Archive for the ‘Colleges / Universities - Issues’ Category

Govt urged to enhance tertiary education programmes.

Monday, May 21st, 2018

PETALING JAYA: Important education programmes such as artificial intelligence, computer engineering and big data should be heavily subsidised by the Govern­ment to help bring Malaysia closer to being a developed nation, says prominent educationist Prof Datuk Dr Paul Chan.

Dr Chan, who sits on the Malay­sian National Higher Education Council, said subsidising such core educational disciplines could pave the way for Malaysia’s progress.

“Direct resources to these areas can make the country globally competitive,” he said yesterday.

Dr Chan, who is also HELP University vice-chancellor and president, called for public and private higher-learning institutions to work closely together to share resources to reduce costs.

He noted that abolishing the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan and providing free education are difficult tasks due to budget constraints the country is facing.

Yayasan Rapera founder and chairman Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos, however, went a step further and called for free tertiary education in all public universities, as well as the abolition of student loans such as PTPTN.

Describing the loans as “burdensome” to youth, the senior lawyer – who visited over 20 universities in the past four months – said he found many students with poor health and “in a depressed state” due to dire financial constraints.

Yayasan Rapera is a foundation which emphasises nurturing thinking and compassionate citizens.

Universiti Malaya Department of Psychological Medicine Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Muhsin Ahmad Zahari, who supports free access to public higher learning institutions, said it should only be given to needy and deserving students.

“Free education reduces students’ financial burden and emotional stress, enabling them to focus on studies,” said the psychiatry expert who has treated many students suffering from depression caused by financial stress.

A fresh graduate who only wanted to be known as Jayanthi said she was worried about paying back her PTPTN loan even before completing medical school last year.

The medical graduate, who borrowed RM180,000, has to pay RM750 monthly to PTPTN for the next 20 years.

“This is a steep sum and we (graduates) cannot be relying on our parents to pay it,” said Jayanthi who is working part-­time in Kuala Lumpur while waiting for housemanship placement.

By Lee Chonghui
Read more @

Do not let universities become non-places

Friday, May 11th, 2018
Trying to maintain a sense of place and yet address the very real need to adapt to change is the great challenge for universities.

ONE of the more interesting critiques of modern life engages with our sense of place and our sense of belonging. Critics of globalisation have focused on the issue of place from various perspectives. For some there appears to be an expansion of what anthropologist Marc Augé has provocatively called, non-places.

What are non-places? Non-places are essentially places that are interchangeable. Examples of non-places can be airports, fast food chains and shopping malls. Places where you pass though, places where your relationship to the non-place is often purely commercial, transient and instrumental. Places where we “could be anywhere, or nowhere”. We often feel a sense of disassociation from such environments. Non-places according to Auge are: “the spaces of circulation, communication and consumption, where solitudes coexist without creating any social bond or even a social emotion… .”

In an interesting online publication titled Universities in an Era on Non-Lieux, Stephen J. Toope, who was at the time of writing this piece, president and vice-chancellor, The University of British Columbia (he is now the 346th vice chancellor of Cambridge University), wrote in regard to the phenomenon of non-places that: “A constellation of trends is pushing universities in the same direction — toward a homogenisation that undermines our ability to fulfil the mission that has shaped our evolution over centuries. If universities cease to be highly differentiated, specific places with distinctive personalities, we will undermine the intellectual diversity needed to produce the catalysis that ignites new ideas, new discoveries and healthy social, cultural and economic innovation.”

According to Toope: “Three trends come together to undermine the sense of unique place and personality that is required for healthy intellectual biodiversity.”

He writes:

The first driver to uniformity is the ever growing list of global university ranking schemes. By creating similar groups of metrics, the rankings signal that to be outstanding, a university must pursue a limited range of strategies: you can poach “star” researchers, focus on nominating staff for international prizes, and recruit a large number of international staff and students.

There is almost no point in trying to improve the undergraduate student experience. In the ultimate perversity, for business school rankings, you better discourage graduates from doing any public service or from working in “secondary markets”; success is judged in large measure on the basis of graduates’ starting salaries. Uniformity of purpose and method is systematically encouraged and rewarded.

