Edited by Jean L. Pyle and Robert Forrant
Chapter 10: Managing the Interface with the Region: The Case of Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Morshidi Sirat I. INTRODUCTION It is commonplace these days to point to the ‘the globalization process’ when one discusses causes for the signiﬁcant economic, social and political changes reshaping developing countries. Certainly globalization has posed signiﬁcant challenges to social institutions including universities, and in this chapter I provide evidence on how in Malaysia the Universiti Sains Malaysia Pulau Pinang has responded at the regional level. Historically, universities developed service roles guided by notions of philanthropy, obligation or a desire to ‘civilize.’ Today, Malaysia’s public universities regard their commitments and obligations to the needs of national economic and social development as a top priority and often remain oblivious to the needs of their local community. Of interest here is how the university is managing its interface with its geographic region, particularly as it applies to purposeful community service. With the heightened integration of regional and global economies a new wave of frameworks has emerged in the developed and the more advanced developing countries to address the issues and opportunities this has engendered. In this context universities are recognized as important entities because of the capacity they have to make signiﬁcant contributions to the kinds of skill formation required by knowledge-intensive global ﬁrms. For as Michael Best notes ‘The growth process in knowledge-intensive industries is limited by the supply of engineering and scientiﬁc personnel required to staﬀ rapidly growing ﬁrms.’ Best adds that ‘regional growth will be choked if the requisite number and types of graduate engineers are...
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