Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Tertiary Education Shopping: Students Beware

Following on my current theme on things to look out for, for students who have just completed their SPM and STPM examinations - see articles here and here - I'll blog here additional "experiences" related by former students cited in the Star on Sunday.

The quote which caught my eye, something which I've been harping on continuously on this site:

“When we look at their website and brochures, they promised to deliver first-class education and facilities. For the money we paid, all we got was disappointment.”

Here's a list of some of the other typical complaints of the local private colleges:
  • No clear entry requirements resulting in course switching midway
Many students in M Radha’s programme were forced to switch to another course because they couldn’t fulfil the requirements. “The requirements were not made clear to us. They kept saying they hadn’t finalised the details”
  • Differing standards between local university college and foreign partner university
... the students were only told in their second year that the overseas university had different grading standards, which resulted in their marks being adjusted downwards... As a result, Radha and Michael, along with many other coursemates, have switched to a local degree programme with the same university college.
So does the switch imply that the local degree programme is of lower standards than the foreign partner programme?
  • Unexplained fees
S. Reena*, who is in her fourth year of a biomedical programme with a university college in Selangor, is extremely frustrated because the miscellaneous fees she pays do not seem justified. “We pay an annual fee of RM550 which includes library and computer lab fees, activities and insurance. During our registration, we also paid for e-learning facilities and the alumni association. However, I don’t think I am getting my money’s worth.”

Reena says there are not enough computers considering the number of students, while the e-learning promise never materialised. Although they continue to pay the insurance fees, their insurance cards have expired, but the college keeps assuring them that they are still covered.

“As for the activities and alumni fees we pay, we have yet to see anything organised! On top of that, we still pay membership fees when we join any society. So I don’t understand what they’re charging us for,” she says.

During registration, no one pays attention to these details, says Reena. Once they are already in the college, most students prefer not to make a fuss out of concern for their grades. “I would advise others to really find out, and even scout around the college and speak to students before registering,” says Reena.
  • Always verify the advertised facilities
Like most students, Mei Shan and Yi Jian assumed they would get what they paid for. Little did they know that the nightmare had just started. They had to share a computer with four other students during workshops.

Yi Jian says she could barely hear what the lecturers said. “The hall was huge and there were more than a hundred students. Besides, the lecturers merely read from the slides on the projector,” she says.
So once again, please be extremely cautious in your route to tertiary education and your choice of institution. Always remember that providing top quality education isn't always a priority among Malaysian private colleges as commercial considerations and profits do often get into the way.


Anonymous said...

I believe I have sent Tony an email about certain false information published on a few commercialised colleges' websites. These claims makes them seem better than they actually are.

Tony, I have asked you then and will again do so. Is it legal to do so? Don't we as consumers have the right to sue them for falsifying information?


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Anonymous said...

Open communication or not does not make sense anymore - and we have to live in this Bolehland unless we got a chance and money to emigrate.

This is how they want the country to be rule and rot. Malaysians have given many comments on all this crap, but all remain unheard.

Sometimes I just felt that we are wasting our time putting up comments for a better Malaysia where the government is not prepared for and yet still dwell in denial.

In this Bolehland of denial, any effort to improve the country is considered insult and unpatriotic. There is no way it can change and that is the fact.

We only can change our own destiny and not this country by emigrating.

No wonder there are so many government-sponsored students (malays and non-malays) choose to remain overseas to work and live - to stay away from this Bolehland……….

You need globalisation to teach them a lesson - it won't be long and soon you will see the effect - in fact the rot has already started.

What you and Malaysians want is just a transparent, fair and accountable government to equip the country to face the globalisation challenge, and yet the government take it as a plot to discredit the country.

Whatever good deeds you fight for, they label you as unpatriotic, traitor, party agenda, nonsense and communist.

Hearing all this really breaks heart and many Malaysians hearts.

Anonymous said...

Why are you commentators so bent on bringing up racial issues? Yes, we know the system is heavily skewed towards bumis. You guys are just regurgitating the same old same old.

Why can't instead of all that bickering and angst, you figure out a better solution.

Anonymous said...

Ok Tony/Kian Ming,

I'm getting rather annoyed by these unrelated comments that tends to highlight the same point over and over again. The issue that is being discussed here is the quality of post SPM and STPM courses offered in local colleges. However, no matter what the topic is, the comments gave by some readers are irrelevant and redundant to me.

Anonymous said...


I have a suggestion. Why not put in the names of the more reputable colleges/universities. List down the courses that are accredited or that are conducted 'properly'. Get the current students studying in these institutions to help. They can give their comment. This is the only way to help these school leavers. Instead of them getting cheated year after year. This way we can also weed out the cheats.

Anonymous said...

tony, i agree with anonymous above on the suggestion that on starting somekind of forum to discuss the quality of private colleges coming from the grassroots-level itself. the students both current and former would be very able to give their insight and comment, hopefully both good and bad. i do believe that despite the general poor quality of these programmes, former students do manage to succeed in their life after graduating.

Anonymous said...

Actually graduates will survive lah because some employers don't know also which institution is better and which is not.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you can guess the quality of the education by finding out the background details of the lecturers / professors involved in your course. Things like his level of education, from which university, how many years of experience, is he full time or part time, interview a few students if posible.

It is worth the time spent to find out more information before registering. Don't be shy or lazy, do this if you want a better smoother career path later in life.

Anonymous said...

Yes going to private colleges can be a dangerous thing especially losing RM38000 and asked to cough up RM6000 for every six months which is even more. It is like extortion and some colleges are not shy about doing it. That was my experience with a DBA program with a private college that changed name three times and now would be taken up by a university college in town.