Archive for category Education
2015 Budget – A Critique (1)
by Economic Observer
17th Oct 2014
The Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister in his opening remarks observed that economic planning and policies of a country need to be adjusted according to developments and challenges in the domestic and external environment.
He went on to add that Malaysia is in need of a move to be an economy based on knowledge, high skills, expertise, creativity and innovation.
A laudable statement indeed which will not be disputed or attract criticism. However, this statement is nothing more than a platitude and rhetorical in scope. It is patently clear what the challenges are.
The nation is grappling with the dangers associated with the continued brain drain, and the continued neglect of the education system. Read the rest of this entry »
By Helen Warrell
October 7, 2014
More than 150 years ago, the Catholic cardinal John Henry Newman set out his vision for a university as “a place of concourse, whither students come from every quarter for every kind of knowledge”. As students have become more mobile, and higher education institutions more international, Cardinal Newman might be surprised at the truly diverse concourse of the modern education market.
Driving the globalisation of universities are children from the middle classes in emerging economies who aspire to highly skilled jobs. In Asia especially, the development of universities has not kept pace with rising levels of affluence, creating a shortfall of places. As a result, western economies are vying to attract a growing pool of youngsters looking to study abroad. And in fast-growing nations such as India and Brazil, the race to build more universities is on.
Much of this change is necessitated by sheer demographics. More than half of India’s population is under 25 years old; by 2020 it will be ahead of China as the country with the largest population at tertiary-education age. The flow of Chinese students overseas is expected to grow as much as 15 per cent a year until 2018. Already, 2.5m students globally are studying outside their home country, creating a sector worth $30bn a year for the US, the UK, Canada and Australia, according to the Parthenon Group education consultancy. Read the rest of this entry »
No joke, UM ranked among world-top 300 Universities in Times Higher Education ranking, but this UM is not University of Malaya but a university most Malaysians do not know
I could not believe my eyes when I received an email yesterday proclaiming “UM ranked among world-top 300 universities in Times Higher Education World University Rankings” as every informed Malaysian should know by now after a week-long controversy that University of Malaya had suffered the ignominy of being excluded from annual Times Higher Education (THE) Top 400 University Rankings for the fifth consecutive year since the launch of the series in 2010.
When I opened the email, I found that it was indeed true that “UM ranked among world-top 300 universities in THE rankings” but this UM is not the University of Malaya but an university most Malaysians had never heard of before.
This UM is the University of Macau.
The email contained a press release issued by the University of Macau (UM) on 2nd October 2014 that it had been ranked among the world’s top 300 universities, between 276 and 300, by THE World University Rankings 2014-15, and that “this is the first time UM made the list, and, it should be considered an outstanding and momentum building result because merely a few years ago the university were not in the top 400”.
The “UM” announcement, which was forwarded to me yesterday, went on to say:
“In recent years, UM has made a great effort to improve teaching and research, following international standards and making significant social and global outreach.
“In particular, it carried out a comprehensive reform of its undergraduate curriculum, established the Honours College, incorporated international perspective into its curricula, implemdenting an unique ‘4-in-1’ model of education (which consists of discipline-specific education, general education, research and internship education, as well as peer and community education) and established Asia’s largest and in-depth system of residential colleges.”
The UM statement went on to say that while UM welcomes the good results of THE ranking, “it would nevertheless like to stress that the university is not working for a place in the ranking” but “takes to heart the principal reason of education, namely it works to provide the best education for Macao kids to be outstanding global citizens of the 21st century”.
The University of Macau was founded in 1981 as a private university and only became a public university with Macau’s handover to China in 1999. Read the rest of this entry »
Will Najib mention in his 2015 Budget speech on Friday the exclusion of Malaysian universities from the THE Top 400 University Ranking for fifth successive year?
Will the Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak mention in his 2015 Budget speech on Friday the exclusion of Malaysian universities from the Times Higher Education (THE) Top 400 University Ranking 2014 for the fifth successive year?
Or has he forgotten and regretted his challenge to the University of Malaya nine years ago to be among the world’s Top 50 universities by year 2020, which is only five years away?