The second powerful impetus towards homogeneity is the increasing tendency of governments to try to “manage” research programmes and enrolment strategies. Most obviously, the desire to promote the acquisition of defined skills needed to fuel short term economic needs is growing apace around the world. Although this desire may seem reasonable, when linked to economic development strategies that are typically cookie-cutter copies of each other, the result is that universities are being pushed to do the same things everywhere. If I see another so-called “innovation strategy” that proposes to tell students that they will only find jobs if they pursue the STEM disciplines, I might just boil over in frustration.

And the increasing tendency of governments to promote “applied research” through industry collaboration at the expense of funding for curiosity-driven research also leads to unhealthy uniformity, supporting the superficial consensus on what we need right now, undermining potentially disruptive discovery that shapes knowledge and changes industries and societies in the longer term.

The most recent impetus towards uniformity is the fixation with the promise of on-line learning, exemplified by Silicon Valley’s investments in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Now, don’t fear a Luddite outburst. I believe that we can learn from MOOCs, and that the intuitive sense that we need to “flip classrooms” and adjust to new learning styles is right. Solid new brain research on learning and retention supports the need to change definitively away from “the sage on the stage”. But I am leery of the promise of master classes taught by the great and the good at a handful of universities being distributed across the globe.

And while it might make sense for relatively standardised approaches to introductory organic chemistry to be agreed upon, I would eschew any attempt to settle on a uniform introduction to “theories of justice” or “the quiet revolution in Quebec” or “gender politics”.

Toope makes his argument and position clear: “If universities lose sight of where they are grounded, if they succumb to the uniformity encouraged by global rankings, government attempts to promote generic economic strategies, and ‘applied’ research at the expense of free and disruptive inquiry, and by the siren call of anonymous on-line learning, then universities are at risk of turning into the non-lieux that Augé descries.”

By James Campbell.

Read more @

Harnessing higher education for the greater good

Friday, May 11th, 2018
Tertiary institutions today are both globally connected and locally engaged as they play their roles in helping to develop globally-minded citizens,acting as conduits to international partnerships, helping to create the conditions for industry collaboration and social innovation, as well as be agents of social change, inclusion and mobility.

But what are the priorities in ensuring national tertiary education is fit to shape societies of the future and meet the future needs of students, businesses and communities amidst issues such as new technologies and changing boundaries?

These were among the questions raised at the recent Going Global 2018 higher education conference in Kuala Lumpur.

Held for the first time in the Asean region since its inception in 2004, this year’s conference was co-hosted by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia (MOHE) and the British Council, with the Asean Secretariat as supporting partner. The conference theme Global Connections, Local Impact: Creating 21st Century Skills, Knowledge and Impact For Society-Wide Good was discussed at 40 sessions over three days.

Welcoming guests at the opening ceremony, British Council Malaysia director Sarah Deverall said it was fitting that the conference was held in the Asean region which has focused on harmonisation of higher education over the last few years with great success.

“With a combined population of more than 600 million, Asean is the third largest global market for education. Asean recently realised a five-decade dream of bringing together its 10-member state, including Malaysia, to form an economic community, bringing social progress, stability and greater opportunity to the region.

“With 15 million students enrolled across the region, at the heart of the transformation is the role of tertiary education and its contribution to society and cultural understanding, economic growth and employability.”

Deverall, who highlighted Malaysia’s achievement in attracting international students, added: “Malaysia has taken a long-term approach in its commitment to education, with a growing reputation as a regional education hub in Asean. With a goal of 250,000 by 2025, Malaysia has attracted approximately 170,000 international students to its institutions, creating diverse student bodies and rich cultural educational environments.”

Figures recently released by the United Kingdom’s Higher Education Statistics Authority show that Malaysia has raced to the top of the table in hosting transnational students pursuing UK qualifications internationally. Numbers sourced from the 2016/17 academic intake show that Malaysia boasts 74,180 students, with China coming in second with 70,240 and Singapore third with 48,290.

MOHE secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur gave an overview of the Malaysian higher education landscape, home to 1.2 million students.

“Malaysia’s gross enrolment ratio in 2016 of 44 per cent is higher than most of the Asean countries and higher than the world average of 37 per cent. We are very proud of our success stories on the global front,” she said while emphasising the importance of establishing global higher education connections for the benefit of local communities as they face the challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, deputy secretary general for socio-cultural community at Asean, said the handling of issues that impact education depends heavily on international cooperation as much as national action.


