SIDMA College Partnerships with Families and Communities Day

November 14th, 2019

SIDMA College Early Childhood Education (ECE) students taking Partnering with Communities and Families (DEC2223), headed by Helory Morisin collaborated with the relevant authorities and schools to conduct SIDMA College Partnerships with Families and Communities Day at SIDMA Atrium on 09 November 2019.

The event advisor and facilitator, Miss Jila Bingalun, explained that the event act as a platform for these ECE students to interact with SIDMA surrounding community and beyond, the people, the families and things associated with teaching and learning; extending their horizons to develop positive attitudes, skills and knowledge they need to become effective future ECE teachers.

These ECE students need to understand that their role is not just to be teachers on the classroom, but more importantly, it is their responsibility to interact positively with their school children, to build healthy relationships, as well to perform their role models by providing the necessary guidance to their students. In order to enable them to perform effectively, they need to help their school to collaborate with its communities, particularly parents; and it’s such partnerships that a school teacher can reflect, understand, built sympathy and empathy, and thus able to help to meet the needs of all these school children of their care.

In order to build such partnership with parents, teachers need to respect and value parents’ knowledge, and insights about their children. Likewise, parents too need to respect and value teachers’ knowledge and insights about the learning process and understanding children’s educational needs. True partnerships are based on mutual respect. Thus it is important for teachers to build bridges in order to work together so as to ensure that children are safe and healthy. Ultimately, schools, families, and community members need to recognize their common goals to be able to collaborate together to provide children with enrich and supportive learning environment.

During the one day event at SIDMA College, more than 50 parents accompanied their children mainly from Sri Kandi Nursery and Kindergarten, Kota Kinabalu and Sunday School Angel Kids Penampang and their respective teachers participated in the event. With the assistance from their parents and school teachers, the students showcased the ability in musical creative movements as well as singing.

Various fun-based activities such as tossing ping pong balls, dizzy walk, throwing rings, hunt & match, coloring competition, and singing competition for kids and adult were organized by SIDMA ECE students. The winners from each of the respective events received prizes sponsored by various individuals from the communities.

Prof Dr Morni Hj Kambrie (Chairman and Founder of SIDMA College), and Madam Azizah Khalid Merican were very impressed with SIDMA ECE students’ abilities to conduct such activities with minimal intervention. They too conveyed their appreciation to various head of schools who have sent their kids and teachers to support SIDMA’s activities. They too convey their appreciation to all SIDMA staff particularly the ECE lecturers for their willingness to come to the college on Saturday (public holiday) to conduct the planned activities with the students

Through such activities with schools, parents and their kids, they commented that this is a good evidence that SIDMA College is friendly and welcoming to family members and having easier time with its staff and students. Thus, they reiterate the need of schools and teachers to always offer good, frequent, and user-friendly communication as well as to provide good after-school activities that involve parents and organizations.

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SMK Pitas II Students Visited SIDMA College Sabah

November 14th, 2019

Despite having a tight education tour schedule for the 78 Form Four SMK Pitas II students who have been so excited to have a peep at SIDMA College Sabah, managed to pay a short visit to the campus on 13 November 2019. Earlier the students were given the opportunity to organise a two days study tour to Kota Kinabalu; visiting institutions of higher learning, places of educational interest, zoo and more.

In his welcoming speech, Prof Dr Morni Hj Kambrie, Chairman and Founder of the SIDMA College, sincerely thanked the students for picking SIDMA College Sabah as one of their destination during this short study tour. He shared to the students that SIDMA College are offering various programs of studies ranging from Foundation Studies, Diploma, Bachelor and Masters Programs; in various discipline such Early Childhood Education, Occupational Safety and Health, Education, Management, Finance and more. Dr Morni sincerely welcomed SPM / STPM school leavers to continue their study here.

Dr Morni, who has develop deep concern for Malaysian young students’, advised them to always be on track with their school work, understand, share and support the concerned teachers, and their school to ensure the success in their studies. He reminded them that their key responsibilities as students is to pay full attention to their teachers during classes, listening and following their advice; as well as advice from parents, grandparents and relatives; and more importantly, willing to work extra hard in their studies to achieve excellence in their studies. While in school, he reminded them to seize opportunities available and develop their full potentials: talents, skills, values and intellectual in order to help them in solving the most difficult problem they might encounter if future.

He advised these students to find out which field of studies that they are interested in and seek advices from their respective school counsellor, in order to determine and prepare themselves for excellent career that will match well with their academic studies. He too advised these students to make good use of financial assistance such scholarship, study loan (PTPTN), etc. provided by the government to finance their tertiary education.

Earlier upon their arrival, the students lead by their school teachers were welcomed by Mr Terence B. Stephens (Head, Students Affairs Department), officers from the Corporate Marketing and Business Development, as well as the Students Representative Council (SRC).

Various motivational talks, fun-based activities, singing and more were exchanged during their short stay. SMK Pitas II students were being introduced and briefed on SIDMA College background, its basic facilities available such as the library and resource centre, IT Laboratory, Gymnasium, lectures and tutorial rooms, and others.

The SMK Pitas II students were also invited to visit and participate in the on-going Early Childhood Education and Entrepreneurship week from 7 – 15 November 2019. Various booths promoting various local home-made delicacies such as assorted cookies, preserved fruits, food and fruit juice; local arts and crafts and more were displayed for sales.

The guests were later invited to have their lunch at Mus Kitchen Restaurant prior to continuing the tour the next destination.

SIDMA College collaborating with Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (UNIRAZAK) Kuala Lumpur, under the dynamic leadership of Prof Morni Hj Kambrie and Madam Azizah Khalid Merican (CEO) prides itself as being the first private institution of higher learning in Sabah, offering various accredited and affordable courses ranging from Foundation Studies, Diploma Programmes, Bachelor Degrees and Masters Programme such as:

  • Master of Management
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Bachelor of Education (Hons)
  • Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Hons)
  • Bachelor of English (Hons)
  • Diploma in Early Childhood Education
  • Diploma in Management
  • Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health.

SIDMA College UNIRAZAK Sabah November 2019 Intake of new students is now in progress. SPM/STPM Diploma school leavers are warmly welcomed to visit the College, located at Jalan Bundusan, 88300 KOTA KINABALU for more information and registration. For enquiries, please call SIDMA Hotlines: 088-732 000 or 088-732 020 or you may contact via Whatsapp 013-865 4877.

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Pursuing courses to keep pace with digital advances

November 13th, 2019
Graduates need to equip themselves with digital know-how and hybrid skills to meet the needs of the changing job market.. NSTP/SALHANI IBRAHIM

THE advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) calls for a shift in workforce demands. Graduates need the right skills to navigate more automation and ground-breaking technologies in the workplace.

Nurturing graduates with marketable skills is more than important with this technological change, said Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Talent and Digital Entrepreneurship vice-president Sumitra Nair.

“As IR 4.0 continues to grow, the adoption of digital technologies in Malaysia is expanding the demand for digital tech jobs. Tech talent growth is a fundamental priority for the nation to march forward as a digital nation.”

Malaysian universities are introducing new courses and revamping existing ones to keep pace with digital advances.

Higher Ed looks at degree programmes in three emerging fields — artificial intelligence, data analytics and digital marketing — that make graduates more likely to gain employment upon graduation.

AI programmes equip students with digital skills to be future-ready.


Serving as a driving force of IR 4.0, Artificial Intelligence is a branch of computer science which looks into developing machines with human intelligence.

Universiti Malaya’s Bachelor of Computer Science in Artificial Intelligence programme introduced in 1997 is the pioneering programme in the nation. It aims to enable students to develop computer systems that emulate and exhibit human intelligence.

Students are provided with in-depth knowledge to transform large amounts of data into actionable decisions.

UM Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology dean Professor Datin Dr Sameem Abdul Kareem said: “The main focus of the programme is how complex inputs such as vision, language and huge databases can be used to enhance human capabilities.

“Students will acquire the skills to create AI systems and use data to connect humans, physical tools and the digital world in line with IR 4.0. Such skills including analytical thinking, problem-solving and proficiency in data mining and analysis will open doors to a diverse range of industries.

“The curriculum equips students with the skills and knowledge to carry out predictive analytics, digital monitoring and control as well as robotics, among others. Students learn machine learning which enables predictions to be made based on large amounts of data, pre-empting a system failure or predicting fraud.”

She added that the programme prepares students for the digital working world.

“Aside from proficiency in data analytics and critical thinking, AI solutions require a flair in creativity. These skills are needed to create smart workspaces which enhance collaborative work activities, and provide a space for individual concentration.

“Graduates can apply AI technologies to solve problems in the competitive working environment,” said Sameem.

UCSI University is introducing its Bachelor of Computer Engineering in Artificial Intelligence programme in January next year.

UCSI Faculty of Engineering, Technology and Built Environment dean Associate Professor Dr Ang Chun Kit said: “Fundamental knowledge of IR 4.0 areas including autonomous robots, system integration, Internet of Things, cybersecurity and big data are covered in our programme.”

Compared to the conventional computer science degree, Ang feels that this programme is more practical.

“Through the courses offered, students will be exposed to key areas in AI. They will experience learning and working at the computer engineering and AI laboratories.

“Students are equipped with the knowledge required to meet the demands and challenges posed in IR 4.0. Aside from the core theoretical foundations, this programme provides advanced algorithmic, statistical and computer engineering knowledge.”

Digital transformation is inevitable and AI graduates are in demand.

“This AI programme at UCSI University is catered for students to be equipped with a greater understanding of AI applications. With the understanding of AI history, functionality and challenges, students will possess the relevant skill set to not only participate, but also be the frontrunners of digital transformation at the workplace and beyond,” he added

Ang Chun Kit.


According to the Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management, data analysis are among the jobs of the future.

“By the year 2020, Malaysia will require 20,000 data professionals. To date, more than 14,000 talents have been trained with the data science skill-set,” said Sumitra.

Universiti Sains Malaysia is the first public university in the country to offer the Bachelor of Management (Business Analytics), developed in collaboration with MDEC.

“This collaboration is in line with preparing industry-ready graduates and equipping them with big data skills. MDEC, together with experts from various industries, provided input for the curriculum,” she said.

IR 4.0 calls for gold collar talent, USM School of Management dean Professor Dr Noor Hazlina Ahmad said. “With increasing demand for skilled data analysts in Malaysia, USM has recognised the urgency to prepare graduates who are adept at computing and analytics for IR 4.0. They will be geared towards solving business challenges and employing data-driven decisions.”

Noor Hazlina further added that partnering with MDEC is significant due to its focus in propelling the nation’s digital economy into IR 4.0. “The foresight of MDEC and its reservoir of experiences have provided the direction, emphasis and contents to assist USM in crafting the courses. MDEC’s industry networks have given insights to our programme to efficiently transform students into a skilled workforce.”

With the rapid development of IR 4.0, she said that business analysts with hybrid skills are a strategic necessity for all companies.

“Hybrid talent are those with a combination of tech skills such as computing and analytics as well as soft skills namely leadership, adaptability and entrepreneurship. The programme empowers graduates to run the technical side of business, comprehend data and communicate clearly at the customer interface.”

Noor Hazlina said that organisations are looking for hybrid talent to manage end-to-end processes.

“A hybrid skill set facilitates continual learning, reskilling and upskilling in the dynamic IR 4.0 business environment. This enables participation in digital transformation.”

Sunway University Business School will start its Bachelor of Business Analytics (BBA), beginning January next year.

IR 4.0 drives us to a new world, said Sunway University Business Analytics Department head Professor Hwang Ha Jin.

“A new world requires new thinking, new strategies, and new approaches. The BBA programme provides students with a comprehensive curriculum encompassing the major components of IR 4.0 such as IoT, cloud computing, big data, and machine learning.”

Hwang highlighted the fact that students will be able to transform data into powerful and predictive insights to respond to the global Big Data Revolution.

“They will build skills and knowledge required to maintain a competitive edge in the digital era. The programme also instils critical thinking, creative ideas and innovative approaches to solve business problems,” he added.

According to Hwang, Business Analytics was developed to face arising issues in IR 4.0.

“The Harvard Business Review named data scientist as the sexiest job of the 21st century. To be sexy is to be modern, creative, innovative, flexible and agile. Business analysts solve problems by utilising insights from big data to help companies become more innovative and competitive.”

Disruptions are expected, he added.

“To survive in the digital era, creativity and innovation are crucial. Critical thinking, analytical skills and IT skills gained through our BBA programme will help students maintain a professional competency in IR 4.0 and become leaders to pave the way for IR 5.0.”

Hwang pointed out that recent workplace trends show new growth opportunities and organisations will require new talents. “BBA graduates are expected to contribute by, firstly, helping to align processes with business needs and transform organisations to be agile. They will also eliminate ineffectiveness and help businesses plan better. More importantly, they can build the culture of a proactive organisation.”

In September, UM introduced its Bachelor of Computer Science in Data Science aimed at producing analytical-driven graduates.

Sameem explained: “They will be able to apply cutting-edge technology and sophisticated data analysis algorithms, while harnessing the power of data to transform the world. Students will acquire hard skills, namely programming, statistics and modeling as well as soft skills such as critical thinking which are essential for IR 4.0.

“Aside from the ability to apply computing techniques, graduates will have an entrepreneurial mindset to solve the pressing challenges

of businesses.”

The programme follows the 2u2i concept which requires undergraduates to study on campus for two years, and undergo an industrial internship for the remaining years.

UM is also collaborating with analytics expert, SAS Institute and the Center of Applied Data Science.

Sameem said: “The memorandum of agreement with SAS will provide students a SAS Joint Certificate while CADS will provide a suitable internship placement.”


The digital economy requires businesses to master digital marketing to be competitive. The introduction of Bachelor of Arts in Marketing Management with a specialisation in Digital Marketing at Asia Pacific University is timely to fill the needs of the job market, said School of Marketing and Media head Dr Devinder Kaur Sarjit.

Devinder said: “According to Jobstreet’s Job Outlook 2019, digital marketing is one of the top five digital skills sought after by Malaysian employers.”

This programme will cultivate hybrid skills among graduates. “In the changing technology landscape, more companies are looking for talents with hybrid skills. For example, employees in traditionally technology-based jobs will need to acquire soft skills to adapt to change and develop new products and services. It’s vice versa for business and management-related fields.

“In Industry 4.0, important skills are classified into four categories namely ICT knowledge, data analytics, technical know-how and personal skills. This programme will expose marketing students to the hands-on skills needed to excel,” said Devinder.

“Students will acquire the ability to critically evaluate as well as recommend appropriate digital tools and techniques in utilising the plethora of social media platforms to optimise market potential,” she added.

Maybank executive vice-president and Talent Attraction and Workplace Futurisation head Sophia Ang Wui Jiun said that collaboration with industry players is needed.

“Jobs are changing rapidly so we need to prepare our talents to be agile and adaptable.Many universities provide expanded curriculum to equip students with digital know-how. They co-design programmes with industries to enable hands-on experiences in a real working environment.”

Sunway University’s Business School is doing just that by putting an emphasis on internships and industry linkages to produce future-ready graduates. The School’s Bachelor of Science in Marketing programme offers courses in digital marketing with most of its marketing subjects linked with the industry.

Sunway Business School Marketing programme leader Dr Izian Idris said: “The programme caters mainly for different types of marketing techniques aligned with IR4.0 with courses like integrated marketing communications.

“Students will gain skills such as creating ads digitally and social media marketing. Not only are most of the marketing subjects linked with the industry, they are also aligned with the current industrial needs to prepare students for the workforce.

“Our students have completed internships at top companies namely Google Malaysia, Leo Burnett, and many digital marketing companies.

“Aside from industry-led marketing competitions, our department also has many events such as Marketing Day, Marketing Showcase and Digital Expo where students are encouraged to participate. Next year, our Marketing showcase will involve digital advertising for students to display their talent in advertising.”

By Rayyan Rafidi.

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What Singapore teaches us about succession planning.

November 12th, 2019

THREE years ago, while delivering a live televised National Day speech, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shocked audiences when he started to keel over.

Lee, then 64 years old, was quickly rushed backstage where a team of doctors attended to him.

He returned to the rostrum almost 90 minutes later, to a standing ovation, and the cancer survivor attributed the episode to fatigue and heat.

He continued his speech and highlighted that what the audience witnessed was a stark reality of everyone’s mortality and the need to be prepared.

“What just happened makes it even more important to talk about succession,” he said.

Lee and the People’s Action Party (PAP), the ruling party in Singapore, quickly put in place a succession plan where it was decided at the party level to anoint Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat as successor.

Heng was elected deputy president of PAP and Lee appointed him the country’s sole deputy prime minister – the prime minister designate – doing away with the traditional two deputy premier posts.

This sent the message to party members, Singaporeans and investors that should there be a sudden vacancy at the top, there will be someone – a specific person – to step in and take over the reins.

These calmed investors and the Singapore Stock Exchange saw improvements.

Heng, a stroke victim himself, was also assured of a capable team to assist him during and after the transition. This was seen in the Cabinet reshuffles and party endorsements.

Lee also demonstrated that he was empowering Heng for the top job by stepping out of the spotlight at national and international meetings and events to allow his successor to shine.

This includes giving way to Heng to co-chair the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) between Singapore and China, an annual forum that maps the direction of Singapore-China relations.

This not only would help Heng to ease into his role as prime minister but also allow the public, businesses, investors and foreign leaders to be familiar with Heng and his style.

“I think it is very important to try to plan ahead and to arrange for orderly political succession,” Lee had told a global forum recently, adding that he plans to hand over the reins within 18 months after the next election.

This timeline, he said, was to give his successor the time to build his team as well as the confidence of the people.

Lee’s neighbours in the north are having their own muddled version of a succession plan.

The man set to take over as the eighth prime minister is not yet in Cabinet.

The current Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, continues to give mixed messages over his commitment to hand over the reins to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Dr Mahathir, who is six years shy of a century in age, has said on many occasions that Anwar will take over, although this commitment has been peppered with caveats.

And most recently in an interview with The Financial Times on Nov 8, he said he will not step down until he has resolved the problems facing the country.

This is extremely vague. Which country has no problems?

And he repeats the mantra: there is no actual date or time mentioned for him to step down.

Despite constant reassurances that “Anwar will succeed me” (a similar statement he made 20 years ago), Dr Mahathir went6 on to tell the Times that: “I have made many mistakes in appointing my successors, so I don’t want to make another mistake this time”.

By Terence Fernandez

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Another form of addiction

November 12th, 2019

Dr Muhsin says bullies may be unable to regulate their own behaviour and subsequently become impulsive.

BULLYING can happen anywhere, from the home to social media platforms.

Part one looked at how bullying can happen to anyone, anywhere and anytime. It most likely happens in school, in the workplace, and a place one would least expect – home considered a “safe zone” by most people.

Creativity at Heart co-founder and child therapist Priscilla Ho says the main reason bullying happens at home, or anywhere, is because of messed-up family relationships and dynamics.

But what about in school and beyond the school compound such as cyberbullying?

Bullies are made, not born

As how some parents project expectations onto their offspring, children who may not know how to cope and deal with their emotions and frustrations, would project it onto fellow students.

“Most of the time, children who become bullies are experiencing hurt or bullying as well. Seeing someone else getting hurt is a release of their own pain and feelings, ” says Ho who often conducts anti-bullying workshops with children.

Bullying, she stresses, is a learned behaviour with the intent to harm repetitively when there is a power imbalance. It is also a choice a child makes.“Bullying happens and when a child chooses to take part in a particularly harmful activity and does not stop despite seeing that they are causing harm, ” she notes.

However, the root cause does not lie with the child who is only a product of his or her upbringing.

Ho says most of the time, children who become bullies are experiencing hurt or bullying as well.Ho says most of the time, children who become bullies are experiencing hurt or bullying as well.

“An increasing amount of research is showing that bullying behaviors are developed between toddler and preschool years and further ingrained into a child’s communication style as they continue to progress through primary to secondary school with the behavior unchecked, ” says Ho.

Noting that most bullies are completely unaware of how they are perceived (as a bully), Ho adds that most bullies also have low self-esteem.“The bullying behavior is typically fostered at a very young age. A difficult upbringing can result in low self-esteem, when coupled with aggressive behavior, can create a child who not only lacks communication skills, but feels the need to defend themselves constantly.

“It’s due to this that so many bullies are able to make peace with what they do. They see threats and insults everywhere they look, and in their eyes, everyone else is asking for it. They lash out as a defence mechanism, and then often seek out ‘weaker’ victims to bolster their own sense of superiority, ” she shares.

Universiti Malaya (UM) Department of Psychological Medicine Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Muhsin Ahmad Zahari explains that a bully may be unable to self regulate their own behaviour and subsequently becomes impulsive, which can lead to physical bullying.

“Bullies want to subdue and dominate another person so they may have a sense of emotional relief after seeing victims suffer emotionally, ” says Dr Muhsin who is also Malaysian Psychiatric Association vice presidentEight in 10 kids face bullyingAccording to Unicef’s Children4Change Survey 2018, an astonishing eight out of 10 surveyed claimed they have encountered bullying in schools.

Administered both online and offline, the nationwide survey – which involved over 2,000 children below the age of 18 – was part of the Kindness Project by the Education Ministry, WOMEN:girls and Unicef.

The survey found that 70% of children had witnessed a peer being made fun of because of how they looked, dressed or walked.

It is also reported that bystanders would intervene by either asking the bully to stop (51%), approach a teacher (46%) or tell a friend (43%).

A total 27% of the respondents were victims of humiliating name calling.

Another 16% were victims of hurtful rumours. Others were bullied through digital platforms, purposely excluded or isolated from their peers, and even physically threatened or hurt.

It was noted that one in two children identified the classroom as a venue for such bullying incidents.

Older children are more likely to have been bullied online, with about a third of those aged 16 to 17, saying they have experienced cyber-bullying.

About 17% of the respondents called for a national anti-bullying law, anti-bullying school policies to be put in place and also educational school programmes to counter bullying.

The Children4Change Survey was carried out to better understand the children’s experiences of bullying from bystanders, victims and bullies’ standpoints, and to determine the types of intervention that children feel would create a safe environment that could protect them from bullying.

A form of addiction

Besides having an outlet to release feelings of hurt and frustration built up from elsewhere, bullies get a thrill out of asserting power.

The million ringgit question is, is bullying behaviour addictive? In Malaysian Mental Health Association president Prof Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj’s opinion, yes it is.

“In most cases, bullying can become addictive because gratification comes in the form of displaying such power, ” he says.Dr Andrew stresses that bullying is a primitive display of power that shouldn’t be tolerated.

Ho agrees saying that bullying becomes a bad habit of the bully so that he or she feels good after asserting power on another.

“They need to feel in charge of someone and to be in control of something. By having a say in someone else’s day, it helps them cope with not having a say in their own.

“If they’ve had a tumultuous upbringing with a lot of big changes that were completely out of their control, they might lash out and assert their dominance over others as a means of coping.

“Major changes and volatile circumstances can make a child feel vulnerable. Hence, they turn to others to victimise in an effort to protect themselves, ” explains Ho.

Dr Muhsin, however, opines that while the bully might have emotional distress and which can be relieved by watching others suffer, not all bullies get the thrill through their victims’ suffering.

“In fact, the most fearful bullies do not feel any sympathy with the victim, ” he says.Seeking out the bullied

When bullied, children may not be able to communicate their fears directly to adults.Instead, Dr Andrew says bullied children (in the primary school age group) usually show symptoms such as refusing to go to school, throwing tantrums and bed-wetting.

“However, symptoms might be more difficult to identify among older bullied children as they tend to be less forthcoming. One common indicator would be a sudden drop in academic performance, ” he says, adding that self-withdrawal is another symptom to look out for.

Noting that it is important for students themselves to identify that they are being bullied, Ho advises students to know their self-worth and be alert towards physical and non-physical “attacks”.

She says a direct physical punch on another student, verbal attacks such as name calling, and emotional attacks such as taking away one’s items (books, stationery); putting sand or waste into another’s drinking bottle; telling others not to “friend” a particular student; spreading rumours; hurtful messages on social media and in person, are all forms of bullying.

“Teachers should be able to identify victims of bullying as they tend to be isolated, keep to themselves, have no friends – which may result in the child halting school, ” says Ho.

Dr Muhsin says teachers and parents should look out for unusual behaviours as they could be indicators of being bullied.

“They may become more sensitive or socially withdrawn. The student might be secretive about the perpetrators as fear and anxiety may be predominant, ” he notes.

Pointing out that the long term effects of being bullied include higher risk of mental illnesses and affected emotional development, Dr Muhsin says victims are usually those who are emotional and would easily break down.

“Bullies would target those who are physically weaker (smaller in size, younger age); have learning disabilities, mental problems such as depression; cannot fit in with the majority of friends; and those with gender problems, among others, ” shares Dr Muhsin.

Pulling the plug on bullies

Bullies gain satisfaction from victims’ reactions, which would usually be sad and scared.

They are intent on upsetting or angering victims just for the sake of “taking away power”.

If you show them you are not sad and scared, they will often lose interest and the bully will lose their own power.

Dr Muhsin says avoiding the “wrong crowd” can limit bullying that could potentially happen.

“Do not mix with groups which show unhealthy relationship towards each other such as exclusion, name calling or physical violence, ” he says.

Another method to make a bully lose interest in the victim is to refrain from reacting emotionally – which could provoke the situation further – and getting the adults involved.

“Informing teachers and parents about what happened can enable can enable quick intervention to stop the bully from inflicting more harm onto others, ” says Dr Muhsin.

Dr Andrew says bullying can become addictive as gratification is in the form of displaying such power.Dr Andrew says bullying can become addictive as gratification is in the form of displaying such power.

Meanwhile, Dr Andrew believes that standing up to a bully and reporting the incident is the most definite way to make the bully lose interest in the victim.

“School children must be made to embrace the concept that bullying is ‘not cool’ and reporting it is the right thing to do, ” he says.

Schools, he adds, must adopt an anti bullying policy and students must be told of the consequences of their actions.

“This is particularly true of residential schools where being bullied (hazing) is taken as part of being toughened up in life. Unfortunately in Malaysia, school bullying has become a systemic problem, partly because of the principle of zero tolerance on bullying is not seen to be institutionalised.

“Adding to this challenge is the reality that bullying among school children has been taken out of the school compound – with cyberbullying among students from the same school, thereby creating a nexus between school bullying and cyberbullying, ” Dr Andrew points out.Ho suggests ignoring the bully and refraining from fighting back is the best way to lose the bully’s interest.

“If it doesn’t work, report to the teacher and also let parents know. Tell the bully face-to-face that I am not for bullying. Why not be friends instead?” says Ho.

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University of the year for student experience.

November 12th, 2019

THE University of Dundee has been named University of the Year for Student Experience by The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020.

This title confirms that University of Dundee is one of the best places in the United Kingdom to be a student.

It follows the university being placed fourth in the UK for overall satisfaction in this year’s National Student Survey, while Dundee was also named the Best Place to Live in Scotland by the Sunday Times earlier this year. Furthermore, the university was ranked second in the UK and sixth globally in the most recent International Student Barometer.

Dundee University Students’ Association (DUSA) president Josh Connor said, “This award won’t be surprising for anyone who studies at the University of Dundee. We are a community, a family, and that is why our student experience is the best in the UK, because we look out for each other.

“I’m proud of the integral role that DUSA plays in enhancing the student experience. We are in constant communication with the university about what is going well for students, but also what isn’t going well. This partnership of collaboration helps us to achieve the best possible student experience.”

Students said the quality of teaching, strong student representation, the friendly nature of a campus set in the heart of the city, the variety of life offered both on campus and off, and even the weather all contributed to Dundee being a great place to study.

Pursue your studies at University of Dundee in the UK for the best student experience.Pursue your studies at University of Dundee in the UK for the best student experience.

The university’s Malaysian Society president Kexin See agreed with that assessment, saying, “I love the fact that the University of Dundee is located near the city centre and everything is within walking distance. The teaching staff are friendly and they are happy to help whenever you need it. In lecture and workshops, they are engaging and always interact with students.

“Dundee is a small city with a very student-friendly environment. During the weekend, I will go to places in Dundee where I can relax and enjoy a picturesque view. The hills, parks and beaches are the perfect places to spend my free time to have a picnic or just to have a sunrise or sunset walk.”

Federica Chiti, a 20-year-old third-year Physics with Astrophysics student, from Italy, said, “What I love about Dundee is that you are not a number, you are a name. The staff are so friendly and they go above and beyond in helping you with your studies.

“When I first came here, I was afraid of the accent but actually I had nothing to fear, everyone is so friendly and when you study here you meet new friends from all over the globe which is amazing because you get to share your culture and passions. Having students from all these different corners of the planet is just amazing, Dundee is like my staircase to the universe.”

Student representation in university matters is very strong at Dundee, through a partnership agreement renewed every year between the university and DUSA. This ensures students are represented at every level of the university’s decision-making structure and are full members of panels for all senior management appointments.

Professor Blair Grubb, Education vice-principal added that, “This award shows that Dundee is one of the best places in the UK to be a student. This is something our students have consistently said in the major surveys of universities, where we are ranked highly in comparison to other universities in the UK and internationally.

“Our priority is to offer our students the best experience we can, to make them feel welcome, safe and enabled to realise their potential. We do that by working very closely with the Students’ Association and with the support of great staff across the university.”

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Welcome competitive advantage Gen Z brings

November 11th, 2019

Currently, the workplace is a highly diverse and interesting environment comprising a few generations who present myriad characteristics. That said, organisations should shift their focus to the youngest group in the workforce, post-Millennials, known as Generation Z or simply Gen Z. Unicef broadly defines this tech-savvy generation as those born after 1995.

This is a generation raised on internet and smartphones and, hence, very comfortable with electronic communication and interaction. In short, they live and breathe technology. They use digital tools and quickly adapt to new devices. They are intelligent, brave, practical and fast, often requiring less supervision. However, it has been suggested that Gen Z has an attention span of merely eight seconds!

With the early Gen Z now in their twenties and rapidly joining the employment market, questions on this generation’s values and workplace expectations need to be addressed. First, Gen Z job-seekers tend to use Linkedln in their search for employment. Apart from the expected active-ness on social networking sites such as Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, they favour Linkedln to build their “brand” and make their presence known in the job market, according to a study on graduating Gen Z students. Personal branding – being able from the outset to naturally identify and showcase their prominent dispositions to interested employers – is highly instinctive for them.

This is a generation who – despite or because of growing up in a world conscious of terrorism and public fear, due to acts of terrorism and mass violence – believe that they can make a difference in the world. Gen Z possess greater awareness and support diversity, equality and inclusivity. Therefore, in their search for the ideal job, they are attracted to organisations with a cause – a company that is socially responsible and actively contributing to the betterment of society and/or the environment. Once they find an organisation that matches their values, they will be focused and highly committed in their job. It is unsurprising that they are then willing to settle for lesser pay to work in a company that champions causes they believe in. In other words, Gen Z find such non-financial rewards more attractive.

In line with this characteristic, many organisations now practise sustainable human resource management, where the sustainability agenda is delivered through workers, including Gen Z. This creates a win-win situation of person-organisation fit, in which 1) the organisation becomes more ethical and socially and/or environmentally responsible, while 2) drawing potential Gen Z employees.

Another appealing point of this up-and-coming generation is how driven they are – often setting high expectations of themselves and of their employers. Having witnessed the stereotyping of Gen Y, this succeeding generation strives to uphold their own professional brand and prove that they are equally capable when they are offline. Based on extensive studies conducted by Ranstad US as well as Corey Seemiller and Meghan Grace, authors of Generation Z Goes to College, Gen Z students have high entrepreneurial spirit and some have intentions to be self-employed upon graduating. What is striking is that this preference for entrepreneurship is not just a conscious choice but rather a mechanism for survival in today’s world, having come of age during the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

Opportunities that explore and encourage the use of technology are also what Gen Z look for in their work. Spending an average of three hours a day on social media, this generation is innately keen on and capable of accessing online materials, particularly social media, in getting the job done. Despite that, they are generally more aware of online privacy issues, having learnt from Gen Y the risks of over-exposure and divulgences on the internet. Such combined superior technical and language proficiency, along with their online security risk savviness, suggest that they indeed add value to the workforce.

In addition, Gen Z prefer hands-on activities as they focus on acquiring skills necessary for their career. Two unique aspects of this generation are: 1) observation before trying out something themselves, such as viewing videos on YouTube or other social media video-sharing sites, and 2) broader application of their knowledge.

They also enjoy playing games and thus, find the gamification of tasks highly appealing. A focus on how jobs can be gamified so as to hold their attention and enthusiasm is the way to go. Compared with their Gen Y and Gen X predecessors, Gen Z are stronger in the field of IT or creative works, and they perform poorly in monotonous activities. Instead, jobs that allow autonomy and individuality are ideal.

Furthermore, Gen Z expect to receive instant feedback at work. They are bolder and want their ideas to be heard. They will only engage in teamwork when forced to, unlike Gen Y who believe in the power of collaborative efforts. Then again, Gen Z are more eager to share knowledge compared to Gen Y, albeit online rather than face to face.

To sum up, Gen Z job-seekers favour workplace flexibility, immediate job satisfaction and recognition, as well as careers that allow them to reap immediate rewards or progression. These are distinctive and highly independent people who are happiest when their work has significant social impact, and are confident using technology in general and social media in particular. Let us welcome them to the workforce and embrace the competitive advantage they bring to organisations!

By: Dr Liew Su Ann, a lecturer at Sunway University Business School.

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Stop reprimanding Gen Y for mistakes

November 11th, 2019

OVER the years, I have had the pleasure of dealing and growing with the Gen Y, which is mainly attributed to my career as an educator.

I also run training sessions on Creating a Generation Action Plan (G.A.P) at the workplace and have had the pleasure of listening to views from different generations about the Gen Y. But let us take a step back and understand why the Gen Y are the way they are.

In one recent training session one participant highlighted that the generation that is critical of the other is the same one that raised them.

We are products of our predecessors. Having said this, I would like to bring your attention to the story of Lucy. Many would have read about Lucy on social media and the internet so, let me summarise it here.

Lucy is part of Generation Y, the generation born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s.

Lucy also makes up the Gen Y Protagonists and Special Yuppies (GYPSY) who think they are a main character of a special story.

So Lucy’s enjoying her GYPSY life, and she’s very pleased to be Lucy. However, Lucy is unhappy. To understand why, we need to unearth what makes someone happy, which brings us to this simple formula:

Happiness = Reality-Expectations

It’s rather straightforward: when the reality of someone’s life is better than they had expected, they’re happy. When reality turns out to be worse than the expectations, they’re unhappy.

With a transient, more positive life experience than that of their own parents, Lucy’s parents (weighed down with infants and a mortgage) raised Lucy with bounds of optimism and unbounded possibility. And they weren’t alone. Baby boomers all around the country told their Gen Y children that the sky was the limit, instilling the special protagonist identity deep within their psyches.

This left GYPSYs feeling tremendously hopeful about their careers, to the point where their parents’ goals of a green lawn of secure prosperity didn’t really do it for them. A GYPSY-worthy lawn has flowers.

Amid these challenges, the Gen Y have to grapple between reality and expectations. Some have survived while many are still coming to terms with reality and through this ardous process have fallen into the jaws of debt.

However, admirably, being force fed the mentality that passion should guide their career pursuit by the predeceasing generations, Gen Ys have subjected themselves to a “Hustle” mentality.

Tons of Gen Ys are launching start-ups becoming their own employers in lieu of working for “the man”.

While the dream is free, the hustle is sold separately. This hustle mentality has led Gen Y to become the “slasher generation”. They are no longer simply a journalist or server or an engineer. They are a barista, a screenwriter or even a dog groomer.

An accountant might do web design in his spare time or a bartender may be the author of a budding foodie blog. Such confidence and risk was never reflected among the Boomers or Gen X, who were not risk takers or probably, complacent with their times.

Personally, I am a firm believer in the idea that making mistakes is important, if not fundamental for personal development. While we may have our flaws, we need time to learn what they are before we can learn from them.

So maybe it’s time we stop chastising the younger generation for the mistakes that haven’t even been made yet and applaud what they bring to the table. As singer Kanye West said, It’s time for the rest of the world to stop musing over “back in the day”, because … “Homey, this is my day!”

By: R Murali Rajaratenam.

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Putting their house in order

November 10th, 2019

WE are not the main loan regulating body, PTPK chairman K. Saraswathy said.

Many students in private training providers are led to believe that PTPK is responsible for providing them with financial aid to pursue their studies.

Correcting this misperception, Saraswathy said it is not the only agency that provides financial assistance to TVET students.

“We are just another avenue.

“We only provide loans to students enrolled in skilled training centres registered under the Human Resources Ministry’s Department of Skills Development (JPK).”

When PTPK was established under JPK, it was set up to provide financial aid for students enrolled in public institutes under the Manpower Department and Industrial Training Institutes which run diploma programmes.

“This funding mechanism was only allocated for institutes under the Human Resources Ministry because courses in the eight other ministries were free.

“However, six months after the Cabinet’s approval, the government reviewed PTPK and decided to open the funding to private entities, ” he added.

While there are other agencies that provide student loans to private training providers, Saraswathy said PTPK has become the preferred organisation to disburse loans.

“We have a fee structure for each programme and this has become a reference for other agencies when they give out financial assistance.

“So it looks as if PTPK leads the loan funding for skilled training and therefore the misperception.”

It is estimated that more than 70% of applicants who apply for their financial assistance are students from B40 (low-income) families.

Heavy dependency

While less than 50% of registered private training providers rely on funds from PTPK, StarEdu has learned that a number of providers have based their business model purely on students receiving PTPK loans.

“Our data shows that the number of training providers registered with us have dropped from 410 in 2018 to 367 this year, ” Saraswathy said.

“When we reviewed the allocation criteria, we found that the problem is with the training providers.

“If you rely fully on us, how can your centre operate well? As private training institutes, they are supposed to look at different perspectives or approaches.”

However, she notes that there are hiccups to the system that needs to be looked into.

“We have criteria to ensure the allocation benefits the students. Due to the limited budget we have, we enforced new criteria this year such as employability assurance where training providers must collaborate with the industry on job vacancies that suit their training, ” she said.

“It could be a contributing factor to some training providers saying they’re receiving less allocation – it’s probably because they’re not ready for this approach.

“We are aware of this and are currently doing studies to ensure the allocation can be given to specific programmes and/or industries, and to prioritise the government’s directive.

“Yes, we must give assistance to enterprises to grow (but) it’s not fair for the government to (be responsible for their) funding.”

A clear cut funding mechanism for the private TVET sector is needed

Every year, an allocation of 80% from PTPK’s budget is given to private training providers while only 20% is for public institutes, Saraswathy said.

While the industry has its issues, she does not believe the private sector is ‘broken’.

“You need to look at it from the business perspective. Survival of a training institute is based on the number of students who enrol, ” she added.

However, enrolling students with false expectations that they will receive PTPK loans, causing them to be in debt and subsequently not finish their course is a serious issue, she said.

“There should be one main governing body to overlook funding mechanisms for private TVET institutions, ” she said.

“If the funding mechanism is clear, everyone will replicate it.”

“We currently receive RM200mil a year. If we receive (the desirable) budget, we are ready to take on the challenge of providing loans to every student who applies.

“We will also be comfortable enough to eliminate the quota system and be able to distribute allocation from the start of the year itself. Training providers normally receive their allocation by March, ” she added.

However, she described the situation as a catch-22 because an increase in budget could mean an increase in training providers registering with the corporation for loans.

Federation of JPK Accredited Centres (FeMAC) president P. Sailanathan said that many private training providers are genuine and struggle to make ends meet.

FeMAC is an association comprising members who are accredited private TVET training providers.

According to Sailanathan, the association has more than 350 registered members.

Some centres enrol students and inform them that their loans are subject to approval, he said.

He, however, urged PTPK to give private training providers more time to apply for the allocation quotas.

“I’m not disputing their allegations but the constraint is on our side and within a limited time, we have to do the necessary enrolment, marketing and registration.

“This is a problem we are facing right now, ” he added.

“Since 2016, PTPK’s fund size has reduced to RM200mil while the number of colleges have increased, ” he added.

Sailanathan said Femac’s contention is the lack of money to assist students who want to study.

“We are not blaming anyone as we know that PTPK can only give what is available to them. We are asking for an increase in the size of the fund.

“For Budget 2020, we submitted a proposal to the Finance Ministry for RM1bil for PTPK, ” Sailanathan said.

Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran said students should first check if the training provider and the course they are interested in is registered.

“Students must be more discerning while applying for courses and do some basic research online to see the trends of courses that they are interested in, ” he said, adding that centres give a rosy picture of courses.

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‘Respect and love key to solidarity’

November 10th, 2019
KUALA LUMPUR: Mutual respect, love and justice based on Islamic principles form the recipe for solidarity and harmony in the administration of the country comprising various religions and races, says Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.

In his Royal Address in conjunction with the national-level Maulidur Rasul 1441H/2019 celebration, he said the prophet’s administration emphasised the feelings of love for each other, and could universally be used as a major example to generate solidarity among the people.

Quoting a valid hadis, the King said solidarity would come naturally through the feelings of love and mutual respect among the people regardless of religion, race and ancestry.

“People who love each other would be loved by the Most Merciful. Thus, one should love everyone on earth, so that you would be loved by Those Up Above.

“The Prophet also did not forget and was always in touch with the less fortunate group and the weak to enable them to rise and improve their self-potential and subsequently contribute to society, ” he said at Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

Also present were Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof.

Sultan Abdullah said the Islamic religion emphasised universal brotherhood and called for implementation of justice for everyone regardless of religion and race as this would ensure that the rights of the individual and all communities were always preserved.“This is the teachings of the Most Merciful propagated by the Prophet to be used as an example by leaders and the present generation, ” he said.

The King also expressed confidence that the government would always adopt approaches that would preserve the rights of various religions and races besides continuously assisting the weaker group.At the same time, continuous efforts must be made to control radical ideologies and any form of action that could jeopardise national harmony, said the King.

Before concluding his speech, Sultan Abdullah called on all Muslims to appreciate and practise Islamic teachings and make the Prophet their role model in life.

Muslims across Malaysia enlivened the Maulidur Rasul celebrations this year with parades and the reciting of the selawat (salutation to Prophet Muhammad) in observance of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.

by Bernama
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