A sustainable world, humanity and the future of the humankind are among the issues focused on by Universiti Sains Malaysia. Based on these over-arching principles, USM has been chosen by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education to implement the Accelerated Programme for Excellence (APEX) under its auspices. This was announced by the Minister, The Honourable Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin on 3rd September 2008.
Since inception in 1969, USM has undergone various phases of development, not only in graduating students to support the needs of the nation, but also more importantly, functioning as an impetus for the progress and nation-building. For the next 40 years, it is time to move to the next level in preparing the University for a more challenging and unique future.
Under the APEX proposal entitled, “Transforming Higher Education for a Sustainable Tomorrow”, USM has outlined its efforts in advocating the process of a sustainable development in ascertaining a more lasting future. In particular the survivality of the planet and humankind by ensuring the appropriate use of resources towards a greater understanding, respecting and even taking necessary steps to build a robust and balanced prosperous and sustainable future.
Emphasis is given “… to integrate sustainable development into the educational system so that future generations can be nurtured and imbued with the need to embrace ecological protection, conservation of resources and human development based on the virtues of equity, accessibility availability, affordability, appropriateness and in articulating a wholesome meaning of quality.”
In line with this, USM has executed a rebranding-cum-advocacy programme that would allow it to deepen and translate its main mission as “a pioneering university, transdisciplinary and research-intensive that empowers future talents and enables the bottom billions to transform their socioeconomic well-being.” This is in line with the vision of “Transforming Higher Education for a Sustainable Tomorrow.”
USM as an acknowledged Regional Centre of Excellence on Education for Sustainable Development by the United Nations University in Nagoya University, Japan, on 29th June 2005 has a lot to do. Notable examples include the campaigns on sustainability such as “The White Coffin” that has successfully rid the use of polystyrene, and present a model of how carry out similar activities, and be recognised nationally and internationally, the latest by Global University Netowork for Innovation (GUNI). So is the campaign to reduce the use of plastics in the campus that is now still on-going. The mobilisation of in-house expertise to develop the concept of an “eco-hub” by utilising available resources is yet an example of the success thus far, all performed by volunteers from the campus community.
USM would continue to lead in facing future challenges by advocating seven thrust areas as a a basis to shape the nation’s first APEX university. The seven areas are its concern about: The Future, Uniqueness, Sustainability, Humanity, Universality, Change and Sacrifice as expressed by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, during the 2009 Annual Address entitled “Universiti APEX : Satu tuntutan, Satu Pengorbanan” (APEX university: A Quest, A Sacrifice.)
This means, USM is fully to implement a future that is sustainable by utilising higher education as the platform to reach out towards humankind as a whole while extending firm support to major international goals such as the Millennium Development Goals, Education for All, Education for Sustainable Development and any other agenda in the future. In so doing, USM opted to venture forward based on the “Blue Ocean Strategy”, which requires a unique and innovative way of thinking, taking actions and setting goals other than the norms. To be sure, establishing sustainability and humanity as the core ideals present a new metaphor that USM is keen to work on in ascertaining the survivality of the planet to be inherited by future generations. In short, this what APEX is about for USM