Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) made history by producing its first cohort of 74 graduates from its franchise programme abroad during the inaugural convocation ceremony at Qaiwan International University (QIU) in Kurdistan, Iraq.

UTM, in a statement, said the first cohort was the result of its collaboration with QIU through UTMSPACE under the Transnational Education (TNE) programme, which began five years ago.

Out of these graduates, 49 are from the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (Software Engineering) programme; 10 from the Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Development programme, eight from the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (Network and Computer Security), and seven from the Bachelor of Management (Technology) programme.

The degree presentation was officiated by UTM's vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Ahmad Fauzi Ismail, while QIU was represented by its president Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman.

The ceremony was also attended by the Kurdistan Region’s Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani; its Higher Education and Scientific Research Minister Dr Aram Mohammad Qadir and QIU founder and chairman of its Board of Directors Shikh Fakhir Shiekh Tayeb.

Also present at the convocation ceremony were UTM deputy vice-chancellor (Academic and International) Prof Dr Mohd Shafry Mohd Rahim; UTM registrar Nor Azizah Ismail; and the Director of UTMSPACE Prof Dr Nazri Ali, as well as deans from the relevant faculty.

Meanwhile, in the same statement, Ahmad Fauzi was quoted as saying that UTM took great pride in its collaboration with QIU, describing the event as a significant achievement for the university and the country, as it marked its first franchise programme offered in the Middle East.

He said over 71 per cent of QIU graduates have secured employment with some continuing their studies at UTM.

In his speech, Ahmad Fauzi announced the sponsorship of three QIU graduates to pursue postgraduate studies at UTM with an estimated value of USD 18,000.

The scholarship sponsorship serves as an encouragement for graduants to pursue higher education and is also an acknowledgement of UTM's commitment to the partnership, he added.

He believed that with the presence of the campus, more UTM programmes could be offered to the people of Iraq, especially in producing a professional workforce through QIU to meet its regional needs, as various new collaborations would be explored including professional development, research, consultations, and other significant initiatives benefiting both parties.

"The impact of UTM's initiative to establish international franchise programmes is also aligned with the framework of the MADANI Economy: Higher Education, especially in terms of the internationalisation aspect, as envisioned by the Prime Minister," said Ahmad Fauzi.

The inaugural QIU-UTM convocation ceremony also witnessed three outstanding graduates receiving the Dean's Awards.

They are Reza Kamil Abdul Karim, who graduated with honours with a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Development; Sima Jazaa Mohammed (Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (Software Engineering), and Diana Hiwa Raouf Rahem (Bachelor of Management (Technology).

For the record, the establishment of QIU in 2017 is a joint initiative of two UTM alumni, Dr Harith R. Hasan and Dr Ahmed Abdullah, with Ahmed currently serving as QIU vice-president (Academic).

Based on their experiences at UTM and the quality of education received, these alumni and the Qaiwan Group established QIU to offer UTM's academic programmes in a franchise format in Sulaimaniyah, Kurdistan.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency