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Participants experience a ‘Design thinking class’ at Genovasi. — Picture by Mukhriz HazimParticipants experience a ‘Design thinking class’ at Genovasi. — Picture by Mukhriz HazimKUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 — Genovasi University College is set to change the pedagogy of Malaysia’s tertiary education system, said Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.

He said the elevation of the nation’s first dedicated design thinking school to a higher education institute highlights the importance of learning and solving challenges through indirect and creative approaches as opposed to traditional logic.

“There are many ways a subject can be approached and this includes using lateral thinking, analogical reasoning and design thinking, among other processes,” said Idris.

Design thinking is a human-centred approach to innovation, involving a designer’s desirability and sensibility to come up with feasible and viable solutions.

The stages of its methodology are: Empathise, define (the problem), ideate, prototype and test.

“Not everyone may be on board with design thinking but this is how education should evolve and become more flexible. The ministry is championing the agenda to ‘redesign higher education’,” Idris told Malay Mail.

He said one of his earliest tasks when he became the minister in 2015 was to analyse the landscape of tertiary education locally and abroad.

He added the days of traditional teaching methodologies were long gone and sticking to the traditional ways would eventually make universities irrelevant. 

“Lecturers can no longer just stand in front of a class and expect students to listen and understand what they are saying.

“If we continue with the way we are educating right now, universities will become obsolete soon.”

He said Genovasi has the potential to jump-start interests and encourage more involvement in design thinking, adding its elevation to a university college is just the beginning of many more considerable future projects.

“As a council member of the National Innovation Agency Malaysia (AIM), I am satisfied with how Genovasi has evolved over the past five years.

“Design thinking is a predominant method of the day and with Genovasi championing this, we are off to a great start.”

On July 20, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the elevation of Genovasi as a university college in line with the government’s aim to make Malaysia the hub for the innovative mode of education.

He said the institution would be a design thinking-dedicated university with courses focused on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Genovasi is governed by a public-private partnership between AIM and Ancom Berhad.

It also has the distinction of being one of only four Hasso-Plattner Institute Certified Design Thinking schools in the world.

Genovasi celebrates its fifth anniversary today at an event that will officially mark its elevation to university college status.

Editor’s note: The print version of this story contained an error which has since been rectified.

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