PETALING JAYA: Professor Dr. Abtar Darshan Singh of the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) has been appointed to the prestigious position of the UNESCO Chair on Harnessing Innovations in Technology to Support Teachers & Quality Learning.

Abtar, who is currently Professor of Innovative Digital Learning & Director of the Digital Learning Hub at APU, thus becomes the first academic in a Malaysian private university to be appointed to such a position for a four-year term.

As the UNESCO Chair, Abtar will drive research, training and knowledge-sharing initiatives on harnessing innovations in technology to support teachers and quality in teaching and learning in Malaysia as well as developing economies in Asia, Africa and other parts of the world. This also includes equipping teachers and professionals in education with state-of-the-art knowledge and tools to enhance hybrid learning, which has become increasingly important in the post-pandemic learning context.

APU CEO, Datuk Parmjit Singh said, “We are honoured and delighted with Prof. Dr. Abtar’s appointment to the UNESCO Chair.

“It is a tremendous recognition of the ability not only of APU by a premier UN agency but also of our tertiary institutions to promote technological innovations that could strengthen the quality of our teaching profession, be it in the public or private sectors”.

“Technology, innovation, and creativity form the heart of APU’s education philosophy. The appointment of Prof. Dr. Abtar as the Chairholder will further catalyse our efforts to produce graduates who intuitively embrace technological innovations and help make a difference to the diverse international communities they represent,” said Parmjit.

Speaking of her appointment, Prof. Dr. Abtar said that she is humbled by the appointment and wishes to thank UNESCO for their trust and confidence in me and APU.

“Together with our partner organisations, we will work very hard to promote innovations in technologies including AI to help enhance the quality of teaching and learning among teachers, educators and curriculum developers in Malaysia and the region,“ she said.

A key objective of the UNESCO Chair is to foster collaboration among stakeholders in education and leverage technological innovations to promote inclusive education for everyone including girls and children. It is an integral part of UNESCO’s wider Medium-Term Strategy and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to leverage education programmes to reduce poverty.

The UNESCO Chair will also serve as a research and innovation hub to capitalize on disruptive technologies in the areas of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and Big Data & Analytics to promote inclusive and equitable education for people in developing economies.

Launched in 1992, the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme involves over 850 institutions in 117 countries with the vision to advance an integrated system of research, training and activities in diverse fields by building university networks and encouraging inter-university cooperation through the transfer of knowledge and expert.

Prof Abtar has more than three decades of experience in the education field. A former Fulbright scholar, she has been closely involved in the research, teaching and development of technological innovations in higher education in Malaysia and abroad.

She was the winner of the coveted International Competition on Innovative University Practices in ICT in Education, a competition organized by the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE) in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2015.

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