Archive for the ‘Colleges / Universities - Issues’ Category

Malaysian universities as preservers of cultures and traditions

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

(File pix) The university as an economic engine, harnessing so-called human capital for a so-called “high performance” culture, is no different from an F1 pit stop.

Nobody talks about universities as preservers of cultures and traditions. Universities talk about tomorrow — necessarily so — but at the expense of yesterday. Discourse on the past is subdued, suppressed, perhaps forgotten. The analogy between universities and museums is unheard of on national campuses. We fear making universities seem too conservative, or too complacent, or too “backward-looking”— a damning phrase from the lexicon of contemporary right-mindedness, though we might, on reflection, have to acknowledge that most of what we reflect on and try to understand is necessarily in the past.

Universities are sustained by the wider world of scholarship and science. The museum is home to all sorts of knowledge advancement—moving beyond what we are conscious of in the country. The museum “gives people their place in things”. Like history, it is to “give the past its place in us”, asahistorian put it.

Universities should enable us to place ourselves in relation to the world. Challenging the idea that universities must show their contribution to economic growth, and pleading for the recognition of the inherent worth of intellectual inquiry is Cambridge University Intellectual History and English Literature Professor Stefan Collini. We do not have to draw from the Cambridge don on the need for universities — we have sufficient voices from the national academic community echoing similar arguments. But these do not get the press they deserve.

In his book, What are Universities for? (2012), Collini presents a spirited, compelling argument for rethinking the way we see universities, and why we need them. He puts a particular case for the humanities, which can seem the most difficult subjects to justify but may be among the most valuable. He provides a debate on the useful and the useless — deriving from the humanities and the larger human sciences itself.

Universities can be likened to museums and galleries. But museums are not fashionable. People and university spokespersons are less likely to offer that comparison. But what lies at the heart of the university is closer to the nature of a museum or gallery. We seem to forget the campus. Instead, students and academics are urged to “look at the real world” out there. Most of what we reflect on and try to understand is necessarily the past.

Collini makes a comparison between the research laboratory and the museum in respect of their relation to time, where the former is seen as oriented towards the future and to discover while the latter is concerned with the past and with preservation. The familiar contrast obscures not just the ways in which a museum expresses constantly changing relations to human understanding and is the home to all kinds of advances in knowledge, but, more importantly, the ways in which any scientific community is embedded in, indeed partly constituted by, the practices and observations of its predecessors.

Both universities and museums do not exist in a vacuum. They require a very extensive cultural infrastructure, including not only the education needed for curators and conservers and researchers, but also the wider world of scholarship and science which sustains them. And by science, it means the production of knowledge in its philosophical, sociological and historical ramifications. It has been argued that precisely why the question “What are museums/galleries for?” can be helpful in thinking about universities is because it reminds us that the answers do not depend just on the interests of the current generation. All conservation, all transmission (of knowledge) and all enquiry are implicitly governed by their relation to the future.

Finding one’s place in time and space, in the scheme of things, is not only confined to the humanities, but to the whole set of enquiries in physics, astronomy, sociology, anthropology, even architecture and history, and literature and philosophy. In this sense, universities and museums have something in common — it has to do with ourselves and our relations to the world.

by A Murad Merican .

Read more @ http://www.nst.com.my/education/2017/04/234049/malaysian-universities-preservers-cultures-and-traditions

Students should pursue degrees locally

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017
Idris (right) signing the digital plaque at the groundbreaking ceremony. Looking on are (from left) Higher Education deputy director-general (private higher education institutions) Dr Mohd Nor Azman Hassan, Dr Mohamed Haniffa, vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Khairul Anuar Abdullah and chancellor Tun Zaki Tun Azmi.

Idris (right) signing the digital plaque at the groundbreaking ceremony. Looking on are (from left) Higher Education deputy director-general (private higher education institutions) Dr Mohd Nor Azman Hassan, Dr Mohamed Haniffa, vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Khairul Anuar Abdullah and chancellor Tun Zaki Tun Azmi.

