Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr Lim Kok Wing has built a global brand of creative technology learning institutions that bear his name. He said the building blocks of his success lie with the multi-national and multi-cultural blend of students.
Malaysia’s pioneering educationalist, Tan Sri Dr Lim Kok Wing, needs only to look around his own creation to find inspiration.
The Cyberjaya campus of his Limkokwing University has students from more than 150 countries – including many from the Middle East – who make up at least 70 per cent of the student population. Beyond the diversity in races and culture, he takes pride in how students feed off each other’s individuality and become world citizens.
“When you are here, you see students from 150 countries, mostly foreigners and it’s hard to find a Malaysian,” said Tan Sri Dr Lim Kok Wing. “The students would tell you that they have changed after they have come here.
“And they go home with friends from 150 countries. You see them sitting in their groups, learning from each other. It is the students that keep us going. It is the students that inspire me.”
With the Cyberjaya facility, just outside Kuala Lumpur, as its headquarters, Limkokwing University has more than 30,000 students across three continents – Asia, Africa and Europe.
It has campuses in peninsula Malaysia; Kuching, Sarawak (Malaysia); Bali and Jakarta (Indonesia), Beijing (China), Gaborone (Botswana), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Maseru (Lesotho), London (United Kingdom) and Mbabane (Swaziland).
They are all enthused by the promise of change for the better. Tan Sri Dr Lim Kok Wing said changes in mind-set are triggered by a variety of stimuli, be it interaction with fellow students from different cultures or something as simple as the building they are housed in.
For sure, Limkokwing University buildings are unique and striking. Intricate and colourful murals are splashed across the entire structure of the campus and can be seen from a distance. The buildings exude a space-age aura but few people realise that they were once neglected edifices.
This is a deliberate strategy to show the local people how positive change can inspire them to greater heights.
“We go and pick some really old building that nobody will look at and turn it into something people will really love,” he said. “They know that the building is dilapidated and no one was using it. But we turn it into a high-tech centre. This is what we did in Swaziland and Botswana.
“And when students and the government see that, they get the impression of how change can be beneficial. It is all part of changing mind-sets and becoming outstanding people. And when you listen to them talk you can see how they have changed.”
As a Malaysian business enterprise, Limkokwing University is thriving. And while many businesses in Malaysia seek foreign investors, the university covets foreign students instead.
Tan Sri Dr Lim Kok Wing said the Malaysian campus offers something different to what other institutions in the country, and the world, can provide.
“I think young people, whether they are white, brown or black, must be inspired,” he said. “Everybody has the capacity to learn. Is Oxford University better than Limkokwing University? In many ways, is Limkokwing University better than Oxford?
“You can’t compare a horse with a cow and cow with an elephant and ask if one is better than the other. It depends on what you want to do.
“What we do is bring the world together and turn them into people who are completely comfortable with their multi-cultural differences.”
Limkokwing University offers mostly courses in design, technology and media, as well as business management, architecture and the build environment, digital technology There are six faculties including units such as the Sound and Music Academy, Film and Television Academy and The International Lifestyle Design Academy.
Limkokwing University students have won a multitude of international and domestic awards for their designs and creativity and Tan Sri Dr Lim Kok Wing has no qualms about calling his students “the best”.
One of the methods for producing elite students, according to Tan Sri Dr Lim Kok Wing, is allowing them to run free with their own personalities and drive.
“You can’t really teach but you can show,” he said. “Young people are faster than you, they are more charming than you and healthier than you. They can stay up the whole night and do research and still come to class.
“It’s not really about teaching, it is about showing them the way. Once they know what they want to be they know what to do. We just support and encourage them.
“Allowing them to be the person they want to be is what we try to do,” said Tan Sri Dr Lim Kok Wing, who has applied the same traits to his global learning institutes to great effect.”
Copyright © 2013 Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Paduka Dr Lim Kok Wing. All Right Reserved.
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