“We need to make sure our education system is marked by quality, credibility and innovation,” he said, adding that education and training for qualified human resources is the key factor for social and economic development in a globalised world.

Dr Ayesha Khanna, co-founder and chief executive officer of ADDO AI, an artificial intelligence advisory firm, said that with the disruptive challenges of artificial intelligence and automation come as many opportunities. Predictions of job losses in numerous white-collar sectors such as banking and law can be scary, but new jobs are also inevitable and open exciting possibilities.

“Any kind of work that is repeatable can be mimicked by a machine,” Ayesha said. “However, creativity and humanity have never been in more demand as technology performs the routine and the mundane.”

The challenge for learning institutions is to find the right balance between theory and applied learning, because artificial intelligence depends on sector expertise.

Another speaker, Professor Janet Beer, trustee of British Council and president of Universities UK, said: “We have an exciting and challenging agenda at Going Global. Universities have always drawn ideas from far and wide… in their local and international context. Here in Malaysia the value of transnational education is very well understood. But how can higher education better connect with, and serve, people across all levels of society?”

Sam Gyimah MP, UK Minister of State for Universities, Science and Research, addressed the conference by video.


Read more @

Way forward for higher education in 4IR era

Friday, April 27th, 2018
(From left) Higher Education Ministry’s secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur, Datin Paduka Dr Siti HamisahTapsir, ASLI Chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh and ASLI chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Michael Yeoh at the launch of the book recently. Pic by EIZAIRI SHAMSUDIN

THE Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) represents new ways in which disruptive technologies are embedded in our daily experience.

This has emphasised the need to redesign the education system and transform the learning and teaching delivery, as well as demanding the industry sectors to enhance, reskill and upscale talents.

Experiential learning, future-ready curriculum, and life-long learning mindset are critical elements in uplifting graduates’ skills and attributes to thrive in the gig economy world.

Hence, talent planning is critical to ensure Malaysia’s preparation in producing talents and graduates who are agile and adaptive to the changing demands of 4IR.

Looking at the importance of 4IR, the Higher Education Ministry recently launched a book, Framing Malaysian Higher Education 4.0: Future-Proof Talents, by its minister, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.

The book provides background information on 4IR, its impacts and challenges, the current scenario and future alternatives in redesigning Malaysian higher education.

The basis of this book is to produce ethically and morally upright citizens who are spiritually grounded and caring to cope with the demands of 4IR.

Regardless of technology advancement and changes, graduates will be prepared to overcome disruptive innovation through life-long learning, which creates the opportunities to learn, unlearn and relearn.

Idris said Malaysian graduates had to possess strong positive values and be work-ready to stay ahead in the global marketplace and contribute to global wellbeing.

“The book encapsulates the way forward for the higher education sector in adapting to the ever-changing demands of higher education.

“It frames four foci (focal point), 15 approaches with detailed initiatives, three future-proof attributes and nine Malaysian future-proof skill sets in unlocking the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education),” Idris said at the launch of the book, in conjunction with the 22nd Malaysian Education Summit at Sunway Resort Hotel in Petaling Jaya.

The focal points mentioned in the book are future-ready curriculum, agile governance, research and innovation, and talent planning.

“The ministry needs to play its role as a catalyst by focusing on pro-active skills transformation, both in the educational system and workplace, as well as emphasising the role of the younger generation in the future,” he added.

The book contains guidelines, strategies and aspirations for public universities and private institutions in meeting the demands of 4IR.

It was developed through collaborative and consultative processes with various stakeholders who underwent numerous programmes, workshops and meetings involving more than 10,000 individuals comprising public and private university leaders, administrators, academics, students and industry players.

The book is based on the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education) and the initiatives, such as the integrated cumulative grade point average (iCGPA) and work-based learning programme (2U2I), in redesigning Malaysian higher education landscape that are aligned with the vision and mission of the ministry.


Over the years, the delivery of Malaysian Higher Education Programmes (MyHE) had transformed significantly.