THERE is no need to send local students overseas to pursue their basic degrees when Malaysian research universities have made it into the Top 50 universities in the world.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said: “There is no need to be spending four times more when we can get our students to do their studies here at a lower cost.”

“The quality of education in Malaysia keeps on improving,” he said after MAHSA University’s sports and recreation centre groundbreaking ceremony, last Tuesday.

He said that Malaysia’s research universities – Universiti Malaya, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and University Kebangsaan Malaysia – have made it to the top of international rankings, including QS World University RankingsTimes Higher Education Young University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

He added that this applies to both public and private higher education institutions within the country.

Idris also said that the Public Service Department has greatly reduced the number of students it sends abroad for their basic degrees.

However, he pointed out, these students should continue to be sent abroad for their Master’s and PhD degrees, instead.

Even then, he added, it should be to renowned international universities.

by REBECCA RAJAENDRAM
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/04/23/students-should-pursue-degrees-locally/#0fUX1WLiV3oomO51.99

Education D-G: International schools have to get prior approval.

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

PETALING JAYA: International schools that want to increase their fees must comply with the Education Ministry’s guidelines.

Education director-general Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof said under the Education Regulations (Registration of Educational Insti­tutions) 1997, any private educational institution wishing to make changes to its approved fee structure must get the appro­val from the Chief Registrar of Education Institutions and Tea­chers.

“The school has to submit an application to make changes to its fees to the ministry’s Private Education Division.

“The application can only be made three years after the previous approval,” he told The Star.

Dr Khair said the proposed new fee must not be more than 30% than the current fee and the school has to provide justification for the increase.

He was commenting on the fees’ structure of international schools following complaints from parents.

Dinesh, who has two children in an international school in the Klang Valley, said parents believed the school had hiked its fees by 50%.

“The confusing fee structure led parents to think that the increase was 50% when it was actually in line with the ministry’s cap of 30%,” he said.

Dinesh said officials from the mi­­nistry’s Private Education Division visited the school on Tuesday.

“The officers told us the school has the necessary approvals to increase fees, and that parents are confused because the breakdown of fees was not clarified,” he said.

Taylor’s Schools president B.K. Gan said the ministry allowed international and private institutions to hike their fees once every three years.

by  LEE CHONGHUI
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/04/20/they-must-comply-with-rules-before-raising-fees-education-dg-international-schools-have-to-get-prior/#OHhxCjjGfs1XBRwZ.99

Good research the order of the day

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

Libraries are a student’s first line of defence against misinformation and bad research methodology.

EVERY student at any level of education must write an essay. It is almost synonymous with the very idea of highereducation; write an essay to show an understanding of the material.

However, given the gargantuan nature of the Internet, it would be easy to think that research is as easy as using an Internet search engine for a few minutes. There is a lot of information and it is equally easy to get lost in that sea of data. Therefore, the true nature of the essay is not so much a showcase of understanding the material; I would argue this as secondary to its true function. The essay is a means of practising academic honesty.

The proverb “the pen is mightier than the sword” is some 178 years old. We live in an age where this statement has never been truer. The very existence of the Internet perpetuates words and ideas at light speed and it can be hard to discern quality when surfing the Internet.

It is the duty of students to ensure that they hold themselves to an academic standard grounded in the discipline of research methodology. It can be hard to know where to look and therefore it is important to know how to look when doing research.

In the third century BC, the Library of Alexandria was established. It was a great library housing an estimated 40,000 to 400,000 scrolls at its height. It was a symbol of human ingenuity in the acquisition of knowledge. It was a collection of human knowledge held in the highest regard by scholars of the time. However, the library was burnt down, resulting in the loss of many scrolls and books. According to the former National Library of Malaysia director general Datuk Raslin Abu Bakar, as of 2012, there are 366 government and higher education institutional academic libraries in the nation. There are nearly 10,000 school libraries across the country. The library is a student’s first line of defence against misinformation and bad research methodology. It is an old-fashioned method of research in contrast with digital methods but it is an approach that should never be overlooked. Make use of your local public library and maybe borrow a fun book while you’re at it? It is free, after all.

