BANGI, 22 Aug 2008: Universities must play a greater role to help ensure that the voices from civil society and from different regions and cultures are heard, and that people can participate in a meaningful way, as the global transformations continue, the Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah said today.
He said that universities can take up roles of leadership and advocacy, using their credibility and social respect to build wider support for ideas and concepts that will take the country to the next level of social and technological development.
"Universities must lead the way in upholding the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level, and be leaders in espousing and engendering values such as freedom, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature and shared responsibility," he said in his keynote address at the 20th International Conference on Higher Education at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) here.
Raja Nazrin also called for substantial effort to re-engineer the universities into entities relevant to the changing times.
"The fundamental change we are actually witnessing in education is from provider-led to demand-led, moulding our future universities as organs of social function, in the broadest sense of the phrase," he said.
"To achieve any of these tasks, our universities must accept radical changes to their curricula and to their teaching methods, embracing cross-cultural studies and liberal concepts.
"They must encourage respect for the process of intellectual debate," he added.
The three-day conference which Malaysia is hosting for the first time is attended by 113 academicians worldwide. – Bernama