To do well in any subject you must be able to think correctly! Thinking skills are something you can learn and develop. Ask yourself questions as you read your textbooks and notes. Talk to other students whom you notice have good thinking skills. You can also sharpen your thinking skills by taking IQ tests available in books or the Internet, or playing games that require thinking such as word games.



Mapping Towards Becoming A Competitive University

Last update: 11/11/2008
By Nabilah Saleh

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) located near the Malaysian-Thai border, in Perlis, is little known to many.

Yet UniMAP has been an active proponent in mapping and executing strategic plans to emerge as an education institution of excellence.

Previously known as Kolej Universiti Kejuruteraan Utara Malaysia (KUKUM), UniMAP is the 17th higher institution of learning to be established from the 30 existing today.

Seven years has passed since it opened its doors to undergraduates and recently held its third convocation ceremony with 650 graduates receiving their scrolls.

UniMAP currently has about 5,000 undergraduates and 300 academic staff.

DISTRIBUTED CAMPUS

One thing that differentiates UniMAP from other public higher learning institutions, at least for now, is the absence of a permanent campus.

Nonetheless, the institution strives to provide the best academic programmes for its undergraduates.

According to UniMAP Vice-Chancellor Brigadier General Datuk Prof Dr Kamarudin Hussin, the campus premises are currently located in Kangar, Kubang Gajah and Jejawi.

However, the university is expected to see physical changes when the two new campuses in Pauh and Sungai Chuchuh are ready.

The 420 hectares Pauh campus will house the main administrative centre and faculties of the university while the Sungai Chuchuh campus is smaller, situated on 101.2 hectares land.

"Though the new campus too is not centralised, students still undergo learning sessions in one central building at both locations.

"Providing a permanent set up and learning facilities for the undergraduates remains the priority at the moment," says Prof Dr Kamarrudin.

Prof Dr Kamarruddin emphasises that UniMAP is committed in producing critical minded and self reliant graduates who will help fulfill the nation's development needs.

As a technical education centre, UniMAP's programmes are based on electronic engineering, computer and telecommunications, mechatronic, electrical systems, manufacturing processes, material science, bioprocess and environmental studies.

UniMAP's RM150 million teaching and learning facilities that include labs, engineering centres, semiconductor clean rooms, and many other state of the art facilities help in churning out highly competent graduates.

GRADUATES WELL RECEIVED

UniMAP's engineering programmes are tailored to produce competent and all rounded graduates. UniMAP's qualifications are well received in the employment market and the testimony to this is the institute's graduates securing employment in reputable companies and multinationals even before graduation.

Many of UniMAP's graduates today are employed by leading multinationals among others Intel, Spansion, Altera, Motorola Technology and Silterra.

"This achievement clearly demonstrates how far we have come. Obviously UniMAP's graduates are well received in the employment market which in turn also serves as a recognition for the courses offered by the institution," notes Prof Dr Kamarudin with great pride.

EMPHASIS ON PRACTICAL TRAINING

In general, all engineering programmes at UniMAP are laboratory intensive with the emphasis on hands-on training as well.

The courses offered are catered for the industrial needs with a good balance between theoretical (40 percent) and practical (60 percent) elements.

Though academic excellence remains the priority, the institution also emphasises on producing graduates who are not only knowledgeable in their respective fields but also people who are valuable to the society.

"Students not only undergo intensive training in their core subjects but also in soft skills that includes entrepreneurship and effective communication.

"For instance, through entrepreneurship skills training we build up their self confidence and this will certainly help them to meet new challenges and innovations," explains Prof Dr Kamarudin.

In benchmarking its innovative ability, UniMAP actively participates in engineering design competitions that also helps to boost its research capabilities.

UniMAP has won several international and local awards among others; the Best Invention & Innovation Award for Public Higher Learning Institutions, National Research and Innovation Competition 2008 and the special 'Humanitarian Award' at the INPEX 2008 Exposition in Pittsburgh, United States.

RESEARCH MISSION

According to Prof Dr Kamarudin, UniMAP strives to maintain the quality of its graduates. This is not only to ensure that they fulfill the job market needs but because some of them will be returning to their alma mater as teaching staff and researchers to impart their knowledge.

Though balancing the quality and undergraduate numbers is a delicate task, Prof Dr Kamarudin is highly optimistic that UniMAP can emerge as a highly regarded academic and research institution in the local and international scene.

UniMAP has also drawn up the 2008-2010 Strategic Planning blue print to stay ahead in the race for excellence.

The three virtues underscored in UniMAP's motto "Knowledge, Sincerity, Excellence" is the underlying principle of the institution's quest in achieving excellence.

-- BERNAMA