KUCHING – The path to an internationally recognized Australian degree remains open to i-CATS University College (i-CATS UC) diploma graduates following the renewal of an articulation agreement between the university college and Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus, recently.
The signing of the articulation agreement was presided by Yayasan Sarawak Director Tuan Haji Mersal Bin Abang Rosli who also sits on the board of Swinburne Sarawak.
“I hope that more graduates from i-CATS UC will transition into Swinburne’s undergraduate programmes with credit exemption. In this respect, I urge both institutions to promote the pathway so that more Sarawakians will have access to high quality education,” he said.
Haji Mersal lauded Swinburne Sarawak and i-CATS UC for working together. “This is the only way for private and public universities to survive,” he said, adding that collaboration also takes place in the business sector especially during the current pandemic.
He pointed that while knowledge was important, “Today, universities cannot depend on training students with academic knowledge. It has to be complemented with skills and technology. We now have six Centexs (Centre of Technical Excellence Sarawak) and that’s where we can integrate academic knowledge and training skills.”
This, he added, could be complemented by the Sarawak Skills Development Centre which was established as part of the Sarawak Government agenda.
“The whole set up is ideal for any university to survive in today’s world. We not only equip students with research and academic knowledge but also with skills,” Haji Mersal said, adding that graduates will be more attractive to employers as a result.
For this to happen, he said the five universities under the Yayasan Sarawak umbrella will have to work with technical colleges.
“The Sarawak Government through the Chief Minister has directed that all institutions of higher learning come under one umbrella so that they can be coordinated by Yayasan Sarawak.
“We will not compete with one another but complement each other based on everybody’s strength.”
Swinburne Sarawak Pro Vice-Chancellor and CEO Ir Professor Lau Hieng Ho said with the renewed articulation arrangement, i-CATS diploma graduates could continue to enrol into the university’s business, design, media and communication, ICT, computer science and engineering degree programmes with a credit exemption.
“They could complete their degrees within one-and-a-half to three years, and those who meet the criteria will also be eligible for our scholarships,” he added.
“The partnership has been a beneficial one for both institutions. We are therefore excited to embark on the next chapter with i-CATS UC to jointly provide higher education opportunities to develop the human resource Sarawak needs.
“Swinburne’s 2025 Vision is to bring people and technology together to build a better world, where our people will be driven by a shared sense of purpose to create tomorrow’s technology and the human talent required for a digital, tech-rich future,” Professor Lau added.
i-CATS UC Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Shahren Ahmad Zaidi Adruce said various initiatives for human capital development were implemented by his institution since the launching of i-CATS as a university college and the appointment of the Chief Minister of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri (Dr) Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg as its first chancellor, last year.
“i-CATS UC is in the midst of developing a range of bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate/PhD programmes to support Sarawak’s key economic sectors and main engines of growth,” he said, adding that the Sarawak Government’s allocation of a piece of land for its new campus will contribute to the transformation of Sarawak’s educational landscape.
“We are also in the midst of transforming the teaching and learning ecosystem. An important part of our ongoing transformation will be the benchmarking of our programmes against other national and international universities. This will enable us to raise the bar in our quest to transform the vibrant canvas of higher education and industry-relevant research initiatives,” Professor Dr Shahren said.
He added that i-CATS UC prides itself in the preparation of students for the world of work and the high employment rate of its graduates is testament to the quality of education it offers.