The Internationalisation of Universiti Putra Malaysia

24/12/2021 02:27 PM
Opinions on topical issues from thought leaders, columnists and editors.
Oleh :
Prof. Dr. Mohd Roslan Sulaiman

Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has come a long way since its inception as the School of Agriculture in 1931. As an alumnus of UPM myself, I have seen it grow and expand in ways that would certainly make any alumni proud to call this institution their alma mater.

Ranked 143 in the 2022 QS World University Ranking and 27 in the Asian University Ranking, UPM owes much of the quality education it offers to various internationalisation efforts.

Internationalisation is a sustainable means for providing quality education. This effort works well through strategic collaborations forged with overseas institutions.

Evident through teaching and learning activities, research and innovation projects, publications and more, UPM continues to evolve into an institution of international repute. UPM currently has 198 international collaborators from across the world including those in North America and Europe.

The restriction of physical movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic did not hinder its internationalisation efforts. Activities that were once conducted in a physical environment were creatively converted into online mode.

This includes the Virtual Mobility Programme Incentive, Virtual Study Visit and Putra Experience, and the active participation in virtual international consortiums with Erasmus+, University Alliance in Talent Education Development (UAiTED), the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT), ASEAN University Network (AUN) and Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech).

Intensified internationalisation has also resulted in an increasing number of students visiting UPM from overseas institutions through our mobility programmes such as the semester exchange, internships, research attachments and visits.

In these programmes, students expand their worldview, skills and knowledge through first-hand experiences at UPM. With 198 exchange partnerships across 40 countries, UPM is always looking forward to expanding its student mobility portfolio.

UPM is also open to hosting visiting lecturers on campus through a staff mobility programme. This effort is known to sustainably boost academic development, quality research and innovation as well as expertise in consultancy work.

In addition, there are tailor-made programmes offered with emphasis on skill development in areas of leadership, communication, entrepreneurship and sports training for professionals from all over the world.

Echoing Malaysia’s support for the fulfilment of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the Ministry of Higher Education’s commitment in achieving Quality Education (the fourth SDG), UPM participates in the Education Week of the Expo 2020 Dubai with the aim of enhancing international collaboration.

Education Week took place from the 13th till the 18th of December 2021 at Malaysia’s Pavilion of the expo in Dubai. The theme this time around is ‘Education for Sustainable Development’, which was in line with UPM’s internationalisation efforts thus far.

Although I was unable to be physically present in Dubai, I am pleased that Prof. Ts. Dr. M. Iqbal Saripan, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic & International), Prof. Dr. Suhaimi Ab. Rahman, Director of the PUTRA International Center (iPUTRA) and Mr. Mohd Firdaus Zakaria, Head of Marketing, were able to represent UPM at the expo.

Our trusted representatives delivered two pocket talks on UPM’s institutional strategy in addressing the SDGs and UPM’s experience in building and sustaining cross-continent collaborations during the pandemic. They also actively participated in the promotion of UPM to the global audience and attended business matching meetings.

One of the highlights of Education Week for UPM was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ajman University of the United Arab Emirates on the 16th of December 2021.

At the signing ceremony, Prof. Ts. Dr. M. Iqbal Saripan, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and International), and Prof. Dr. Khaled Assaleh, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, inked the agreement on behalf of UPM and Ajman University, respectively.

After the ceremony, the management team of Ajman University hosted the UPM delegation at their campus in the Emirate of Ajman where both parties held in-depth discussions on the way forward for future collaborations.

Similar with partnerships forged with other overseas institutions, this MoU will establish collaborations that will develop various facets of academia. As the famous Japanese writer Ryunosuke Satoro once said ‘individually we are one drop, together we are an ocean’.

Currently serving as the Vice Chancellor of UPM, I strongly believe that this institution has tremendous potential to improve and sustain quality education that will benefit the nation as a whole. Guided by our motto, “With Knowledge, We Serve’, we at UPM will relentlessly continue our legacy of excellence.


Prof. Dr. Mohd Roslan Sulaiman is the Vice Chancellor of Universiti Putra Malaysia.

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of BERNAMA)