There are four phases of MyHE:

MyHE 1.0 centres on teachers as the source of knowledge by employing the chalk-and-talk teaching method;

MyHE 2.0 establishes the utilisation of basic technology practices in the classroom and features students as receptacles of information, who regurgitate and respond to knowledge;

MyHE 3.0 encourages dynamic teaching approaches by requiring student exploration of real-world problems and collaboration on social learning platforms; and,

MyHE 4.0 promotes student diversification of roles as curators of knowledge, content producers, connection-makers ― the web as the open global curriculum and educators as the resource guide.

In this book, it is stated that MyHE 4.0 emphasises higher order thinking skills than the lower order thinking skills.

The cognitive domain drives the goals of the learning process, where learners are expected to acquire new skills, knowledge and attitude, as well as construct their own new knowledge.

Learners should actively contextualise and produce data instead of only acquiring it. They need to be able to generate knowledge based on personal experiences and environmental participation.

It is imperative that the higher education ecosystem put into place the right education, networks of people and infrastructure to enable better management of the impact.

Therefore, Malaysian higher education institutions must play their role in producing future-proof graduates tailored and prepared for immersive education, which combines the virtual world, simulators, learning games and sophisticated digital media.


One of the lead authors of the book, Higher Education Department director-general Datin Paduka Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir, said life-long learning must be embraced by all students through reskilling and upskilling opportunities.

“We need to equip our graduates with future-proof skill sets by harnessing their humanistic, technological and data analytics competencies in embracing 4IR,” she said.

“4IR is radically changing the landscapes of higher learning institutions all over the world and Malaysia is no exception.

“Most of the challenges and opportunities of 4IR are moving at a high speed. For example, data science is now the key pre-requisite of knowledge in automation and big data analytics.

“It also provides the background in the understanding of how cyberspace will become obsolete.

“The ministry’s successful entry into 4IR is dependent on its ability to respond to change, master new knowledge, as well as engage in frontier research, development and innovation on a continuous basis.”

The book also identifies that there are three clusters of 4IR challenges facing the higher education sector.

The first challenge relates to institutional awareness and readiness.

By Zulita Mustafa

Read more @

The importance of a university education

Monday, February 19th, 2018
The audience of the educational symposium held by Oxford International AQA Examinations (Oxford AQA) focusing on Lord David Willets’ presentation.

IN a time when the world is facing fast-paced changes and the relevance of univesity for school-leavers is being questioned, it is important to note that it is a university education that will help individuals thrive in the Industry 4.0 era.

This is the key message from Lord David Willets, cabinet minister for universities and science in the British coalition government from 2010 to 2014, and now a visiting professor at King’s College London and a member of the House of Lords.

“University education, undoubtedly, has a continuing role to play globally, with university as one of the great institutions of modern society and as a transformational experience for the individual,” he said during his presentation at a recent educational symposium, organised by Oxford International AQA Examinations (Oxford AQA) at Taylor’s University in Subang Jaya.

He shared with the audience contents of his book, A University Education, which is a powerful defence of the value of higher education in the world today. It looks back at how the university has attained its crucial role in the modern world — and forward to the challenges facing higher education in the future. It includes an honest appraisal of the problems facing universities in the current climate.

Lord David Willets

“More than half of university students are in Asia — with 91 million of the total 165 million university student worldwide here. Around four million students study abroad, of which 65,000 are Malaysian students. I believe we will see a substantial increase in the percentage of students studying abroad as globalised education becomes both in greater demand and more achievable through technological advancement,” he said.

“The growth of educational technology is enabling greater communication between universities and international prospective students, but universities could be under threat if they do not move rapidly in the digital world and ensure the university degree remains the most desirable and credible qualification available. I believe we will see rapid growth of online provision of university education, particularly Masters qualifications and beyond, and the data collected from digital online learning — revealing exactly how we learn — will have a big impact on advancing the higher education system as a whole,” he added.

Speaking to Higher ED on the sidelines of the event, Willets shared that the British government had just published an industrial strategy, which is very much focused on Industry 4.0.

“One aspect of it is for universities to simply research relevant Industry 4.0 areas, like robotics, satellite systems and smart software. The evidence in my book is that students who have the benefit of a university education are most probably the ones who will thrive in the Industry 4.0 era. They’ll have the cognitive skills and human capital that will enable them to function in a rapidly changing world,” he said.

