KUALA LUMPUR: The Higher Education Ministry (MOHE) will look into the establishment of a dedicated polytechnic for the country’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) programme, its minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir said.

Discussions on this were held with Polytechnic and Community College Education Department director-general Dr Mohd Zahari Ismail during their visit to the University of Tsukuba in Ibaraki, Japan, recently, he said.

The university is a leading research university in Japan with an AI research centre.

“We have reached an agreement to collaborate in the field of AI through the transfer and sharing of skilled personnel and relevant cutting-edge technology.

“Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM), representing the Malaysian Technical University Network (MTUN), along with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), which is developing an AI Studies Centre in Malaysia, will be involved in this collaboration,” he said in a statement today.

Zambry had accompanied Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on a seven-day working visit to Japan from Feb 17.

Zambry also said that Malaysia is the University of Tsukuba’s choice to open its branch at Universiti Malaya, which is expected to be operational in September.

“The opening of this campus will attract more foreign students to Malaysia, and the internationalisation of higher education processes like this will help boost the country’s economy. At the same time, the university has an Artificial Intelligence Research Centre (C-AIR) established seven years ago,” he said.

Separately, Zambry also suggested that all higher education institutions (IPT) consider formulating a ‘Social Implementation Education’ programme in the national higher education system, as practised by the National Institute of Technology, Tokyo College (Tokyo KOSEN).

He noted that this was because in KOSEN, students aged 15 and above are allowed to unleash their creativity, generating solutions for Japanese societal problems, thereby aiding the government in effectively addressing specific issues.

He said the five-year programme implemented by KOSEN is capable of producing graduates who are always in demand by major companies such as Panasonic, Sony and Honda.

“This matter will be discussed with the relevant parties to find the best modules for our students,” he said.

Zambry also said that a new collaboration will be formed between MOHE and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), focusing on funds from JICA in the field of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

“This provides an opportunity for MTUN universities and polytechnics to explore TVET areas more extensively,” he said.

Besides this, he said there is an agreement to explore collaboration in the fields of the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) between Tokyo University of Science and several local universities and polytechnics to be identified.

Zambry said MOHE will also encourage public and private higher education institutions to attract more Japanese students to pursue studies in Malaysia, adding that there are currently 1,262 Japanese students studying in Malaysia, and 849 Malaysian students in Japan.-Bernama

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