Established in 2002, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) is a not-for-profit private university with two campuses across Malaysia. With the institution’s main objective to provide affordable quality education, UTAR is fully funded by the UTAR Education Foundation, which helps bridge the socioeconomic education divide.
UTAR is a university for the people, by the people that provides an enriching tertiary education experience for its more than 20,000 students both socially and academically. Currently, the university offers 129 academic programs from a wide range of disciplines contributing to academia with their research centres.
The university is currently ranked #201-250 in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022. In their efforts to achieve the university’s objectives to create graduates that can contribute to the country’s technological development, UTAR has partnered with many industry players. One beneficial partnership is the one they have nurtured with Huawei.
Bridging the Industry-Academic Gap
The world is currently undergoing a digital transformation with connectivity at its centre. Technology is predicted to continue developing at a swift pace in the next 100 years, but the sustainability of digital innovation is dependent upon the capabilities of ICT talents.
Presently, academic courses in most universities are developed to teach students the theories and operational principles of technology but have overlooked awareness and engagement within the industry. As the incubator of future technology talents, UTAR understands the need to bridge the industry-academic gap.
In 2018, UTAR began collaborating with Huawei on the Huawei Authorised Information and Network Academy (HAINA) program. The HAINA program authorises universities to provide Huawei certified training to its students.
The Value of Educating Educators
An essential part of the education process is the educators themselves. As a part of the HAINA program, teaching staff from UTAR were certified under the Huawei Certified ICT Associate (HCIA) program and Huawei Certified Academy Instructor (HCAI).
By certifying existing teaching staff from the university, Huawei gave them the ability to train talents that would become future ICT leaders. Certified trainers have the ability to prepare students following the trends of the ICT industry, exposing them to real-world challenges and opportunities to produce quality graduates.
The Education Impact
As a result of Huawei’s HAINA program, UTAR has integrated teaching materials from the HCIA-Routing and Switching program into their Data Communications and Networking course. This core course is delivered to students in the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Electronic and Communication Engineering programme under the Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science.
Traditionally, the course taught theories and fundamental principles with no hands-on exercises on network construction and configuration due to UTAR’s lack of access to network equipment. At the time, it was not an engaging subject for the students.
In 2019, Huawei’s HCIA teaching materials were embedded into the course, which included helpful PowerPoint slides and discussions of practical and real network scenarios during lectures. This gave students a better understanding of the teaching material and allowed for greater interactive participation.
Huawei’s network simulator, eNSP, became a great tool in the UTAR course. eNSP provided a platform for students to construct networks and configure devices. Topics within the subject were taught with hands-on sessions, which allowed students to see how protocols aided data exchange between devices, giving them a better understanding of the topic. Students of the course were exposed to the simulator for lectures, assignments, and a hands-on test during the semester. This allowed them to strengthen the network configuration skills and problem-solving skills required from engineers.
The Student Value
With the HAINA program, Huawei provides much more than the value of education taught within lecture halls. UTAR students are allowed to take their HCIA certification exam after the completion of their final university assessment. This opportunity is aided and sponsored by Huawei, providing a value-added on graduates’ resumes.
UTAR greatly appreciates the support and sponsorship from Huawei Technologies to help them produce graduates ready for the job market. The collaboration between UTAR and Huawei has greatly benefitted the university, its students and, on a grander scale, the ICT development in Malaysia.