UCD Innovation Academy together with the Ministry of Higher Education in Malaysia and two of Malaysia’s leading universities; The National University of Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) completed the first Entrepreneurial Educator Enhancement Programme (3EP) in the state of Kedah, Malaysia last Sunday, 21st of August.

Over 100 academics from twenty two higher education institutions across Malaysia participated in this week-long intensive professional development programme at Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM). The 3EP programme was designed to strengthen their entrepreneurship competencies and to enhance the effectiveness of entrepreneurship education across Malaysia. A key priority of Malaysia’s Higher Education Blueprint 2015-2025 is to move from developing graduates who are job seekers to ones who are job creators and balanced citizens with an entrepreneurial mindset. The 3EP program will be reviewed by the MOHE and the Partner Universities and recommendations will be made for the future scaling of the initiative. The 2016 – 2020 Entrepreneurship Action Plan has set out a target of 1500 educators equipped with entrepreneurship expertise, becoming advisers or mentors to student businesses and entrepreneurship projects by the year 2020.The certificate awarding ceremony on Sunday was attended by Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching, Deputy Minister for Education and H.E. Eamonn Hickey, Irish Ambassador to Malaysia.

After presenting certificates of Entrepreneurial Educators Enhancement Programme (3EP) the Deputy Minister had this to say “It is difficult these days to find people who are willing to take the risk and be out of their comfort zone, to build their own enterprise and hire people.” “Higher Learning Institutions should also be more proactive in transforming their delivery system to be more flexible and entrepreneurial as well as fulfil local wants, in a globalised network. Structured and holistic entrepreneurship programmes should be promoted and supported as they provide opportunities for students to generate income during their studies as well as increase their employability.” she said.

Ambassador Hickey said; “Ireland has a rich history of supporting education initiatives across the globe. I am delighted that UCD, as one of Ireland’s leading universities, has been able to contribute to this strategically important programme here in Malaysia. We look forward to seeing this partnership grow and flourish in the future.”

UCD Innovation Academy were invited by the Ministry of Higher Education to collaborate on the design and implementation of the 3EP Programme. Established five years ago, the Innovation Academy has grown a reputation internationally for its work in developing impactful entrepreneurship and creativity programmes in the context of government cutbacks in education and a severe economic crisis.   Over 2000 people have undertaken Innovation Academy programmes since 2010.Professor Suzi Jarvis, Founding Director of the Innovation Academy had this to say about the initiative. “We were delighted to have been invited by the Ministry of Higher Education to collaborate on this exciting initiative. The participants were fantastic, it was a real privilege to work with such an engaged and committed group of academics.”

“We are here to share our experiences in developing entrepreneurial educators, there is a lot we can learn from one another. The Malay Government has in place an economic development plan for the development of an Entrepreneurial Nation and at its heart is entrepreneurship education and development, together with an Entrepreneurship Strategic Plan for universities, polytechnics and community colleges. Their focus on developing creativity and nurturing entrepreneurial mindsets in young people is happening in an ad hoc way here in Ireland and may well leave our young people rudderless in a rapidly changing world.”, she said. “The measure of our impact as educators should not be based on exam results but rather on the outcomes for our students once they leave us, how well they are prepared for life.”, she added.

This particular programme builds on the work that the Innovation Academy has undertaken over the past three years with educators in Ireland through its Professional Diploma for Entrepreneurial Educators. The course offers participants the opportunity to reflect on their teaching practice, explore new ways to teach and re-imagine their approach to education.