Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Do We Need More Varsities?

(Will we be seeing such a headline in Malaysia any time soon?)

Although on the face of it the question of having more varsities may seem simple and straightforward, in the Malaysian context it is a difficult one to answer.

One the one side we have those who want to see more varsities built in our country "as the number of applicants keep increasing every year." One such group is the MCA which has been quoted by the Sin Chew Daily and reported in TheStar: Set up more varsities, says MCA.

On the other hand we have those who worry about our universities being turned into degree mills and fear that "mindlessly increasing the number of graduates without ensuring their quality will just lead to more people joining the ranks of the unemployed and the unemployable." One such report is in The Sun today: Don't turn varsities into degree mills.

***** Given these diametrically opposed views what do you think? It is of course easy to say that we should have more varsities but standards must be maintained. With our poor history in keeping standards on an even keel let alone glitteringly super high quality, is this a workable proposition? Let's hear your side of the story.
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Blogger kittykat46 said...

There are two distinct problems here.
First is the marginal quality of many local university graduates, especially those with General degrees like B.A., B.Sc, and Economics. There's a very obvious lack of rigorous academic standards in some courses in Local Universities. Unfortunately, I have had first hand experience with this, as I often have to make hiring decisions for my department. Its so hard to get good quality candidates from local Unis these days. Due to desperation to fill critical vacancies, I sometimes have to agree to rather mediocre graduates.

The second problem concerns university intake, and I think that’s where the MCA is coming from. Many excellent non-Bumiputra students simply do not get a place or get shunted to courses not of their choice due to University intake policies. For those from lower income families, studying overseas or at one of the private University courses is not an option. The MCA cannot talk about this directly, so they end up calling for more Universities to be set up. Its not the right answer, and its not the right question. The main issue is when will the country get to non-race based admission criteria ?

12:31 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all ,it's a grey area...Whether we want quality or quantity...
Wonder why there are so much of excellent Malaysian students in oversea Varsities...Why is that they can produce results and those in Malaysia is back pedalling...?
We are aiming for quantity not the quality in Malaysia...Varsities has been a platform ,to be the ground to train the ruling parties supporters...And in Malaysia,it has been a staunch abuser of quota system...
Yes ,we apply to meritocracy at this moment for the varsities entry...But does it really had an impact...Still those excellent students are constantly not been offered a good first degree in Malaysia,where this blue-chip degrees are given to some chap who don't even has a grasp of basic varsity qualities...
More rampant is ,there are establishments where to enhance the volume of graduates of certain race so that the politicians can hump all they want ,that our education system has produced so much for this particular society and for the country as well..But it does not matter to them that these graduates are not even worth a salt,even to be a salesman in a beaming hypermarket..
So quit thumping about quota's and meritocracy in Malaysia education policies..Change our curriculum,changed the way students are accepted to be enrolled to varsities,change the mindset of our educators( especially teachers and lecturers),do not mix politics with education and most importantly produce graduates who are an asset to our nation,not a liability..
Quality not quantity matters....

12:45 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous blueheeler said...

Aiyo, there was recent reports about the worrying number of unemployed grads, and that most of these were 'unemployable' due to their poor grasp of English and other technical skills. And now M'sia wants to churn out more grads? This is not even putting-the-horse-before-the-cart.... It's like buying more horses even when the cart remains broken.

2:09 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Billy said...

I too share the same problem as kittykat46 in recruiting quality staff for my company. I once interviewed an econs grad for a sales position. At the start of the interview, I told him, "Since you are applying for a sales position, I want you to sell me a product that you already familiar with, - YOU. I want you to sell yourself to me so it justify me "buying" you for my company". The candidate could only give me a long blank look not knowing how to response. This question was not meant to test his experience in the field of selling (which he has none) but to gauge how articulate he was when communicating with customers. If he cannot sell himself to me, I don't think he was cut out to sell my company's products, effectively that is. He didn't get the job.

2:20 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Crankshaft said...

I don't think we need more universities, but I suspect it is MCAs way to appease the Chinese who face the worst of the quota system.

To be honest, I doubt it is the university which determines how qualified a student is. I have seen students from supposedly inferior universities being able to cope very well indeed in the working world.

And that, I believe is based on attitude towards learning and achieving success.

Yet, I am also inclined to agree with blueheeler.

6:15 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Theshigen said...

we have an education system that stiffles the interest of our young minds...when education becomes rudimentary and mechanical you get mediocre and impassionate graduates...i believe in our rush to grow more our government has been harping more on human resource a couple of years back...and now we have this...

7:32 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Crankshaft said...

Don't get me started on our rote learning system, man. I'm beginning to think our education system is specially formulated to ensure we are unable to think for ourselves.

Studying past-year questions and memorising them to death can certainly assist students in doing well in their 'education'.

Once they enter the working world, they're assaulted by reality and the necessity to figure out things on their own.

12:49 PM GMT+8  

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