Monday, December 26, 2005

"Genuine Academics vs Administrative Academics"

With the lazy Christmas holidays slowly trickling away, I just thought I'd share a letter in the Education segment of the Star from a PhD holder, Arzmi Yaacob (clearly no relation of the vice-chancellor of Universiti Malaya) who was basically arguing that "administrative academics" aren't "genuine academics". :-)

To Arzmi, "administrative academics":
These “administrators in academic cloaks” thrive on university politics, and are good at maintaining good relations with policy makers, which enhances their positions.

These “administrative academics” hardly write and present papers, or do research.

Although these “administrative academics” hardly publish academic materials, they are often the ones who decide whether the work of others who carry out research, and write and present papers, is of the right quality or standard.

Sometimes, they even comment or criticise work done by others.
On the other hand, "genuine academics": fear that their dedication to their profession may not be given the same recognition accorded to those holding administrative posts.

Some suffer in silence for they fear that if they voice their frustration, they may be branded as sour grapes.
And to summarise and conclude:
What is present in universities today is a system whereby academics holding important posts seem to command more respect than those who produce good academic work. It is no wonder that more academics now clamour for administrative positions rather than prove themselves as academics.
Tan Sri Dato' Professor Dr, anyone?


Maverick SM said...

It is not being an Administrative Academician that makes the Prof gigantic and powerful. It is about carrying the hardballs and kissing the asses.

Malaysian Public Universities do not compete and get promoted based on academic competence. It is based on relationship management and rubbing the right shoulders.

You would be lucky if you have relatives in powderful position up in the hierarchy. Otherwise, join UMNO Youth.

Anonymous said...

The new generation of street-smart Malay academics, who want to move up the academic ladder quickly, read the book entitled "Rapid Verticle Movement in Academia for the Dummmies": get a basic degree, apply to join a public university on SLAB (Skim Latihan Akademik Bumiputra), join a branch of UMNO (Youth or Putri will do) and get into a committee, be seen with the right group (who you know is more important than what you know), be prepared to come out with some nice pantun praising your political masters at the right time, let your bosses in academia know your cable connection to UMNO, viola, promotions come raining anjing dan kucing to you! Success!

academic observer said...

anonymous, you are right. As an example, look at the VC and deputy VC's of UM- 100 per cent street-smart Malay academics. All of them have political connections. For example, some of the deputy VCs are members/chairmen of UMNO club during their graduate studies overseas.

wong keat wai said...

I think short of starting a "revolution" within the Higher Education System, there isn't likely to be much improvement in the system. - like for example, sacking half of the academicians and rehired foreigners.