Both Kian Ming and I have written regularly on our concerns that the current administration appears to be more interested in boosting quantity at the expense of quality in our education system from various angles.
Most recently, there has been plans of increasing the number of PhD holders in our local varsities. On the surface, this is critical for our academia to increase its standards. Kian Ming who was quoted in the article, "blamed the slide on the quality of academics, as only one-third of them have doctorate degrees".
However, with the criteria set on the "quantity" over "quality" of PhD holders, cynicism has clearly set in as to whether our local universities are just going to accept PhD holders from less academically reputable colleges - and we are certainly not alone in thinking so.
...eminent academician Khoo Kay Kim felt there was too much emphasis on increasing the number of PhD holders, instead of producing quality doctorate graduates. 'If this goes on, next year I expect the rankings to slip further,' he said.Kian Ming added that "many lecturers were promoted based on their administrative know-how and know-who, rather than on works published in respected journals."
As highlighted by my earlier post, and now confirmed by The Times Higher Education Supplement, the slide of Malaysian universities was largely due to the fact that our local academics can now no longer vote for their own universities in the surveys (this type of no-integrity blow-own-trumpet shameless culture amongst our local academia is really quite shocking!)
Mr Martin Ince, who coordinated the survey, said this year, academics were not allowed to rate their own universities. This affected the Malaysian universities' ranking, he told The Straits Times in an e-mail.Can things get worse? By the looks of things, very likely as long as the administration refuses to recognise some of the core causes of the decline in academic standards of our local universities, such as a leadership with a denial syndrome as well as a clear lack of transparency in the student admission and the academic recruitment and promotion process.
As Associate Professor Azmi Sharom of University Malaya's law faculty put it succintly:
Quality will suffer as long as there is the dual entry system. It's time to have meritocracy in the proper sense.Will they listen? Or continue to wear the Emperor's new clothes?