Three weeks ago, Najib twittered congratulations to the five Malaysian universities which were ranked higher in the Top 400 of the QS World University Ranking 2014, namely University of Malaya (UM) ranked 167 last year to 151; University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) from 269 to 259; University Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) from 355 to 294; Universiti Sains Malaysia from 355 to 309; Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) from 411-420 to 376.
But there has been a deafening silence from Najib as well as from the DPM-cum- Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in the past week over the exclusion of Malaysian universities in Top 400 in another global university ranking – THE University Ranking 2014-2015. Read the rest of this entry »
by Bakri Musa
6th Oct 2014
A Modest Proposal for the Champions of Ketuanan Melayu (Part III)
[In Parts One and Two I suggested that we should focus on enhancing Malay competitiveness and productivity instead of forever begrudging the success of non-Malays or bemoaning the presumed deficiencies of our race and culture. We should begin with our young, the best of them, those at our residential schools. Have high expectations of them, put them through a demanding program, and expose them to rigorous competition.]
The key to any high performing school is the teachers. Both Korean schools (Daewon and Minjuk mentioned earlier) actively sought graduates of top universities to be on their staff. Such highly qualified teachers inspire their students. And when it comes to writing letters of recommendations, those teachers carry much weight, especially when students apply to their teacher’s alma mater.
You do not need and it is impossible for all your teachers to have sterling credentials, only that there should be a critical number of them to set the tone and change the culture. Besides, there are many excellent teachers who are graduates of lesser universities.
Look back at MCKK of yore, with Oxbridge and London University graduates on its staff. At KYUEM, a local college prep school with exemplary record of student achievements, most of its teachers are local but there are sufficient graduates of top universities, including the headmaster, to set the pace and establish a high academic ambience.
On another level, it would be difficult for a local graduate to understand the intricacies and nuances of applying to top foreign universities, or the challenges of attending one. Read the rest of this entry »
Hold a referendum to let the 50,000 undergraduates and post-graduate students of UM and UKM decide whether to join or boycott the THE university rankings
The Universiti Malaya Students Association (PMUM) has come out in support of Universiti Malaya and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia opting out of the annual Times Higher Education Top 400 World University Rankings.
PMUM president Fahmi Zainol said the two universities deserve praise for their move, pointing out that the institutions have been plagued with problems for being too focussed on rankings.
I can understand the view that quality education is not dependent only on university rankings and that universities should not be too obsessed with them. In fact, it has been asked: “University rankings: reliable or rubbish?”
The Norwegian government has even commissioned a study of the placement of Norwegian universities in global rankings and concluded that university rankings are “useless” as a basis for information if the goal is to improve higher education as they are so based on subjective weightings of factors and on dubious data. This Norwegian report was described as “A Kiss of Death for university rankings” by a Norwegian academician.
There are undoubtedly pros and cons on university rankings.
Have Fahmi thought through the whole subject of university rankings and are his views his personal ones, or the official view of the PMUM Executive Committee, as well as representing that of the UKM Students Council?
Are they the views of the 50,000 undergraduates and post-graduate students in the two universities?
If Fahmi is opposed to UM and UKM taking part in the annual THE World University Rankings, why does he support the two universities taking part in the annual QS World University Rankings and UM’s decision to take part in the THE World University Ranking in 2018 when UM is more ready to compete with other established universities around the world?
It would be a good for hold a referendum to let the 50,000 under-graduates and post-graduate students of UM and UKM decide whether the two university should join or continue to boycott the THE university rankings, and let the proponents of both the pros and cons of the argument to state their case, not only to the university student-and-lecturer population but to the nation at large.
This referendum proposition is a subject which PMUM and the UKM Students Council should seriously consider to take up with the university authorities. Read the rest of this entry »
Muhyiddin should initiate a review to end the policy of boycott of UM and UKM in the annual THE World University Rankings to demonstrate our seriousness in wanting to restore the international reputation and academic excellence of Malaysian universities
For the third day in succession, the Barisan Nasional owned/controlled mainstream mass media has maintained a blanket of silence on the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2014 in tandem with the Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Barisan Nasional leaders also going dumb on the latest world’s Top Universities Ranking because of the shame and disgrace of not a single Malaysian university able to crack a placing among the Top 400 Universities listing for the fifth consecutive year.
