University Technology Sarawak creates history, holds first convocation ceremony as full-fledged university

A graduate receiving her scroll from Taib during the ceremony.

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SIBU, March 5: University Technology Sarawak (UTS) created history at its sixth convocation ceremony today, as it was the first time the ceremony took place after the institution was upgraded to a full-fledged university.

Its vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Khairuddin Abdul Hamid said it was a historical event for everyone present.

“Even though this is the sixth convocation ceremony, it is the first under the new name after we were upgraded to a full-fledged university on November 8, 2021, hence the change of name from UCTS (University College of Technology Sarawak) to UTS,” he said.

The ceremony saw 387 graduates receiving their scrolls from Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, who is also the university’s chancellor, during the first half of the two-session ceremony. The second session will take place tomorrow night.

Khairuddin said it was also the first time UTS has produced two Doctors of Philosophy (PhD) graduates, both in business management.

The previous convocation ceremony was held as a hybrid event, with most graduates receiving their degrees online.

He said the university, which started operation in 2013, is now offering 30 academic programmes. New programmes are in the final stage of approval from the Ministry of Higher Education by September this year.

“With less than 100 students in 2013, today we have close to 2,000 students enrolled. With the support and financial incentives introduced by the Premier of Sarawak during the launching of UTS in November last year, we aim to enrol 4,000 students by 2024,” he said.

Khairuddin also mentioned that the university’s new hall would be named ‘Dewan Canselor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud’.

“The hall will be able to accommodate 4,000 people, and construction is progressing well. It is expected to be complete by the end of this year,” he said.

In addition, UTS chairman Dr Annuar Rapaee said the State government had made it more affordable for Sarawakians, especially those from the low-income group, to study at the university.

“The State government bears the full cost of the fee for the foundation programme for each student, and 50 per cent of the fee for those in the undergraduate and post-graduate programmes.

“The government is also looking into offering 100 scholarships to Bumiputera students and another 100 scholarships to non-Bumiputera students by bearing 80 per cent of the fee,” he said.

Meanwhile, Beverly Chow Jinn Yu received the prestigious Chancellor Award, and Felicia Ling Wei Ling and Maria Merestein Edwin were the recipients of the Academic Award. — DayakDaily