University graduates should be creative in the current challenging and competitive world, Permaisuri of Johor Raja Zarith Sofia Idris Shah said.
In a special address at the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Businesswomen Forum yesterday, Raja Zarith Sofia said creativity, imagination and the wish to bring change can make a difference.
“The strength of university graduates now is not only measured on the knowledge and skills they have acquired in specialised disciplines, but lies also in their ability to compete in facing challenges in the current global climate and to be able to remain relevant and impactful,” said Raja Zarith Sofia.
Other skills include the need to be resourceful, versatile, adaptive and flexible.
“As far as Malaysian higher education is concerned, although quality education is the main focus, activities that are creative-based and innovative-driven have been introduced at all levels to encourage the development of generic skills — which include thinking and problem-solving, being innovative and entrepreneurial, as well as having leadership, independence and team working abilities,” she said.
Raja Zarith Sofia said that instilling creativity can and should start early, perhaps from home and later in school before moving on to the tertiary level.
She cited Universiti Teknologi Malaysia as an example of a higher learning institution that has established the Student Innovation Centre, which provides a platform for students to spark interest and nurture innovative and entrepreneurial mindsets.
“In fact, most courses at Malaysian universities now incorporate elements of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Raja Zarith Sofia was speaking on the role of universities in nurturing creativity in the two-day forum themed, “Women and The Creative Economy” held in Gangwon, South Korea.
WIEF Foundation chairman Tun Musa Hitam in his welcoming speech said businesswomen must be active in the creative economy if they are to advance.
Musa said available data has shown that the global market value of the creative economy is currently at approximately US$1.6 trillion (RM6.72 trillion).
“The Republic of Korea, for instance, has adopted a creative economy as far back as 2013 to boost the domestic economy and create jobs in the country.
“In this new era of the creative economy, I am happy to note a profound societal shift in thinking taking place. There is a renewed interest in culture and heritage, as well as a willingness to meaningfully integrate them into business and everyday life,” said Musa.
The former deputy prime minister added that gone is the era of finance, oil and gas or real estate in the current economic climate, as more technology companies such as Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook dominate the market.
Gangwon Governor Choi Moon-Soon in his remarks said hosting the forum is significant as he believes women’s roles should be expanded to lead the evolution and global economic development.
“I’m confident that various practical methods will be drawn to this forum, which will enable women in the business community to contribute to the creative industry.
“I hope the forum will serve as a stepping stone, bringing forward the peace and prosperity of the world,” Choi said.
About 140 delegates from 14 countries participated in the forum that aims to address the challenges and opportunities for women in the cultural and creative industries, as well as the halal sector.
Speakers included Dr Mom Luang Rajadarasri Jayankura, chairman of the Asean Affairs Business Council, United Arab Emirates’s TECOM Group chief human capital officer Fatma Hussain and Mariam Isabel Romero Arias, CEO of Halal Institute of Spain.