PUTRAJAYA: Many countries have expressed interest in forging cooperation with Malaysia in the field of higher education, according to Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir.

He said the matter was conveyed to him during bilateral meetings with representatives from those countries, including Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Japan, on the sidelines of the Education World Forum (EWF) in London recently.

“In my meeting with the Minister of Education and Science of Tajikistan, Nuriddin Said, he also expressed his desire to work with Malaysia to improve their education system.

“At the same time, we also agreed to continue our student exchange programme. Currently, there are more than 200 Tajikistani students in Malaysia,” he said in a statement today.

Zambry said his meeting with the Minister of Education of Azerbaijan, Emin Amrullayev, also touched on possible cooperation that can be formed between the two countries.

He said Azerbaijan really hoped to make Malaysia an education hub where they could send more students to pursue tertiary education.

“Azerbaijan is also in the effort to redevelop their higher education centre in Karabakh and they have expressed the hope that Malaysia could help and collaborate in this area,” he said.

Zambry also said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s recent visit to the three Central Asian countries has also opened up the gate for nearby countries to cooperate with Malaysia in various sectors based on the confidence and quality showcased by the Malaysian Government delegation.

“In my meeting with the Deputy Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, Akio Fujiwara, he also expressed the country’s willingness to share their experiences on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

“We also discussed efforts to reassess and redignify Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum through collaboration between Malaysian and Japanese institutions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Zambry said he also held a meeting with Microsoft representatives, which focused on the field of artificial intelligence (AI) as the launch of Malaysia’s AI Nexus has prompted Microsoft to continue to actively collaborate with Malaysia through the Ministry of Higher Education.

Furthermore, he said that educational cooperation between the United Kingdom and Malaysia continues to be strengthened through the UK-Malaysia University Consortium (UK-MUC) with various high-level programmes being planned.

“The EWF indeed brings together many ministers of education and higher education that enable partnership between countries to make education the main vehicle for the development of society and the country.

“Malaysia’s internationalisation of higher education is getting more and more attention from other countries and will continue to be strengthened,” he said.