While, traditionally, numerous educationists have focused on vocation-based education, where students learn a set of skills for a certain vocation, Willets felt that it was a much riskier approach to education as the world was moving so fast.

“Whereas university education, where you learn broad cognitive skills, is a safer option in a changing world,” he said.

Asked on his take on whether a university education can be bypassed as in the alleged cases of tech entrepreneurs Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, he said those American tech billionaires did have their opportunity in life from university.

“Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook was a Harvard project when he was at the university. Steve Jobs did a calligraphy course at Reed College, which probably led to the creation of the beautiful Apple products. Sir Jony Ives, Apple’s chief design officer, was at Northumbria, where he studied industrial design. That’s where he got the training to make beautiful Apple products. The success of these personalities is linked to them being among the numbers of people benefiting from going to a university,” Willet said.

Lord David Willetts signing his book for one of the participants of the education symposium held at at Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus. Picture by Amirudin Sahib

On whether British universities were as attractive and welcoming to international students — in particular Malaysian students — in the Brexit era, Willets said overseas students were very much welcomed in Britain.

“There is no cap in numbers that can come. And the timing of the regime that has occurred has been to the benefit of everyone. For example, there is now a higher standard of English that is expected before you partake in British education. But to be honest, you should have a decent standard of English if you are to properly benefit from becoming a student in a British university. There’s a warm welcome to students from Malaysia. And one reason I am here is because I want to promote education links between our two countries. And I would love to see more British students coming to study in Malaysia as well,” he said.

On whether there is a difference in quality for international students at universities in Britain or a branch campus outside, he said quality was not compromised, regardless of where the campus was .

“For example, I have been to Nottingham University Malaysia, which is an excellent university in its own right. What I personally think should happen is for Malaysian students to go to the Malaysian campus of Nottingham University first and do a year of the course at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. So you have the experience of living in another country. And my standing is that it is possible. Not many young people in either of the three campuses — in China, Malaysia or the UK — take that opportunity and I’d like to see more do it,” he said.

Asked what was the best path for a Malaysian school-leaver to land a place in a university in the UK, Willets said by and large it would help if the student had a school qualification that was recognised by the British education system.


Read more @

Global connections imperative to education redesign

Sunday, February 11th, 2018
(From left) Hamidah Naziadin, Shareen Shariza Abdul Ghani, Idris Jusoh, Mohd Ismail Abd Aziz and Charles Fine at the Redesigning Education Dialogue and soft launch of Going Global 2018. Picture by HALIM SALLEH

The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) is open to collaborating with and learning from other countries in redesigning Malaysia’s higher education system.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said establishing global connections in the sector is important to effect meaningful, beneficial and sustainable change within respective local communities. This is especially so as the nation prepares to face the challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

“At the same time, Malaysia is home to more than 1.25 million students including 170,000 international students from over 150 nations which creates an imperative to nurture future-proof global talent,” he added.

Idris was speaking to the Press after the soft launch of Going Global, an annual international conference for leaders of higher and further education that serves as a platform to discuss key issues facing further and higher education. Held for the first time in the Asean region, the conference will be co-hosted by the British Council and MOHE in Kuala Lumpur from May 2 to 4.

Idris said the event themed Global Connections, Local Impact: Creating 21st Century Skills, Knowledge and Impact For Society-Wide Good is apt for the current Malaysian higher education scenario.

Idris Jusoh and Sarah Deverall sharing a light moment.

“Through this conference, we hope to improve education in Malaysia and work with other country participants, particularly in the areas of mobility and keep up with the latest trends in education.

“MOHE is proud to co-host Going Global 2018 with the British Council. We believe this synergy is indicative of the important collaborative nature required within the education space to raise the education ecosystem of the nation and the region to the next level.”

British Council Malaysia director Sarah Deverall said: “Malaysia is a natural choice of venue for this year’s Going Global with its strong worldwide connections, growing reputation as a regional education hub and one of the fastest growing economies in the world. We are proud to deliver this year’s conference with co-host MOHE, and the Asean Secretariat as supporting partner. This is a very fitting way to celebrate 70 years of continuous British Council presence in Malaysia.”

