Universiti Teknologi Mara In Malaysia
Universiti Teknologi Mara In Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) (English: MARA University of Technology) is a public university based primarily in Shah Alam, the state capital of Selangor, some 28 kilometres (17 mi) west of country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. Established in 1956 as RIDA (Rural & Industrial Development Authority) Training Centre (Malay: Dewan Latehan RIDA), it opened its doors to some 50 students with a focus to help the rural Malays. Since that time it has grown into the largest higher education institution in Malaysia by physical infrastructure, staff·organization (academic and non-academic) and student enrollment.
The university comprises one main campus, 13 autonomous state campuses and 21 satellite campuses. With 17,000 of academic and non-academic staff, UiTM offered some 500 programmes ranging from foundation to postgraduate level. It is home to some 168,000 students: bumiputeras and international students, in full-time and part-time mode. The teaching is fully conducted in English.
The MARA University of Technology began as RIDA (Rural & Industrial Development Authority) Training Centre (Malay: Dewan Latehan RIDA), inspired by Onn Jaafar, the founder and former president of United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). The idea was conceived as a result of a study visit to Ceylon in 1951 (now Sri Lanka) to look into its rural development programme. A resulting working paper outlined the establishment of Rural and Industrial Development Authority (RIDA) and its objectives of rebuilding the rural society, as well as improving the economy of rural Malays. A bill Paper No. 10/1951 was passed by the Federal Legislative Council on the same year that led to its establishment; reveals an interesting insight into the connection between RIDA Training Centre and the Malay community. Section 5 of this paper outlines the justification and the necessity of establishing Rural Industrial Development Authority (RIDA). The word kampong (English: village), which is synonymous with the Malays, is also used in Section 8 of the paper.
In November 1956, RIDA Training Centre began operations in Petaling Jaya, Selangor (currently Jalan Othman satellite campus) under its first principal, Syed Alwi Syed Sheikh Alhadi. It was officially opened by Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, the Minister for Trade and Industry on 14 February 1957. The training centre conducted pre-university courses, business skills training and several external professional courses offered by established international bodies, such as the London Chamber of Commerce, the Australian Chartered Secretaryship, the Australian Society of Accountants and the British Institute of Management. After the formation of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, the training centre began to admit native students from Sabah and Sarawak, and more academic programmes were offered. In 1964, RIDA Training Centre held its first convocation and 50 graduates were awarded certificates by Tun Abdul Razak, the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia.
The training centre later became known as MARA College (Malay: Maktab MARA) in 1965. The name change meant that the college no longer operated under RIDA and instead became the most important unit of the MARA Training Division. MARA stands for Majlis Amanah Rakyat (English: Council of Trust for the Indigenous People) under the leadership of Tan Sri Arshad Ayub, took over and strengthened the role and responsibilities of RIDA. In 1966, when the British Institute of Management ceased conducting external examinations, MARA College began running its own Diploma in Business Studies. International recognition for the course came from Ealing Technical College in London, which also became its external examiner.
Expansion and growth
In 1967, the college was upgraded to MARA Institute Of Technology (Malay: Institut Teknologi MARA, ITM). Its establishment came as a response to a need in Malaysia for trained professionals, especially among bumiputeras. This shortage was identified through a manpower survey conducted by the government in 1965 collaboration with the United Nations. Acknowledging the fact that education holds the key to positive social engineering processes, ITM has made education easily accessible primarily to the bumiputera Malays and indigenous bumiputera of the Malay peninsula (such as Jakun, Senoi), and those from the East Malaysia (such as the Kadazan-Dusun, Melanau, and Dayak). It mainly catered to semi-professional courses predominantly in the science and technology in fields such as engineering, applied sciences and architecture, building and planning. However, realizing the importance of other complementary nation-building fields, it has also included a repertoire of other salient ‘management and humanities-based’ fields such as business studies, hotel and catering management, mass communications, public administration, law, secretarial science, as well as art and design. By 1973, branch campuses had been set up in Perlis, Sabah and Sarawak. The development of ITM was in three stages. The first phase (1967-1976) came with the declaration of the institute as an autonomous body with its own 300-acre campus in Shah Alam, and was placed under the Ministry of Rural Development. The second phase (1976-1996) saw ITM rapidly harnessing its potential as an institution of higher learning. It led to the passing of the ITM Act of 1976 that placed the institute directly under the Ministry of Education.
The third phase (1996-1999) came about as a result of an amendment to the ITM Act 1976 which granted the institution all the powers of a university and on par with all the universities in the country, despite retaining its name. Among the significant change was a creation of Board of Directors and Senate. Many principal officers of ITM were re-designated such as the Branch Director was renamed Rector, the Head of Campus became the Provost, while Principal and Senior Lecturers were re-designated as Professors and Associate Professors, respectively; each School was redesignated as a Faculty; ITM was given the power to confer degrees up to Doctor of Philosophy level; ITM was given the unique power to establish courses and campuses abroad with permission from the Minister of Education; the Institute was conferred additional powers to enable it to conduct business, invest in shares, set up companies and engage in commercial research; disciplinary powers over staff were transferred from the Minister to the Board of Directors; to improve staff accountability, the Institute was bestowed the power to impose a surcharge; and the procedural rights of students in disciplinary proceedings were strengthened.
In August 1999, the Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced the change in name of ITM to MARA University of Technology (Malay: Universiti Teknologi MARA, UiTM). With such acknowledgement from the government, a major restructuring exercise was carried out in order to consolidate the University’s resources for optimum productivity. The Universiti Teknologi MARA Act 173 was drafted in conjunction with the establishment of UiTM. It is deemed essential as the Act provides guidelines for maintenance and smooth administration as well as other pertaining matters. The Act also serves as an acknowledgement of the institution’s transition from an institute to a university, and the authority bestowed upon it to function like any other university. This includes the offering of courses of studies and the conferment of degrees at all levels.