Of course, the digital method of acquisition of good research resources should also be put to good use. A report by the Open Society Foundations states: “Malaysians have increasing access to digital technology. Internet access and mobile phone subscriptions have risen every year since 2005. Fixed-line and wireless broadband penetration reached 81 per cent in December 2011. There were 17.5 million Internet users in 2011, about 65 per cent of the population, and 10 million 3G subscribers, about 38 per cent of the population.”

And if a student does not have immediate access to the Internet, keep in mind that most libraries provide computers with Internet connection. Knowledge is free to those who seek it, but it must be paid with the effort of those who truly want it.

However, seeking information in a sea of data is a task that can be daunting to those who do not know where to look. Googling key terms pertaining to the topic of research only gets you so far. However, Google Scholar is a search engine that specifically targets scholarly literature across many publishing formats and disciplines. It even comes with options that automatically format your citations as per the requirements of your academic paper. If an academic institution has an online library system, Google Scholar can display library access links that come from it.

It should be noted that while most universities restrict access to their library from Google Scholar unless you’re a student of the institution, some tertiary institutions do provide free access to their digital libraries. These digital libraries can even be accessed by anyone without Google Scholar. This is useful for searching academic papers and journals that are peer-reviewed as Google Scholar cannot index these as a search function. Examples of university digital libraries that are free to access are Harvard University Library, Yale University Library: Digital Collections, Michigan State University Digital and Multimedia Center.

Finally, it can be difficult to go through an entire book just to find the points that pertain to the essay you intend to write. Obviously, you cannot digitally search a physical book. Enter Project Gutenberg, a volunteer effort to digitise and archive cultural works. In addition to being free and mostly public domain, the archives are kept in several simple to read and browse digital formats that allow word searches. (That’s CTRL + F for PCs and Command + F for Mac) However, despite the project boasting a massive collection of over 53,000 items as of August 2015, it is limited to books that are clear of copyright restrictions, under US Copyright Law. This means most of these books are old and already in the public domain, you won’t find college textbooks here unfortunately. Nevertheless, the project is useful if you, for example, are seeking the English translation of the famous The Apology written by Plato. It’s important to note that this method saves a lot of time and allows you to focus on editing your paper to perfection now that your research is concrete and factual.

by EMILLIO DANIEL -

Read more @ http://www.nst.com.my/news/2017/04/227439/good-research-order-day

The study of growth disparities and differences

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

IN the 2017 QS University Rankings by Subjects, the University of Malaya (UM) is positioned at 26th in the world for Development Studies — moving up from 30 the previous year. The university is one of the four Asian universities ranked under 30 for the subject — with University of Delhi at 16, University of Tokyo (24) and the University of Hong Kong (28).

While a highly notable recognition, a check among the public reveals there is little known about the subject.

Development studies is described as a multidisciplinary branch of social science that examines the theories, practices and policies associated with development at the national, regional and international level.

According to UM’s Faculty of Economics & Administration dean Professor Noor Azina Ismail, the main concern of the discipline is inequalities, disparities and differences in development, why they occur, and their impact on the social, political, economic and environmental dimensions of a nation.

The subject covers a wide range of areas including Economic Development, Poverty, Gender, Education, Science and Technology, Innovation, Public Policy, Land Development, Human Rights, Cultural Preservation, Environment, Rural Studies, Microcredit, Housing, Sustainable Development, Education, Climate Change and Ethnicity.

“UM has a Department of Development Studies at the Faculty of Economics & Administration (FEA), offering a degree programme in economics with development studies as one of the specialisations, as well as a Master of Development Studies programme. The faculty also trains a large group of PhD students researching on topics related to development studies,” she shared.