She added that Malaysia has a fantastic story to tell with its 10-year National Blueprint for Higher Education that aims to nurture talent, reinforce global standards and develop graduates for 21st century life, as well as a growing reputation as a higher education hub in the region.

“Asean recently realised a five-decade dream of bringing together its 10 member states to form an economic community, bringing social progress, stability and greater opportunity to the region. With 15 million students enrolled across the region, at the heart of this transformation is the role of tertiary education and the contribution to society and cultural understanding, economic growth and employability.

“And as a gateway to Asean, people are looking towards the conference in Kuala Lumpur to find out how the region is addressing the gaps between people with more opportunities and those with less in pursuing education.

“Everybody is at a different stage — where education redesigning is concerned — and things are changing so rapidly that we really don’t know whether we ready for the future. One of the features of this conference is the student voice — those still studying and newly

graduated who are wondering about the skills they will need for the future.”

Up to 150 expert speakers at Going Global 2018 will address how leaders and policy-makers can develop a well-understood role for institutions to meet the future needs of students, employers and communities, as well as the priorities needed to ensure national tertiary education is fit to shape societies of the future.


Read more @

Nurturing international leaders

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018
An engineering student testing out a robot.

IN view of globalisation, students pursuing higher education would be wise to look at institutions that could provide a global outlook yet have a good grasp of local knowledge and expertise.

This is what University of Hong Kong (HKU) has to offer.

Founded in 1911, the territory’s oldest university has over 9,000 international students from over 100 nationalities. HKU has been regarded as the best international university in Asia (the “Oxbridge of East Asia”, according to the Times Higher Education), and is ranked the 26th best university in the world (QS World University Rankings 2017).

“With a strong international outlook and a tradition of English language instruction, HKU attracts the best academic staff and the brightest students from the territory and around the world. The university is committed to nurturing talent and leaders, and to cultivating internationalism on campus.

“The university strongly supports international academic collaboration, and staff and student exchanges, with over 400 higher education institutions,” said HKU Centre for Medical Ethics and Law co-director Dr Philip S. L. Beh at the varsity’s open house in Kuala Lumpur recently.

University of Hong Kong (HKU), Centre for Medical Ethics and Law co-director Dr Philip S. L. Beh.

The event was held to introduce the university’s programmes. Beh, with academics of HKU’s Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Business and Economics, spoke to nearly 200 attendees about the specialties of HKU, course frameworks and admission information. The event also invited Malaysian students studying at HKU to share their experience.

Beh said HKU was pleased to announce a deeper academic collaboration with the University of Cambridge to nurture global engineering professionals.

Under the HKU-Cambridge Undergraduate Recruitment Scheme (Engineering and Computer Science), students can graduate with three degrees: one Bachelor degree each from HKU and Cambridge, and a Master of Engineering from Cambridge after five years of study.

This collaboration is an extension of the “HKU — University of Cambridge Joint Recruitment Scheme for Engineering”, a pilot scheme introduced in 2011.

“With the expansion of multinational engineering firms, there is an increasing demand for engineers with integrated engineering knowledge. It is certainly very exciting for students wishing to study in two of the world’s elite universities. The scheme aims to nurture future engineering professionals to have a global mindset, to be able to solve novel problems in a fast-changing environment, and to innovate and develop new solutions.

“Having an opportunity to study engineering in both Asia and the United Kingdom, students would be well prepared to manage sophisticated projects and develop the critical soft skills needed in the real world. Students will be exposed to specialised engineering technologies and will learn from some of the leading professionals in the world,” Beh said at the sidelines of the event.

He said the first batch of graduating students of the pilot scheme at Cambridge were successful and sought after by employers in the UK, Hong Kong and mainland China even before they graduated.

“Under this new scheme, students can obtain not only degrees from the UK and Asia, but also be eligible for professional accreditation in the UK and Hong Kong, subject to the usual institutional process.”

He added that HKU had incorporated articulation programmes in its biomedical scienced courses for undergraduates to branch out into a professional career, such as physiotherapist or veterinarian.

“In their third year, students choose from partner universities, like University of Sydney, and study first-year physiotherapy courses, or University of Edinburgh for first-year veterinary medicine courses. They come back to HKU to finish their final year and can continue pursuing the rest of their graduate degree after.

