, it was found that students’ level of geometric thinking after learning with tablet application was greater than learning without it.  Learning using tablet was found to enable students to achieve level 3 (i.e., abstraction thinking).  It was also found that students showed high level of positive attitude towards learning too.

Image may contain: 5 people, including Mahani Mokhtar and Noor Azean, people smiling, people standing

Assistant Professor Dr Lilla Adulyasas (in the middle) was flanked by the director of ICES 2019, Assoc Prof Dr Zainuddin Hassan (right side) and the director of Department of Fundamental Education (School of Education, FSSH), Assoc Prof Dr Mahani Mokhtar (left side) with other committee members of ICES, Dr Noor Azean Atan and a participant of ICES.

Assoc Prof Dr Azlina Mohd Kosnin (Chair of School of Education, FSSH) was the third keynote speaker.  Challenges of Industrial 4.0 on different spheres of human lives including education, the needs to equip ourselves as educators and students who are future generations with relevant skills and balancing the use of technology as a tool in our lives without losing human touch were some of the key points highlighted in her speech.  Among the skills that needed to survive the IR 4.0 are cognitive flexibility and negotiation skills.  Through collaboration, team work and communication with others in social environment, such skills like cognitive flexibility can be further enhanced with the help of digital tools available.

Image may contain: 1 person

Teachers must be willing to learn, relearn, update and upgrade their pedagogical knowledge and skills to prepare their students in facing the challenges of IR 4.0” said Assoc Prof Dr Azlina Mohd Kosnin

The final keynote speaker, Assoc Prof Dr Lokman Mohd Tahir (School of Education, FSSH) emphasized on the role of school leadership in enhancing student learning experiences within the context of Malaysian schools.  He highlighted the importance of school leaders in playing their role to encourage teachers to use digital content and technology in the classroom in facilitating students’ learning.  In this sense, school leadership plays important roles in ensuring the use of digital technology would be incorporated in teaching and learning activities at school.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and indoor

In the era of IR 4.0, leadership at school is moving toward e-leadership. E-leadership can be defined as the ability of an individual or a group of individuals to influence and guide followers or other members of an organization through virtual means” said Assoc Prof Dr Lokman Mohd Tahir

In short, ICES 2019 had played a significant role as a platform for social science academicians, researchers and students particularly in the field of education to showcase their recent work and findings that necessitate the exchange of ideas and knowledge on the latest trend and progress in education as well as development of networking among the participants.  As a knowledge-sharing platform for researchers, ICES 2019 is a laudable effort of International Society for Educational Initiatives (ISEI), School of Education and its co-organizers towards enhancing UTM status not only as the leading postgraduate research in technology but also its establishment with refutable reputation for innovative education and cutting-edge research.

In sha Allah International Society for Educational Initiatives (ISEI) and School of Education, FSSH and other co-organizers will organize the 4th ICES 2021 in two years time.

Prepared by: Dr Hadijah Jaffri, Assoc Prof Dr Sanitah Mohd Yusof and Dr Adjah Naqkiah Mazlan.

Credit to Encik Fuad Ahmad and Dr Noor Azean Atan for photos.

*Note: Pak Nil is a nickname which is fondly used by a Malaysian celebrity Aznil Hj Nawawi.