This is a most strange and abnormal international behaviour, for in the past three days in countries which realize the critical importance of education in determining the future of their economies, the THE World University Rankings 2014 released on Thursday had dominated the public domain and debates, with their mass media and public opinion leaders either celebrating the success of their universities or lamenting their setbacks in the latest THE Top 400 University rankings.
For instance, while the US and UK media reported on the continued dominance of their universities in the Top 400 Universities Ranking, they also warned that “Western leading universities risk declining, Asian institutes keep rising in new rankings”.
Similarly while Australian media take pride in not only having world-class universities but a world-class university system, they worry whether such world standards could be maintained with the full deregulation of tuition fees underway in its radical reform programme, as reflected in headlines like “Australian universities rise in world rankings but report questions proposed tertiary education reforms”. Read the rest of this entry »
Congrats to BN-owned/controlled “mainstream mass media” in achieving a world record in ignoring THE World University Rankings 2014 for two consecutive days because not a single Malaysian university made it to the Top 400 universities list for fifth year
Congrats to the Barisan Nasional-owned/controlled mainstream mass media in achieving a world record in ignoring the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2014 for two consecutive days because not a single Malaysian university made it to the THE Top 400 Universities list for the fifth year in succession.
The THE Top 400 World University Rankings 2014 show a “power shift” from the United States and United Kingdom to the Far East.
While US and UK universities continue to dominate the THE World University Rankings 2014, they are starting to lose ground to East Asian rivals.
What should concern Malaysians is why this shift of higher education excellence from the West to the East has by-passed Malaysia.
Some 24 Asian universities are now in the top 200 compared with 20 a year earlier. This includes two listed in the top 25 – Tokyo University and the National University of Singapore.
In the top 400 universities list, 52 are from Asia, comprising Japan 12, China 12, South Korea 9, Hong Kong 6, Taiwan 6, India 4, Singapore 2, Thailand 1.
But there is not a single Malaysian University not only in the Top 200 but also in the Top 400 universities listed in the THE World University Rankings, not only for 2014 but for the entire five year THE World University Rankings series since 2010. Read the rest of this entry »
What is Najib and Muhyiddin going to do about the crying shame and national disgrace that not a single Malaysian university could get into the THE Top 400 World University Rankings 2014?
Today the media of all countries with higher education masterplans and strategies to take their people and economies to greater heights are focussing and debating the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2014, and the performance of their universities – with the exception of Malaysia.
Not a word in the Malaysian mainstream media owned or controlled by the Barisan Nasional parties about the THE World University Rankings 2014 and the dismal performance of Malaysian universities.
The reason is simple. For the fifth year in succession, since the launching of the THE World University Rankings in 2010, not a single university had made it into the THE Top 400 University Rankings.
The Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin maintains a conspicuous silence about the continued exclusion for the fifth year of Malaysian universities from the THE Top 400 Universities, just as he had continued to maintain a conspicuous, inelegant and infamous silence about Malaysia’s poor performance in the 2011 TIMSS (Trends in International Maths and Science Study) and 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) both of which fell during his term in the education ministry.
Muhyiddin is only good in eating sour grapes with regard to the ranking of Malaysian universities in international university rankings. Read the rest of this entry »
Latest rebuttals to the DPM and PM’s boasts of Malaysia as “world’s best democracy” and “world’s best education system”
Malaysians woke up this morning to further and latest rebuttals to the Deputy Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s boasts of Malaysia as the “one of the world’s best education system” and “world’s best democracy”.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s boast that Malaysia has “one of the world’s best education system” was given a bloody nose by the report that Malaysian universities again failed to make the cut to this year’s Times Higher Education (THE) top 200 global rankings while Singapore’s National University (which shared the same beginnings with University of Malaya) leapt into the top 25 universities list.