“After completion of biomedical sciences study at HKU, students can pursue a Master of Physiotherapy or Master of Diagnostic Radiotherapy at the University of Sydney. Animal lovers can pursue a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery at the University of Edinburgh. These collaborations are tailored for students to explore interests and careers.

HKU emphasises international exposure.

To apply for a place at HKU, students need to have strong STPM, A Levels or Unified Examinations Certificate results. The application for the September session is open.

“Between 10 and 20 Malaysian students may be admitted to HKU’s Faculty of Engineering each year. Depending on their academic performance, HKU will nominate students on this track for admission’s assessment by the University of Cambridge. Students will receive pre-interview assessment and admissions interview from Cambridge,” said Beh.

Each year, HKU offers scholarships to outstanding international students. For the 2017-18 term, 21 Malaysian students received full tuition fee waiver or up to HK$186,000 (RM92,100). Over HK$14 million were awarded to Malaysian students last year.

Beh said HKU had nearly 100 per cent employment rate for 11 consecutive years given the robust job market in Hong Kong and China.


Read more @

Celebrate your roots

Sunday, January 28th, 2018
Many Malaysians tend to fawn over scholars that come from abroad more than they do with our local scholars. FILE PIC

WHILE we admire the strengths and achievements of other nations, let us not dismiss what our own has to offer nor be ashamed of where we come from.

It is truly unfortunate if one goes through life not being proud of one’s roots. Whoever you are, be proud of where you come from even if it may be from humble beginnings.

I am shocked to know that there are people within our society who belittle those who have no experience studying overseas, implying that to study locally, one must be of a lesser calibre. Studying abroad is a privilege not everyone can afford — it is not a measure of intelligence or success.

In a conversation with Dr Murni Wan Mohd Nor, a lecturer at University Putra Malaysia, I was surprised to discover that she receives many condescending remarks when she tells people she has been educated locally all her life and obtained her undergraduate degree, master’s degree and PhD from the same institution.

Having spoken to other Malaysian academics, it has been brought to my knowledge that local lecturers are not given as much recognition as their counterparts in other countries.

Even in the field of Islamic scholarship, for example, many Malaysians tend to fawn over scholars that come from abroad more than they do with our local scholars.

Of course, this is their right and freedom to do so as we all have our preferences and, perhaps, there are some of us who prefer to hear sermons in the English language.

However, when I was in Melaka last year to attend Rihla, a three-week Islamic programme, run by an American-based organisation called Deen Intensive, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they have benefitted greatly from local Muslim scholars.

One of the names that came up quite frequently was Tan Sri Professor Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, whose publications such as Islam & Secularisation and On Justice and The Nature of Manhave helped to reorient their worldview and broaden their minds.

Professor Wan Mohd Nor Wan Daud, founder-director of Centre for Advanced Studies on Islam (CASIS), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, was also invited to teach at the programme and he was well-received. Out of all the teachers and scholars present, he was the only one I recalled having received a thunderous ovation.

Most of the students at the programme were from the United States and Europe, and they had many questions to ask Wan Daud. There was hardly a time he was not asked to sign a copy of his book, The Educational Philosophy and Practice of Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas.

There are many brilliant minds in Malaysian society and they exist in every field you can think of. For philanthropy, we have Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood. For entrepreneurship, we have Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Tan Sri Vincent Tan. For film directorship, we have the late Yasmin Ahmad, whose films have become classics.

While some of Malaysia’s most successful have been educated abroad, many others aren’t.

It is sad that there are people who feel embarrassed about their roots, or even worse, they are made to feel inadequate for wanting to give back to the country they were raised in.

I notice that people tend to show more curiosity towards those who have been educated abroad. I also notice that some people show disinterest when someone says that he or she studied locally, as if their academic credentials carry less weight.

It is not a shame to be a product of local education. It is not a shame to be a product of a completely Malaysian upbringing either. Having pride and respect for where I came from was something I had to learn when I was studying in England. There were times I received snarky comments about being a Malaysian Muslim due to the stereotypes that were associated with being Asian and Muslim. I have to assert, however, that those were just isolated events and most of my English friends were accepting of my background.

I was reading the book, Leaving One Dream to Achieve Another: One Lecturer’s PhD’s Journey, by Dr Murni Wan Mohd Nor, and in one of the chapters, she mentioned the discouragement she experienced when she told people that she was pursuing her doctoral degree locally.

