Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh during the Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average International Conference. (Photo by SHIRAZ YASMINE ALI)

ALL public universities will be implementing the integrated cumulative grade point average (iCGPA) assessment in all faculties, alongside the existing academic-driven CGPA system, in 2019.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said that it is important that this is done as it is imperative today to groom students to become holistic graduates in accordance with the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“iCGPA is important as the way to evaluate students needs to change. It is already being implemented at the Ministry of Education through the change of curriculum to include critical thinking skills and also at the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) under Shift 1 of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education). Our professors have acknowledged this issue as far as eight years back, with assessment methodology development taking place since 2011,” he said.

Idris said the aim of iCGPA is to produce graduates who not only excel in their fields of study (academically), but are also equipped with the necessary soft skills (such as English proficiency), knowledge (of the world at large, the sciences and arts), values (ethics, patriotism, and spirituality), leadership abilities (including the love of volunteerism), and the ability to think critically (accepting diverse views, innovation and problem solving).

MOHE started to pilot iCGPA at five faculties in five public universities — Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT), Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) and Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) — in September 2015.

“Today the implementation has progressed to 334 programmes at 153 faculties in 20 public universities; 35 programmes at six polytechnics, and seven programmes in 15 community colleges,” he said.

“Now even private universities are approaching MOHE to learn about iCGPA and ways to implement it,” he added.

Idris said the good thing about iCGPA is that it does not touch the CGPA system but instead adds value to what exists.

“Normal student assessment is done after they have finished the teaching-learning process. But the integrated assessment is done before, during and after the process to check on students’ soft skills. This way benchmarking and corrective measures can be carried out during the whole process of learning,” he said.

Earlier, Idris delivered a keynote address titled “A journey towards holistic assessment, in pursuit of holistic graduates”, at the iCGPA International Conference 2017.

In his speech, he touched on the benefits that can be gained from iCGPA assessment by different parties.

“For students, they can have a better understanding of their personal strengths and weaknesses as well as have continuous improvement of themselves from that knowledge. For prospective employers, the iCGPA can enable them to identify future employees based on skills and more holistic measurements and understand the continuous professional development needs of new graduates. As for higher education institutions and lecturers, they would have a better appreciation of student needs and can provide continuous intervention and support,” he said.

He listed down challenges ahead for iCGPA implementation among which are adoption by academics and industry recognition.

“Academics need to review the curriculum to come up with one that would shape students into holistic graduates. Are they conducting effective activities to facilitate this? Is the curriculum adapted to industry needs? And universities would also need to assess the assessor,” he commented.

Idris later officiated the opening of the two-day conference.

Themed “Nurturing Holistic, Entrepreneurial and Balanced Graduates”, the iCGPA International Conference 2017 served as a platform for educators, industrial leaders, professionals and students to discuss on professional development and sharing of best practices and opportunities on outcomes-based education.

Apart from Idris, other speakers included Professor Dr Loredana Padurean of the Asia School of Business Kuala Lumpur, Professor Dr Lo Sing Kai of The Education University of Hong Kong and UiTM deputy vice-chancellor (academic and international) Professor Dr Suhaimi Abdul Talib.

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