The Malay Mail Online in its report “Malaysian universities not in top 200 global rankings, Singapore’s improves” said the latest index shows a significant drop for Malaysian universities from last year’s ranking.
Muhyiddin has been Education Minister for more than five years since 2009.
He should make a Ministerial statement when Parliament resumes next Tuesday on Oct. 7 why all efforts during year tenure as Education Minister for over five years have failed to restore Malaysia’s high international standing in university academic repute and excellence in the fifties and sixties – to the extent that for five consecutive years, none of the Malaysian universities had been able to be ranked among the THE Top 200 University Rankings. Read the rest of this entry »
Muhyiddin should relinquish his portfolio as Education Minister as he had spearheaded the BN campaign and won the Pengkalan Kubor by-election in Kelantan at the expense of his duties to the future of 500,000 UPSR pupils
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has reasons to feel very proud as he can claim chief credit for the Umno/BN victory in the Pengkalan Kubor by-election in Kelantan, winning with an even bigger majority than during the 13th general elections last May.
I don’t think there is another Cabinet Minister from outside Kelantan who had spent so many days and visited Tumpat so many times as Muhyiddin during the 13-day by-election campaign period.
But this by-election victory for BN/UMNO has come at a heavy price – Muhyiddin’s abdication of his responsibilities as Education Minister and in particular his duties and responsibilities to the future generation of Malaysians as since his return from the ASEAN Education Ministers’ Meeting in Vientianne, he headed immediately for Tumpat and his sole pre-occupation since then was to win a bigger victory for Umno/BN in Pengkalan Kubor by-election instead of personally dealing with the outrageous educational scandal in the leak of UPSR examination papers.
During this period, Muhyiddin had only time for one meeting in the Education Ministry on the leak of UPSR Science and English papers – on Sept. 15 when he chaired the special meeting to scrutinize the Standards Operating Procedures (SOPs) used for preparing the UPSR examination papers.
This special UPSR SOP meeting has become a great farce, as Muhyiddin did not appear to know at the meeting that there had been leaks of more UPSR papers including Maths and Tamil, and the UPSR pupils, their parents and the Malaysian public were not informed until Monday on Sept. 22 that the UPSR Maths and Tamil papers had leaked and UPSR pupils are required to resit for these two papers on Oct. 9. Read the rest of this entry »
DAP call for scrapping of re-sitting of UPSR English, Tamil and Maths papers as the 500,000 primary school pupils should not be made to suffer because of the incompetence and lack of professionalism of the Education Minister and his Ministry
DAP calls for the scrapping of the re-sitting of the UPSR English, Tamil and Maths papers as the 500,000 Std. 6 primary school pupils should not be made to suffer because of the shocking incompetence and lack of professionalism of the Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his Ministry.
It is the height of irresponsibility and gross negligence of the first magnitude that the Education Ministry took13 days to announce the leak in the UPSR Maths and Tamil papers and the requirement for UPSR pupils to resit for these two papers on Oct. 9.
The Education director-general Datuk Dr. Khair Mohamad Yusof announced on Monday that the date was fixed after the Examinations Syndicate confirmed on Sunday that the papers sat by the UPSR pupils on Sept. 10 were leaked.
What boggles the mind is that after the disgraceful leak of the UPSR Science and English papers on Sept. 10 and 11, which were discovered on the very same day itself, it has taken the Examinations Syndicate, the Education Ministry and the Education Minister almost a fortnight to discover that the UPSR Tamil and Maths had also been leaked.
If this is not incompetence and lack of professionalism of the first order, I do not know what would qualify to come under the rubric of these two terms. Read the rest of this entry »
DAP calls for Royal Commission of Inquiry into Education to investigate not only into frequent incidence of leaks of Malaysian examination papers in recent years but also all aspects of declining standards of primary, secondary and university education
Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin must have been the most embarrassed Education Minister at the 8th ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting in Vientiane on Thursday when news broke of leaks in this year’s UPSR examination papers, causing the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister to allege that the leaks could have been purposely done to sabotage him personally and the Education Ministry.