In her book, she says: “People looked at me with pity in their eyes.

“I was so tired with the typical Malaysian mindset that anything local (which included local graduates) must be of lesser quality. Why do we have no confidence in ourselves? Why can’t we believe that we are just as good as others? It saddened me that people kept trying to bring me down with their discouraging remarks.”

“It is not about what institution you are from, but it is about what you make of yourself. And with that, my attitude changed and I was even more motivated to succeed.”


Read more @

Malaysia Ready To Become Quality Education Hub For Students From War-Torn Countries

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

News Pic

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 19 (Bernama) — Malaysia is ready to be a hub to provide accessible and quality education opportunities for less fortunate students from war-torn countries, said Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.

He said Malaysia was capable of doing so because of various initiatives being implemented by the government to transform its higher education which saw the improvement of ranking for local universities in rating lists locally and globally.

Idris said these students could access such education by coming to Malaysia and study at the universities or pursue their studies online, which very much depended on the funding from their sponsorship and basic accessibility such as internet connections.

“We do education differently in Malaysia as how our integrated cumulative grade point average (ICGPA) will ensure universities produce balanced and holistic graduates.

“With our ranking and achievement, we can certainly play a role to provide inclusive education for the less fortunate students from these countries such as Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and the Rohingya,” he told reporters after launching the International Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (IESCO) conference here today.

IESCO is an independent Malaysia-based non-profit organisation that aims to support and develop the educational, cultural and scientific sectors of the Arab and Muslim worlds in general and mainly in underprivileged areas.

On the two-day conference which was attended by 250 participants from 35 countries, Idris hoped it could attain its objective of assisting and opening up opportunities in education, cultural and scientific sectors of the Arab and Muslim worlds through sponsors and donation for students from underprivileged, conflict zones and refugees.

Among the topics discussed at the conference were on the Challenges and Reality of Education in Middle East conflict zone, the future of education sector development and to study successful international education modules.

Meanwhile, IESCO’s Board of Trustee chairman Prof Ir Dr Mohd Azraai Kassim said the organisation was currently sponsoring 100 students from the war-zone countries, and hoping to sponsor another 500 students in the next few years.

“As of today, we have about RM2 million in our fund from fixed donors of several organisations in Malaysia,” he said.


Read more @

Guide to choosing institutions, programmes

Sunday, January 14th, 2018

THE Malaysian Quality Evaluation System for Private Colleges (MyQUEST) developed by the Higher Education Ministry can be used as a guide for the public to choose private colleges and study programmes of quality.

Private Higher Education Institution Governance Division director in the Department of Higher Education Dr Mohamed Ali Abdul Rahman said MyQUEST was introduced in 2010 to assess the quality of private colleges nationwide.

“This assessment is necessary to ensure the competitiveness of the private higher education sector in Malaysia through continuous improvement and capacity building,” he said.

Dr Mohamed Ali said the system generated three categories of reports, namely college-based assessments, study field-based assessments and international students’ service assessments.”

“The assessment of international student services, meanwhile, measures the level of service, resources and college’s practices in meeting the minimum requirements of international students’ service standards,” he said.

He said the scores calculated for each category of report result in the award of one of six grades namely 6 stars (Outstanding), 5 stars (Excellent), 4 stars (Very Good), 3 stars (Good), 2 stars (Satisfactory) and 1 star (Weak).

Dr Mohamed Ali said private colleges registered with the ministry under the Private Higher Education Institutions Act 1996 or Act 555 could enrol in MyQUEST.

“However, the college must meet two criteria to be eligible for evaluation, that is having at least one matured study programme, and a cohort of students who have graduated,” he said.

He said the criteria of assessment in MyQUEST included students (10 percent), resources (30 percent), quality management system (30 percent), programme recognition (10 percent) and graduate recognition (20 percent).

“For 2016/2017, some 206 out of 398 private colleges across the country registered have been assessed in which 15 colleges receive a rating of 6 stars, 63 colleges (5 stars), 61 colleges (4 stars), 37 colleges (3 stars), 22 colleges (2 stars) and eight colleges (1 star) for the college-based assessment category,” he added.

Read more @