Tuesday, June 06, 2006

More "New" Universities

Looks like we'll officially have 17 public universities in Malaysia soon, an increase of 6 from the current 11, and excluding the planned university in Kelantan. They are not in actual terms "new" universities, but soon-to-be-former "university colleges".

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.

“The change will boost the institutions’ image and help people realise that these public university colleges are no different from public universities,” he said.
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!

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.


Anonymous said...

What about the quality of our first floor shop lots private universities?

This country has really gone overboard!

clk said...

Ah..politicians meddling in our unis again...TonyBlair did it to the Polys in the UK.

Name does not change anything. Look at MIT,LSE,IC,Caltech,LBS to name a few WORLD CLASS schools without university in their name (UofLondon schools are exception).

Anonymous said...

Looks like we'll officially have 23 public universities in Malaysia soon, an increase of 6 from the current 17, and excluding the planned university in Kelantan. They are not in actual terms "new" universities, but soon-to-be-former "university colleges"


Are u sure 23 universities. Currently we have 17 IPTAs including College Universities. MOHE only plan to change the name. The figure remain the same.

Golf Afflicted said...

Anon 10:49:03 AM is correct. My apologies with the stats. We currently have 17 IPTAs including the university colleges (UCs). Hence it'll be 18 once the one in Kelantan comes on board. (I've edited the post to rectify the error)

Currently there are 11 public universities, 6 public UCs (none in 2000!), 20 polytechnics (11 in 2000) and 34 community colleges (none in 2000!).

The stats demonstrates the speed at which we are increasing the capacity at tertiary level with no possible/realistic way in which to maintain the standards of academic staff and students.

This have yet to take into consideration the increase in private universities (+6) and UCs (+11) in the past 5 years!

Tony P

Anonymous said...

..universities have assisted in shaping successful entrepreneurs through the years ..now we have entrepreneurs courting MOE for university status..

..but question is how fruitful are such new status if the management expands and inadventently divided into 2 camps - one side of managment is "EXCO" based
(commercialised and profit-based)and the other side is "SENATE" based (theoretical PhDs academicians)..do both sides understand the needs of the other?
and staff matters? .. will the HR be ever so narrowly corporate-based and view Research Time as Non Income Churning Time?

Anonymous said...

This reflects the short-sightedness of our current government in executing actions and plans - shoot first, think later, and carry out damage control later.

Many actions had been carried out by our government without proper and thorough thinking and evaluation, leading to countless wastage of government funding. For example, by simply changing the names of the various university colleges to universities, a huge sum of money will be spent by each of these new universities to replace their stationery, letter heads, logos, websites, etc., and to redo the paintwork on their official cars and buses, billboards, etc.

What a waste of public money when Najib asked people to change their lifestyles.

However, maybe there is a hidden agenda in these seemingly incompetent actions of our government. Maybe that's the intention so that some selected people will be given the contract to replace and repaint the above-mentioned items.

If there is no demand, create a demand and create new job opportunities. A smart move not appreciated by ordinary tax payers but warmly welcomed by the selected few cronies. Easy money into pockets and no fear of being charged under corruption.

Anonymous said...

The same kind of comments by the same kind of people are given in this blog. Anything new besides the government policy bashing that you guys enjoy doing? I think there is nothing wrong with the change of status from college university to university. It just reflect the need to have more educated people in Malaysia and quality wise, they are not that bad at all. Do you notice that not many differing views are given in this blog. The same old views about taxpayers money being wasted and etc. Maybe it is an indication that your blog is narrowing its readership to only a selected few. Anything new besides the bashing tony? Anything productive?

simple guy

Anonymous said...

A local university went through a corporatization exercise and decided to uniformized the colour of all its vehicles ..(and guess how many vehicles the university have?)

Then, suddenly after converting almost all vehicles to the uniform corporate colours, additional new vehicles revert back to any colour.
What a waste of public funds!

I wonder how much it cost to repaint a vehicle?? Multiply this by the FOOL FACTOR.... it must be substantial

Anonymous said...

simple guy,

I agree with u 100%. Sometimes comments and bashing were done without any valid reasons or authorities to support.

I believed that changing the status of the UCs to University will benefit everyone including the students.

We need to invest. Rebranding by corporate sectors also cost millions. Why? Let give them a chance to prove. Be positive.

Anonymous said...

The same suggestion can be taken as negative (bashing) or constructive. It is in your mind and attitude (open or closed).

"This reflects the short-sightedness of our current government in executing actions and plans - shoot first, think later, and carry out damage control later."

This is actually a constructive remark, suggesting that the government or its agencies should think carefully all implications before jumping quickly and blindly into some actions, e.g., like coming up with "University College" versus "University". A simple act but an act with long term implications.

Only after a few years does the government realise the implications and decide to change "University College" to "University". Again a simple act but an act that is going to cost a lot of money, of course unnecessary wastage of taxpayers money (whose money otherwise?).

If our government or its agencies are smart and brilliant, or even with commonsense, we don't have to make comments that appear negative to some people.

But, again, we don't know the real hidden motives of our government or its agencies, when they make so simple errors in their decisions. Total incompetence? Hidden self-enriching motives?

Anonymous said...

Another news about the short-sightedness of our government in executing actions and plans:


Muhammad Taib was the Selangor chief minister when Mahathir was the prime minister. He told Sin Chew Daily that a lot of huge projects were implemented hastily without being discussed thoroughly with the relevant units.

Muhammad Taib said Mahathir made many decisions which had brought hardships to the people, and Malaysians had to undertake this responsibility until this day.

Anonymous said...

The key question is what the Ministry of Education is doing to ensure a reasonably high educational standard among the universities (including the university colleges)in this country. I agree with some of you who have suggested that the description of the institutions is not the most important consideration. It is not right to say that the bachelor's degrees conferred by the public universities are difinitely better than those conferred by the private university colleges. In fact, if the management of private colleges work hard enough and the colleges are properly funded, they can challege the public universities in terms of the quality and employability of their graduates. Let us look at the following example. An university decided to offer its MBA programmes through a business administration department within its faculty of economics. Subsequently the university upgraded the the department to a college of business administration. It then went on to rename the college and called it a business school. Finally it divided the business school into business school (for BA, BSc and BCom programmes) and graduate school of management (for MBA, PhD and DBA programmes). The renaming exercise alone would not change anything when it came to the MBA programmes. I am concerned that our universities (public or private) have opted for the business of paper mills, thus making Malaysian education a laughing stock. The NUS and MU share the same origin in Singapore. Today the NUS is one of the best universities in Asia, while MU alumni watch the slide in world ranking of their university helplessly. Organizations that teach management do not appear to be good in management. What have possibly gone wrong? Does it matter if we call MU the Royal University of Malaysia or rename its MBA programmes to AMBA programmes, where A means Advanced?
Tony Blair has nothing to do with whatever we do in Malaysia.

Anonymous said...

I guarantee you the day will come when the degrees produced by our universities is not worth the paper its printed on.

When that time comes, the values of our 'prestigious and world class universities'degrees will be no better than the toilet paper roll.

Liberalisation of education here means liberalisation of standards and quality.See the marketing strategy of OUM in inviting mature students to do their degrees