Muhyiddin’s allegation of sabotage is most surprising but nobody will give it much credence as Muhyiddin seems to be the only person in Malaysia not to know that leaks in examination papers conducted by the Malaysian examination authority are not unusual occurrences – just as Muhyddin seemed to be the only Malaysian not to know that English is not a compulsory pass subject for SPM when he became Education Minister five years ago.
Last November, the Education Ministry announced a special task force to conduct immediate investigation into the leak of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examination papers but nothing have been heard about these investigations.
So Muhyiddin’s talk about wanting to get to the bottom of the leaks in this year’s UPSR examination papers and to bring the culprits to justice must be taken with a pinch of salt for he has never been serious as Education Minister about leaks in examination papers except on this occasion, when he was made to look so foolish among his peers at the ASEAN conference of Education Ministers by this shameful episode. Read the rest of this entry »
By Dr. Ng Swee Choon
Aug 27, 2014
COMMENT Medical colleges in the country have been hogging the headlines of late. Certain medical colleges have shamed us publicly and internationally for allegedly not paying staff salaries and not settling their contractual dues.
If the medical colleges involved do not feel ashamed, we Malaysians and Malaysian doctors feel the shame. It is certainly not our Malaysian culture to be known across the world for this.
Recently, there was also the irresponsible statement by Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan to cut down on places in public medical colleges when the problem is with private medical colleges. Private medical education is now big business.
I am writing to highlight this very important issue that medical education has now become a business, important only for the bottom line of the company owning the licence. Read the rest of this entry »
– Prof Dr. Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
The Malaysian Insider
27 August 2014
In many senses, it seems funny that Malaysians, particularly the Malays, find great difficulty in the idea of a united, harmonious and happy Malaysia. I am a Malay. All my Malay friends at UTM and other universities and all my relatives and that of my wife are… racist. If I were to invite all of them to a marriage ceremony, the number would easily reach 3,000. Based on a simple sampling of 5% of this population that I engage in socialising, I have established that they know nothing about the idea of “Malaysia”. All they know is the condition of “we just have to tolerate those immigrants and make sure they don’t make us like Singapore” mind set. I have always thought that some of my friends and relatives whom I respect as very pious Muslims would be different, but they too turn out to be racist when political issues are discussed. It came as a shock to me. I thought that Islam would be one of the answers to eliminate racism, but apparently, the “Malay-view” interpretation of Islam always take precedence. Islam is NOT the problem but its racist interpretation is. I know this for a fact because of my vast reading of Islam, thousands of hadiths and many versions of Qur’anic Tafsir.
In this Merdeka celebration, the “idea” of Malaysia seems only in a dream or in a Petronas or a DiGi commercial. The idea of Malaysia does not exist in our schools, in our public universities, at our housing and our cities. But I still remain optimistic. Why? Because my family is NOT racist. My wife who is a retired teacher is not racist. My 28-year-old lecturer daughter educated at IIUM is not racist. My 26-year-old journalist daughter educated at TAR College and Taylors University is not racist. My 23-year-old son in his third year at UCSI University is not racist. My 20-year-old SEGi University daughter is not racist. And my 18-year-old Inti University son is also not racist. How did I manage to form my own small country of “Malaysia”? There are a few simple strategies that I had developed. I will save the most important one for last. Read the rest of this entry »
Muhyiddin should present to October Parliament a Higher Education Masterplan to produce at least two world-class universities by 2020 instead of allowing Malaysian universities to become recruiting grounds for terrorists for Islamic State (IS) war in Syria and Iraq
The admission by the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi that local tertiary institutions have become recruiting grounds for militants and that Dr. Mahmud Ahmad, senior lecturer with University of Malaya (UM)’s Department of Akidah and Islamic Thought, the Academy of Islamic Studies, was among five individuals wanted by the police for militant activities have catapulted Malaysian universities to unwanted national and international attention and publicity.
