Universiti Teknologi Petronas Vice-Chancellor Datuk Ir (Dr) Abdul Rahim Hashim (second from right) exchanging documents with Microsoft Malaysia managing director K. Raman after the signing of a memorandum of understanding. With them are Microsoft Malaysia Public Sector Group general manager Nik Ariff Nik Omar (left) and UTP registrar Solihuddin Ahmad Nasarudin.

UNIVERSITI Teknologi Petronas (UTP) is aiming for increased productivity and enhanced development of skills, particularly in the area of data sciences among lecturers and students, with the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Microsoft Malaysia.

Under the MoU, UTP will be leveraging Microsoft’s cutting-edge technologies like Cortana Analytics, Power BI, Azure and Machine Learning to enable students and faculty members to connect data across sources, drive intelligent decisions and outcomes, and transform processes from end to end.

By way of this collaboration, UTP’s 8500 students and 900 staff will have access to various services that include Microsoft Innovation Showcase Centre; Advanced Analytics for Student Lifecycle; Microsoft Imagine Academy; Microsoft Virtual Academy; Microsoft Student Partner Program as well as Microsoft Surface device leasing programme.

Commenting on the partnership, UTP Vice-Chancellor Datuk Ir (Dr) Abdul Rahim Hashim said: “At UTP, we are mindful of the evolving technology ecosystem that has sprouted new business models and is revolutionising the data landscape. It is changing the way we look at, solve and commercialise business problems. To ensure our students are best prepared to perform in this setup, we need to equip them with the most advanced learning tools and our partnership with Microsoft is a step in this direction.”

He said UTP intended to embed data sciences in all programmes and have staff and students take up courses offered online and certified by Microsoft and other service providers.

“We believe the MoU will provide us a cost saving of RM6 million as the technologies and suites will help us offer active and blended learning approaches in our teaching and learning, which will see smaller classrooms of 36 being carried out with activities done in groups of six. Instead of having knowledge dished out in a traditional lecture hall setting, students can read before class and our lecturers share their notes via mobile application which are accessible throughout the campus.”

Microsoft Malaysia managing director K. Raman said the company applauded UTP’s efforts in technology education.

“At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more, and we remain committed to promoting 21st century learning in Malaysia. We are in the midst of the Fourth Industrial revolution, and a change in curriculum is vital to prepare our students for this digital age.

“Our solutions will help UTP and its students to leverage the power of information technology and harness their potential in the digital ecosystem. Education is evolving rapidly with technology at the forefront and we’ve been transforming classroom learning to nurture students and equip them with skills to compete globally.”

UTP has subscribed to Microsoft’s Office 365 suite, which includes Exchange, SharePoint, Teams for their business users and free Office 365 for students. UTP is also leveraging Azure for event planning and identifying workloads to gain immediate benefits. As part of the latest partnership, Microsoft will also provide enterprise strategic advisory for UTP’s technology adoption.

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