APU’s Professor the First Private University Academician in Malaysia to Be Appointed UNESCO Chair
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Updated 16 Aug 2022
Asia Pacific University (APU) Professor of Innovative Digital Learning & Director of the Digital Learning Hub, Dr. Abtar Darshan Singh, has recently been appointed to the prestigious position of the UNESCO Chair on Harnessing Innovations in Technology to Support Teachers & Quality Learning. This makes her the first academician from a Malaysian private university to be appointed to such a position for a 4-year term.
With this position, Dr Abtar will drive research, training and knowledge-sharing initiatives on utilising technology to support teachers and produce quality teaching and learning experiences in Malaysia, as well as developing countries in Asia, Africa and other parts of the world. This also includes equipping teachers and professionals in education with state-of-the-art knowledge and tools to enhance hybrid learning.
“We are honoured and delighted with Prof. Dr. Abtar’s appointment to the UNESCO Chair. It is a tremendous recognition of the ability not only of APU by a premier UN agency but also of our tertiary institutions to promote technological innovations that could strengthen the quality of our teaching profession, be it in the public or private sectors,” shared CEO of APU, Datuk Parmjit Singh.
“Technology, innovation, and creativity form the heart of APU’s education philosophy. The appointment of Prof. Dr. Abtar as the Chairholder will further catalyse our efforts to produce graduates who intuitively embrace technological innovations and help make a difference to the diverse international communities they represent,” he continued.
Prof Abtar has more than three decades of experience in the education field. A former Fulbright scholar, she has been closely involved in the research, teaching and development of technological innovations in higher education in Malaysia and abroad. She was the winner of the coveted International Competition on Innovative University Practices in ICT in Education, a competition organised by the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE) in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2015.
Dr Abtar expressed her gratitude to UNESCO for the appointment and their tremendous support in her and APU.
“Together with our partner organisations, we will work very hard to promote innovations in technologies including AI to help enhance the quality of teaching and learning among teachers, educators and curriculum developers in Malaysia and the region,” she said.
A key objective of the UNESCO Chair is to foster collaboration among stakeholders in education and leverage technological innovations to promote inclusive education for everyone including girls and children. It is an integral part of UNESCO’s wider Medium-Term Strategy and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to leverage education programmes to reduce poverty.
The UNESCO Chair will also serve as a research and innovation hub to capitalise on disruptive technologies in the areas of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and Big Data & Analytics to promote inclusive and equitable education for people in developing economies.
Launched in 1992, the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme involves over 850 institutions in 117 countries with the vision to advance an integrated system of research, training and activities in diverse fields by building university networks and encouraging inter-university cooperation through the transfer of knowledge and expertise.