A research centre, namely, Centre of Poverty and Development Studies has been set up in the same faculty, with an endowed chair, the Ungku Aziz Chair. FEA also has a few leading academics who are highly regarded and produced high impact publications, said Noor Azina.

Apart from that, she highlighted there are many academics from different departments within the university who are conducting interdisciplinary work relating to Development Studies, including Economics, Statistics and Area Studies such as Southeast Asian Studies and East Asian Studies. UM is the Malaysian representative in the regional chapter of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (a global initiative for the United Nations that supports the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals).

“Some of the most important issues confronting the world today include social and economic inequalities, regional imbalances, human rights, environmental degradation, poverty and sustainable development. These real-world issues are the core considerations defining the curriculum design of the Development Studies programmes in UM,” said Noor Azina.

The programmes provide solid grounding in development from the theoretical, conceptual, historical and contemporary perspectives, as well as a good grasp of empirical research, policy analysis, and development in practice. The programmes take an interdisciplinary approach, and the problem solving, critical thinking, analytical and communication skills are imbued in the training.

“Ability to conduct independent research is a key objective of the postgraduate programmes. Students are exposed to a wide range of areas including development theory and practice, globalisation and development, poverty and distribution, sustainable development, environmental management, entrepreneurship and development, small and medium enterprises and development, inclusive development, community development, institutions and development, economic development and planning, gender studies, and education and development,” Noor Azina said, adding that interested candidates should visit the faculty’s website at fep.um.edu.my.

Prospects

So what of the prospects for scholars in Development Studies?

Noor Azina said the programmes in development studies are particularly relevant to development scholars, practitioners and policymakers, as well as the non-traditional fields such as the private sector.

“Career prospects are with a variety of settings including non-governmental organisations, international development institutions, academia, consultancy agencies, humanitarian establishments and governmental bodies. Graduates in development studies can take up positions such as researchers, educators, policy planners, project personnel, planning and development consultants or advisors, corporate social responsibility professionals, environmental impact analysts, and journalists, among others,” she elaborated.

Currently, there are 40 students enrolled for the Master of Development Studies programme in UM. Another 30 PhD candidates are specialising in Development Studies. About 20 per cent of the total are international students.

“Our newly introduced specialisation at the undergraduate level in the Bachelor of Economics programme has an enrolment of 18 students for the first cohort of intake. The discipline is gaining more popularity, especially among doctoral students. The number of international applicants for this subject is also on the increase. The Faculty has plans to expand the student intake, both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

“The degree programme with a specialisation in Development Studies with a new curriculum has just commenced. We have launched the new Master of Development Studies programme to enhance its multi- and interdisciplinary features to cater for a wider market, and the programme will start running in the coming academic session commencing in September this year. The Faculty is also expanding the Department of Development Studies by recruiting new staff, and some from abroad. Employability has not been an issue among the graduates in Development Studies, mainly due to the low number of Development Studies experts in the market.”

On UM’s move up the ranks for Development Studies, Noor Azina said UM’s overall score improved by more than two per cent.

“This improvement was mainly contributed by our better international reputation (a rise of four per cent), as captured in the academic survey of QS which targeted academics around the world. Our research work has also gained more attention, both locally and internationally. This is evident from the score for citations of our publications that climbed by seven per cent,” she said.

She noted that the achievement did not come easy in the global arena of education that is increasingly competitive, and in the face of financial uncertainties due to the recent economic slowdown that affected the university’s funding from various sources.

by ROZANA SANI -.

REad more @ http://www.nst.com.my/news/2017/04/227433/study-growth-disparities-and-differences

Address issues facing private education

Saturday, April 8th, 2017
Idris (middle) and Cheah (left) greeting participants at the education summit. — Bernama

Idris (middle) and Cheah (left) greeting participants at the education summit. — Bernama

THE private education industry is beset by a number of structural challenges that is hampering it from running at full gallop, said the Asean Strategy & Leadership Institute (Asli).

