Photo courtesy Francisco Marmolejo‏ (Twitter)

KUALA LUMPUR: The World Bank has praised Malaysia’s higher education reforms, which are on track in facing the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or known as Industry 4.0.

World Bank tertiary education co-ordinator, Francisco Marmolejo said Malaysia is staying ahead in its preparation to Industry 4.0, and amongst of several countries which study impacts of the revolution.

“It is encouraging to see Malaysia being one step ahead of this effort and is seriously analysing the impact that Industry 4.0 will have in the future of higher education,” he said when met at the launching of the Fourth Industrial Revolution Seminar here, recently.

Marmolejo, who is also World Bank’s lead tertiary education specialist, lauded the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education), describing it as highly relevant as it considered the future needs of the job market.

The framework’s narrative , he said, was not only needed for the future, but also today.

“We require higher education institutions to be much more flexible and ready to anticipate the future. By 2050, all the current knowledge will only represent one per cent of what students will have in front of them when they are exposed to the teaching and learning process,” he said.

The Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education) outlines 10 Shifts that will spur continued excellence in the higher education system.

Amongst the goals raised is that the nation needs to move from academia operating in isolation, to the quadruple helix of academia, industry, government and local communities coming together in partnership for the incubation, development and commercialisation of ideas.

Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said it was important for universities to be well prepared in a bid to produce graduates who met the new requirements for new types of jobs.

Speaking at the same press conference, he said the time was ripe to build the right kind of knowledge, skills and capabilities for Industry 4.0.

“Conventional jobs as we know now are doctors, engineers, accountants and lawyers. But, there are now things like zumba instructors and cloud specialist.

“We have to be mindful that there are more jobs out there with the latest technology. We cannot be following the old style anymore,” he said.

Idris said higher education has to remain relevant to Malaysians and the world in time to breach the frontiers towards Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 is the latest wave of industrial revolution, which is expected to rise from the latest technological innovations including AI, driverless cars and 3D printing.

While previous revolutions have created more jobs opportunities for humankind, the present revolution has had the opposite effect, with more jobs being lost to automation and robotics.

The first industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries was driven by the advent of steam power. Electricity, planes and the internal combustion engine helped fuel the second industrial revolution of the late 19th century.

The rise of computers and technology was responsible for the third industrial revolution that began in the 1960s but ramped up in the early 1990s.