Developing Resilient Scholars with Positive Education

World-leading education content provider Pearson identified eight instrumental skills for modern education that reflect the demands of a competitive and ever-changing 21st century. These are: Leadership, Digital Literacy, Communication, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurship, Global Citizenship, Problem-solving and Team-working.

As part of the world’s first mechanics institute, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia is no stranger to pioneering the global educational landscape. One endeavour is the university’s Positive Education approach, which was introduced in 2017.

“Positive Education does not only focus on academic excellence but also the holistic development of individuals,” explained Professor Mushtak Al-Atabi, the Provost and Chief Executive Officer of Heriot-Watt University Malaysia. “Through Positive Education, we are nurturing purposeful, impactful, professional and resilient individuals.”  

In a bid to arm the younger generation with the critical skills to succeed in their future, the university has initiated several programmes based on the Positive Education approach. One of them is its “A Happier U” campaign, which aims to inspire everyone to contribute to a happier world and learn how to be resilient. Under this campaign, a host of fun-filled activities are organised regularly to facilitate the happiness and wellbeing of the university’s staff and students.

Recognising that a happier student equals better accomplishments, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia’s acclaimed Youth Transformation Programme (YTP), which is targeted at SPM, IGCSE or equivalent school leavers, provides the skills needed for a smoother transition from secondary school to higher learning and beyond.

Elysia Goh, a former YTP participant who is currently pursuing her MA (Hons) Business Finance at the university, revealed that the programme helped her get ready for university life. “I learned how to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) goals and achieve them. I also improved my social and collaboration skills. The programme made it easier for me to adjust to the independence and responsibility of a university student,” she said.

With a significant number of employers placing increasing importance on soft skills, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia has also introduced EmPOWER, an innovative programme that encourages the inculcation of integral soft skills among its student body. EmPOWER is a structured programme encompassing four stages, i.e. Leading Self, Teams, Communities and, finally, Enterprise, with the first stage being compulsory for all Heriot-Watt University Malaysia students.

“EmPOWER allows our students to embark on a personalised learning journey according to their own strengths and interests and, along the way, build the necessary skills to enhance their employability,” elaborated Professor Mushtak.

To assist SPM, IGCSE or equivalent school leavers and their families in making the right choices that will enable them to achieve their full potential, ensure their future success and enjoy a happy and balanced life, Professor Mushtak will be holding a talk entitled “Today’s Choices, Tomorrow’s Successes: Watt’s Next After SPM?” at 10:30am on 23 March 2019. The event is free of charge, but seating is limited. Visit to register for the event.  

To find out more about Heriot-Watt University Malaysia’s programmes or scholarships on offer, visit its Open Days or during consultation hours from 9am to 5pm on Mondays to Fridays, and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays.  Alternatively, log on to or call +603 8894 3888/e-mail

The university provides ample opportunities for students to hone the critical skills they need to thrive in the 21st century, such as Leadership, Communication, Problem-solving and Team-working skills.

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