PETALING JAYA, Nov 21 : It is not impossible for universities in Asia to one day be more outstanding or on par with world-renowned tertiary institutions in the West like Oxford and Harvard, says Information, Communications and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim.
He said Asia had produced many renowned philosophers like Hamka in Indonesia and Confucius in China, besides several distinguished scholars from Malaysia, Pakistan and India.
"If these individuals' thoughts are carefully studied by our students, it can develop a high level of thinking in them.
"What is important is nurturing the thinking and analysing process in each of our student," Dr Rais told reporters after opening the 'School of Tomorrow, Empowering Lifelong Learners' Conference, here, today.
He also said that people in the East or Asia should not continue to be mere followers of western thoughts which supposedly contained the perfect system for charting mankind's future.
"Asian culture has many admirable living concepts like neighbourliness, gotong-royong and how to say 'thank you', and all these are taught to our students.
"We should not allow this (western) thinking to change our traditions and our eastern way of life, which actually have a lot of good but not brought to the fore.
"If we let ourselves to be overwhelmed by western thinking, eventually our Asian identity will be eroded. This (phenomenon) cannot be swept aside by our educators as we must incorporate our culture into our education system for us to lead a balanced life," he said.
Dr Rais, however, believed that there was already a paradigm shift in education in Malaysia which could contribute to its civilisation in the years to come.
The conference which started yesterday, is attended by about 600 people from nine countries, discussing learning concepts for the future, which is is line with Malaysia's vision on education. - Bernama.