Instead of producing world-class universities in keeping with the Vision 2020 objective to achieve developed nation status, Malaysian universities have for the past decade been a national embarrassment, annually confirming the absence of world-class universities in Malaysia.
Malaysia was completely absent from the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2013-2014 for the world’s top 400 University.
For the second year running, Malaysia failed to get on the list of the 2014 Times Higher Education (THE) Top 100 Universities under 50 years old – although four Asian universities are ranked among the top 10 of the world’s young universities, two from South Korea, one from Hong Kong and one from Singapore. In Malaysia, all the public universities except for University of Malaya, are under 50 years old.
Malaysia was also excluded from the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2014 for the Top 100 Universities, although 14 universities from Asia were included – five from Japan, two from Singapore, three from South Korea, one from China, two from Hong Kong and one from Taiwan. Read the rest of this entry »
by Sheridan Mahavera
The Malaysian Insider
4 July 2014
A culture of fear and pressure to follow the dictates of political masters built over three decades has made public universities anti-intellectual and mediocre, say academics.
They told The Malaysian Insider that while universities were supposed to be the conscience of society, they, however, have been neutered and muted.
They said political pressure to “toe the line” is a daily reality in universities, and those who are critical are harassed while those who kowtow are rewarded with plum posts.
At the same time, cronyism and racism have led to genuinely hardworking researchers being passed over for salary raises and promotions, while others less qualified, but on good terms with the top administrators, are easily elevated.
If the culture continues, the academics warn, standards in these varsities could plunge, making their degrees virtually worthless and their graduates almost unemployable. Read the rest of this entry »
COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
30 June 2014
This is a good day for Malaysia.
Yes, most of us will be sorry that Professor Datuk Dr Mohamad Redzuan Othman is being forced out of his job at Universiti Malaya.
But this is also a good day for Malaysia. Because the principled stand taken by this gentleman is another sign that there are individuals in Malaysia who will not be cowered or silenced or threatened by insecure Barisan Nasional (BN) politicians aided by supine and morally-bankrupt government officials.
Only a few days ago, Tan Sri Shamsul Abbas, the chief executive officer of Petronas, spoke with unusual candour about the pressure being exerted on the national oil company by rent-seekers. He championed meritocracy, knowing full well the attacks he would invite from those who believe it is their birthright to plunder Malaysia’s resources.
He knows that powerful forces want him out of Petronas. The easier option would have been to say that the national oil company’s resources do not belong to him and look the other way as the plundering continued.
Similarly, it would have been so easy for Redzuan to sacrifice his beliefs for personal advancement and pecuniary interests. Read the rest of this entry »
Review of Syed Husin Ali’s Memoirs of a Political Struggle.
by M. Bakri Musa
Syed Husin Ali: Memoirs of a Political Struggle. Strategic Information and Research Development Center, Petaling Jaya, 2013. 273 pp.
The deserved universal condemnation and merciless ridicule of the Malaysian authorities’ bungling of the MH370 tragedy did not arise in a vacuum. From leaders’ refusing to entertain questions at their press briefings to radar operators ignoring intruding beeps on their screens, this unconcealed contempt for the public, and the accompanying lackadaisical attitude, is the norm.
Our leaders may have had First World education, alas their mentality remains stubbornly stuck in Third World mode. Their bebalism and tidak apaism make the Jamaican “It’s not my job, mon!” a valid excuse by contrast.
To readers of on-line news portals, I am not stating anything new here; likewise to ordinary citizens who have had to deal with governmental agencies. However, when these general inadequacies and gross incompetence in their infinite manifestations are put in print as in books, there is satisfaction, at least to their authors, that they are being documented for posterity. Read the rest of this entry »
by Elizabeth Zachariah
The Malaysian Insider
4 June 2014
Teachers should not be compelled to only support Barisan Nasional as they have the right to support any political party of their choice, educationists said today.
“Teachers are just like any other citizen in the country. And like other professionals, they have political opinions too,” said Hashim Adnan, president of the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP), in response to Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor’s call to teachers to return to politics under BN’s fold.
“They should be given freedom to exercise their rights,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »