Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia
Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia, Established on the 1st of June 1995 as the Malaysian Armed Forces Academy (Akademi Tentera Malaysia – ATMA), the institution was renamed the National Defence University of Malaysia (Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia – UPNM) when it was upgraded to university status on the 10th of November 2006.
Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia
Established on the 1st of June 1995 as the Malaysian Armed Forces Academy (Akademi Tentera Malaysia – ATMA), the institution was renamed the National Defence University of Malaysia (Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia – UPNM) when it was upgraded to university status on the 10th of November 2006.
In response to the need to equip the country’s armed forces with quality tertiary education, the academy was given the duty of improving the defence forces’ knowledge and academic status by providing them a chance to obtain bachelor’s degree in various management, engineering and scientific disciplines on top of their standard military training.
The Transformation Process
In the beginning, the University of Technology, Malaysia (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia – UTM) was responsible for the accreditation and running of these courses. Some of the lecturers were seconded from the military, some were hired by the institution and others were deputised by UTM. Together, they sought to realise the lofty goal of revolutionising Malaysia’s armed forces through tertiary education.
ATMA’s transformation into UPNM was announced during the Budget 2007 reading in Parliament by then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The institution welcomed its first batch of students as a university for its 2007/2008 intake, a momentous occasion as its first civilian undergraduates were in that same batch.
True to its roots as an academy for the nation’s armed forces, the establishment’s expansive list of graduate programmes is geared towards preparing its students for future leadership roles within and out with the military. UPNM is also striving to become the premier university not only for leadership and professional development in the field of defence and security but also the dissemination and application of knowledge in defence science as well as policy research and development.
UPNM has further committed itself to its goal of preparing Malaysia’s future leaders to better address the challenges that await them as they serve the nation in accordance with the country’s strategic interests by offering master’s degrees and doctorates in philosophy (PhD) in a wide range of fields.
At present, all of UPNM’s graduate studies are conducted through research. This is in line with the institution’s goal of achieving success in the form of creating new knowledge by conducting extensive research and development, which it is accomplishing through research collaborations with defence industries and other similar research organisations.
The “Boutique University”
Speaking on behalf of UPNM’s Chancellery, Lt. Gen. Datuk Seri Wira Allatif bin Mohd Noor – Vice Chancellor of UPNM – stated that it was their obligation as the heart of the university to ensure that the implementation of its principles, policies and future plans was carried out effectively, thus ensuring that the establishment would fulfil its purpose in shaping its students into leaders that would devote themselves to their country.
“We aim to mould UPNM into a niche institution of higher education or Boutique University, driven by excellence in preparing quality graduates and world-class academicians,” he said. He went on to explain that the main objective of the institution was to be a key contributor in the growth of the country’s knowledge in the field of defence science and technology, and in the process become the hub for knowledge in defence technology and security studies.
Over 1,000 graduates have passed through UPNM’s halls since its founding more than a decade ago and gone on to become respected members of Malaysia’s armed forces as well as the country’s government and non-government sectors. In light of this, the institution is determined to continue live up to and surpass the expectations placed upon it in the education of the nation’s next generation of leaders.