As reported by the Star, the Government has agreed in principle to drop the word “college” from the country’s six public university colleges.
In April, public university colleges had asked for the word “college” to be dropped from their names because of perceptions that they were inferior to universities. The six university colleges are Kolej Universiti Kejuruteraan dan Teknologi, Kolej Universiti Kejuruteraan Utara Malaysia, Kolej Universiti Sains dan Teknologi Malaysia, Kolej Universiti Islam Malaysia, Kolej Universiti Teknikal Kebangsaan Malaysia and Kolej Universiti Teknologi Tun Hussein Onn.Our Minister of Higher Education even argued that "[t]here is no difference between a public university or a public university college."
"In fact, both establishments are of the same standard. When students apply for entry, they use the same qualifications, be it STPM or matriculation results," he added.In a separate report, the rectors of the various university colleges echoed the Minister's statements.
Kolej Universiti Sains dan Teknologi Malaysia (Kustem) rector Prof Datuk Dr Sulaiman Md Yassin said the move would help shed the notion that public university colleges were inferior.Err... with all due respect to the Tok Pa, the standards of our universities are not determined by the fact that STPM or matriculation qualifications are used by all students for entry into our local public universities and university colleges. The standards are determined by the results attained by the students accepted into these institutions. All things equal, if a student with the grades of D,E,E can be accepted into one of the university colleges but rejected by the universities, then the former may be regarded as inferior, despite measuring the students on the same STPM qualifications!
“The change will boost the institutions’ image and help people realise that these public university colleges are no different from public universities,” he said.
There is clearly an over-emphasis of form over substance here, in the assumption that by dropping the "college" from the institution's name, it would "help shed the notion that public university colleges were inferior". Some top institutions in the world name themselves a "School" and I'll enrol into them without batting an eyelid. It's really not the name that counts. It's going to be the substantive quality of the institution that matters.
Soon every polytechnic in the country will be upgraded to university status as it would "help shed the notion that public [polytechnics] were inferior". And for that matter, maybe community colleges should be upgraded at some stage too after that.
If you ask me, I say, drop the "university" from the "university college" to better reflect the actual circumstances until such a time whereby they are able to prove the academic research and teaching quality becoming of a full-fledge university. And it'll save the average standards of our public universities from falling further.