Addressing the audience at the 21st Education Summit organised by Asli here on Tuesday, Asli chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah said while the country’s education system has a reputation for “high-quality service at an affordable price”, there is little room to rest on one’s laurels.

“The era of rapid change that we live in allows no room for complacency,” he said at the summit with the theme “Education Reset: Changing with the Times”.

“The theme of ‘changing with the times’ could not be more-timely. Allow me to highlight some of the concerns that I hope can be addressed at this summit,” Cheah told the audience consisting of more than 500 professionals from the country’s education circle.

“First, I hope we can speed up the time taken for approvals of degree courses. Currently, approvals can take anywhere between one year to 18 months. By the time changes are approved, the curricula can be partly out of date. We need a faster and more responsive system in this era where technology and new discoveries are advancing knowledge at a rapid clip,” said Cheah, who is also chairman of the Sunway Group.

“Second is the issue of research funds. Some private institutions are gaining national and international recognition for their research even though they have much less government funding than the public universities. While recognising the national need for centres of excellence under public control, perhaps a greater proportion of research support funds can be opened up for bidding by the private sector,” he said.

The liberalisation of private education fees is another matter of concern to the industry, he pointed out.

“I believe this is an area best left to the market. The United States’ model is one we may want to emulate. Ivy League institutions, for example, are free to charge their own fees, but also offer financial aid to deserving students,” said Cheah, who suggested that the government either stop regulating fees, or adopt a “light touch” approach in the matter so that private institutions may be free to set their fees provided “they have a robust scholarship or bursary scheme in place”.

Cheah also repeated the call for universities to be allowed to take students based on forecast results.

“At present, while waiting for actual results, young people are at risk of drifting for a few months. If they can instead sign up at universities based on forecast results, valuable time can be saved. Should they not achieve minimum requirements, they can be withdrawn once the official results are announced.

by MENG YEW CHOONG
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/04/02/address-issues-facing-private-education/#jQwW6bkStJ1XaSPf.99

School Holidays Cannot Be Standardised With IPT Holidays

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 (Bernama) — School holidays cannot be standardised with the holidays of institutions of higher learning (IPT) because the structuring of the academic calendar for diploma and degree students is under the consideration and planning of the IPT.

According to the Education Ministry, the holiday sessions for government schools in the country are subjected to the education regulations in terms, days and holidays.

Based on the regulations, the number of schooling days for government schools in a year should not be less than 190 days, it said in a written reply to Datuk Seri Abdul Ghapur Salleh (BN-Kalabakan) on the benefits for school holidays not falling simultaneously with the holidays of diploma and degree students.

In another development, the Education Ministry said a review of the curriculum was being conducted for all subjects, including Islamic Education.

It said a new curriculum, the Primary School Standard Curriculum (Revised 2017) and the Secondary School Standard Curriculum, had been implemented with Year 1 and Form 1 students this year.

It said the new curriculum imparted elements of strengthening their understanding of the Sunnah Wal Jamaah based on the concept of moderation.

BERNAMA.

Read more @ http://education.bernama.com/index.php?sid=news_content&id=1344781

Making Form Six compulsory

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

THE move by the Education Ministry to set up at least one Form Six College in each state is a welcome move to boost Form Six education.

At present, there are 14 Form Six colleges in nine states, each with their own premises and administration.

Overall, there are 634 mainstream schools in the country that offer Form Six, with classes in separate school blocks. However, despite the emphasis on Form Six education, enrolment has dwindled over the years.

To address this, the government has to make Form Six education compulsory for those wishing to continue their tertiary studies.

Today, many Form Five students enrol in private colleges and universities after SPM to do their Foundation and Pre-University studies.

The government needs to revert back to the old system where only Form Six students were allowed to further their studies in universities and colleges.

The SPM should not be an entry point for tertiary studies.

By making Form Six a condition for entry into tertiary education, there will then be more students enrolling for Form Six.

By taking Form Six after SPM, these students could be exposed to the required transitional strategies and skills to adapt to varsity life and the job market. Form Six should be the ticket to enter university.

However, Form Six should be run in an independent institute and not be affiliated with secondary schools. This would make Form Six more feasible, viable and attractive to students and lecturers.

The Education Ministry need not build separate institutes for Form Six because some Teacher Education Institutes (TEI) are being transformed to vocational and technical training centres due to limited teacher trainee intakes. Some of these TEI can be transformed to accommodate Form Six students.

by SAMUEL YESUIAH
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/04/02/making-form-six-compulsory/#y2TMsadXrha85s4h.99

Address issues facing private education

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017
Idris (middle) and Cheah (left) greeting participants at the education summit. — Bernama

Idris (middle) and Cheah (left) greeting participants at the education summit. — Bernama

THE private education industry is beset by a number of structural challenges that is hampering it from running at full gallop, said the Asean Strategy & Leadership Institute (Asli).

Addressing the audience at the 21st Education Summit organised by Asli here on Tuesday, Asli chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah said while the country’s education system has a reputation for “high-quality service at an affordable price”, there is little room to rest on one’s laurels.

“The era of rapid change that we live in allows no room for complacency,” he said at the summit with the theme “Education Reset: Changing with the Times”.

“The theme of ‘changing with the times’ could not be more-timely. Allow me to highlight some of the concerns that I hope can be addressed at this summit,” Cheah told the audience consisting of more than 500 professionals from the country’s education circle.

“First, I hope we can speed up the time taken for approvals of degree courses. Currently, approvals can take anywhere between one year to 18 months. By the time changes are approved, the curricula can be partly out of date. We need a faster and more responsive system in this era where technology and new discoveries are advancing knowledge at a rapid clip,” said Cheah, who is also chairman of the Sunway Group.

“Second is the issue of research funds. Some private institutions are gaining national and international recognition for their research even though they have much less government funding than the public universities. While recognising the national need for centres of excellence under public control, perhaps a greater proportion of research support funds can be opened up for bidding by the private sector,” he said.

The liberalisation of private education fees is another matter of concern to the industry, he pointed out.

“I believe this is an area best left to the market. The United States’ model is one we may want to emulate. Ivy League institutions, for example, are free to charge their own fees, but also offer financial aid to deserving students,” said Cheah, who suggested that the government either stop regulating fees, or adopt a “light touch” approach in the matter so that private institutions may be free to set their fees provided “they have a robust scholarship or bursary scheme in place”.

Cheah also repeated the call for universities to be allowed to take students based on forecast results.

“At present, while waiting for actual results, young people are at risk of drifting for a few months. If they can instead sign up at universities based on forecast results, valuable time can be saved. Should they not achieve minimum requirements, they can be withdrawn once the official results are announced.

by MENG YEW CHOONG
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/04/02/address-issues-facing-private-education/#pyW51DVx6f26BdUQ.99

M’sia has most students in international schools in SEA.

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia tops the charts in South-East Asia when it comes to the number of students enrolled in premium, English-medium international schools, according to the latest report published by ISC Research.

As of the first quarter of this year, Malaysia has 71,589 students en­­rolled in various international schools in the country.

This is followed by Thailand with 64,928 students and Singapore with 63,789.

Indonesia and Vietnam complete the top five with 57,402 and 40,003 students respectively.

Student enrolment in international schools has gone up by 33.9% over the last four years across the re­­gion. The data was released by ISC, the leading authority on market intelligence on international schools, a­head of the forthcoming Interna­tional Private Schools Education Forum (Ipsef) conference from March 22-24.

In terms of the number of international schools, Indonesia is tops among South-East Asian countries with 190 premium, English-medium international schools, followed by Thailand (181) and Malaysia (170).


Read more @
http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/03/11/msia-has-most-students-in-international-schools-in-sea/#t0Xo1VI7sfMuAFOY.99