PARIS: The Malaysia-Unesco Cooperation Programme (MUCP) will focus on identifying key findings through accumulated feedback, new knowledge, lessons learnt, challenges faced and most significantly, the best practices incorporated within the framework’s projects.

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik believes one key lesson of MUCP is the importance of the philosophy of mutual learning in order to provide platforms for countries to cooperate and learn from each other in order to overcome global challenges.

Maszlee Malik Photo: Bernama

“By mutual learning from each other, we can overcome our own limitations,” he said in his opening remarks at the MUCP Roundtable Discussions on the sidelines of the 40th Session of the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

The roundtable was aimed to be a platform to discuss the challenges and innovative models in promoting South South Cooperation for the Sustainable Development through Education, Science, Culture and Communication and Information.

The session was moderated by Prof Jeffery Keith Camkin of the Institute for Agriculture, Western Australia University.

Maszlee said MUCP endeavours to enhance global collaboration to build the capacity of educational institutions in developing countries by connecting them more closely with developed ones.

“As such, we must stop looking at ourselves as countries with challenging identities and interests. Instead, we must look at ourselves as a one big family of humanity with a common purpose,” said Maszlee, who is the president of the Malaysian National Commission for Unesco.

Since the inception of MUCP in 2009, the Malaysian government has provided financial contribution to support the implementation of 29 projects, covering from education reform, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), strengthening education leadership, water security to social inclusion, and disaster risk management.

“For now, at least 31 Malaysian institutions, 131 Global Implementation Partners, an active network of 30 partner countries, 15 Unesco Offices have been mobilised. We have no less than 6,780 participants from 87 countries across Asia, the Pacific, Africa and beyond.

“We must shift our efforts from mere problem solving and conflict fixing to innovation, problem mitigation, and trend setting in advent of the Industrial Revolution 4.0,” he said, adding that global challenges can only be overcome through cooperation and exchange of ideas and resources.

Maszlee pointed out that educational multilateralism is flowering under the MUCP as more and more countries and institutions become part of its programmes. “I hope to intensify this further and pledge that Malaysia will be a committed driver of the MUCP, and continue to be less partisans (proponents) of multilateralism in these coming years,” he said.

Recognising MUCP motives are clear and meaningful, Maszlee said it is time to transform and recreate in global education, pathways that would sensitise children and adults towards becoming builders of a sustainable world for all.

“We have 10 years to go with the 2030 agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals, and so all the good work must continue. But it is imperative upon us now to focus our collective wisdom on efforts and education investments which are strategic, targeted and sustainable,” he said to a rapturous applause from the audience at the roundtable session.

At the session, nine panellists from six countries, including four from Malaysia, shared their experiences and highlighted the results from the MUCP to stimulate the involvement of potential South-South cooperation champions from Asia and the Pacific and Africa.

The panellists from Malaysia included the Education Ministry’s Curriculum Development Division Department deputy director (Policy and Science and Technology) Datin Dr Ng Soo Boon and Unit Chief of Educational Planning and Research Division Noor Hayati Uteh.

The other two are Principal Fellow at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Prof Datuk Dr Rashila Ramli and International Science, Technology and Innovation Centre for South-South Cooperation Director Datuk Dr Sharifah Maimunah Syed Zin. – Bernama