PENANG, 31 July 2012 - Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) is urged to exploit knowledge based on Local Wisdom to create research with transformative impact so that they can meet the three main concerns.
Higher Education Minister, Dato' Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said that the concerns include determining how best to protect the knowledge from complete loss, assign scientific and scholarly values to the knowledge and see how that knowledge is able to support science and technological innovation.
He said the three strategies are important for USM’s teaching and research agenda to strengthen its position as a university that is entrusted to translate the success of the Accelerated Programme for Excellence (APEX).
“APEX is a national agenda and therefore USM approach to achieve it should be transformative. Exploration of this knowledge should be able to move what is called the Frontiers of Knowledge.
“If the discovery of knowledge based on Local Wisdom allows us to find new solutions in science, engineering, technology, medicine and modern economy, the impact would amaze the global scientific community,” he said.
He was speaking at the launch of the Local Wisdom Secretariat and USM Global Fellowship here yesterday.
Also present were the Department of Higher Education Deputy Director, Dr. Morshidi Sirat, USM Board of Governors Chairman, Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Zulkefli A. Hassan and USM Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Dato' Omar Osman.
Mohamed Khaled also said that local wisdom is knowledge based on actual experience, practiced for a very long time and is based on local culture.
“It is a community practice that is slowly dying and increasingly forgotten by us, for example, there were no mosquito repellants so how did people of the past solve this problem, this knowledge has been lost and must be rediscovered,” he said.
He said the local wisdom is also a treasure of a nation that reflects the true identity of the strength of tradition and spirit of a great race.
In the meantime, Omar said the university has a research grant that will conduct research on Local Wisdom for four years, involving about 40 to 50 lecturers from various institutions of higher education.
He added that among those involved are Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) and the Sultan Idris University of Education (UPSI).
“USM also aims to develop Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) students with publications, besides establishing a laboratory that can be used and become a reference centre for local residents and others.
Besides commenting on the launch of the USM Global Fellowship, Mohamed Khaled said it is a prestigious incentive that is competitive to attract quality graduate candidates to pursue a doctorate degree (PhD) in a full-time research mode.
He said that USM initiative is the right and progressive step forward, and able to strengthen the country and USM brands globally.
“We cannot escape from the fact that there is competition for quality graduate students from within and outside the country because the best talents require incentives and those who have talent have more choices,” he said.
He added that the best competitive financing scheme needs to be created because our university has always been the preferred choice for high quality graduates who can contribute to quality research and publications.