Bringing Japanese Technological Excellence to Penang’s Young

Our students can now get the best of Japanese education in engineering and science – right at their doorstep.

The Disted Japanese Transfer Programme (JTP) is the first degree-seeking programme of its kind in Malaysia which provides a fast-track study path for students who are keen to pursue a world-recognised Japanese education in engineering and science.

Interested students can pursue diplomas in either computer science or electrical and electronics engineering under the JTP programme – a collaboration between Disted College and Toyohashi University of Technology (TUT) – before completing two more years of undergraduate studies in Japan to earn their Bachelor’s Degree.

“Intake for the Diploma in Computer Science has already begun. There are five intakes annually: January, March, May, August and September, with three semesters each academic year. Prospective students are able to enrol and begin their studies almost immediately. The Diploma in Electrical and Electronics Engineering is still pending approval from the Ministry of Higher Education, but we anticipate the first intake to be in January 2018,” says Dr Lim Pang Boey, a TUT associate professor.

The diplomas take three years to complete, during which time the students undergo a Japanese language proficiency course and a bridging programme. The bridging programme involves Japanese lecturers. It is the final preparation for the JTP students before they sit for their Japanese University Entrance Exams.

From left: Associate Prof. Dr Lim Pang Boey, Moh Wei Hang, Tang Jun Yie and Choong Ang Chen.

“What’s unique about the JTP programme is that it allows students to equip themselves with the foundation of their chosen courses at an easy pace and in a comfortable environment, while the bridging programme offers students insight into what to expect and how to cope when pursuing their degrees in Japan.

“Students will also be exposed to firstrate manufacturing technologies once in Japan, and depending on the institutions they are enrolled in, they will have a better chance to carry out their internships, as well as work for Japanese companies. There are more than 200 Japanese and multinational companies in Penang eager to hire talented engineers. This will not only help Penang retain its talents, but also create a solid talent foundation to boost its manufacturing industry.”

We must not only prepare our young for the future, but we must also prepare the future for our young.

Disted College and TUT share similar goals as not-for-profit institutions of higher learning in promoting quality and affordable education to encourage students to pursue excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). “The JTP programme focuses more on practical course works and less on the theoretical aspects as is the norm in most Malaysian educational institutions nowadays. It has been very effective in shaping our know-how of computer science. Also, the lecture classes are smaller. Hence, it is possible to have one-on-one sessions with lecturers if need be,” says Moh Wei Hang, 18, adding that he plans to be a game programmer when he graduates.

Another student, Tang Jun Yie, adds, “When it comes to computer science, your logic must be precise in order for the programmes to be workable and be without bugs. That means you have to be good at mathematics – only then are you able to understand the programming language well.”

STEM education and skills training have become increasingly significant – more so with Industry 4.0 and the Digital Revolution. “It is not just a change in digital technology; rather, it is a fusion of technologies and their interaction across the physical, digital and biological domains. It will fundamentally change the way we work, and the way we live. We must not only prepare our young for the future, but we must also prepare the future for our young,” said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng during the launch of Penang STEM, an umbrella organisation spearheading STEM learning, last August.

Deserving students in financial need are encouraged to apply for the Disted JTP Scholarship and Bursary Award. To be eligible, applicants must meet the scholarship criteria, which includes academic excellence, and attend an interview with Disted College.

Prior to TUT’s collaboration with Disted College, the Japanese institution had already established an overseas education base in Malaysia with TUT-USM Penang in 2013. “Penang is a prime regional educational hub, and the partnership with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) is based on mutually beneficial research collaborations,” says Lim. “TUT-USM Penang serves as an educational platform for the Tri-Institutional Collaborative/Cooperative Educational Reform Project comprising TUT, Nagaoka University of Technology and the National Institutes of Technology to promote educational and research activities in collaboration with recognised local institutions, which can benefit the younger generation, and also meet the needs of the industry and community.

“With TUT’s collaboration with Disted College, we foresee more educational collaboration in different fields such as mechatronics, environmental life science and also disaster prevention in civil engineering. We are also planning to conduct academic staff and student exchange programmes between the institutions.”

For more information, visit www.disted.edu.my/programmes/computer-science-engineering/japan-transfer-programme.

Regina Hoo is a Broadcasting and Journalism graduate from the University of Wolverhampton.



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