A quick update on the state of the 'grading' exercise for the private colleges in Malaysia which was blogged about here and here. The Minister for Higher Education, Tok Pa, was reported in the Star today as saying that a pilot project to grade 10 private colleges has been completed.
I've been generally positive in regards to this move to grade private colleges as this will give the public more information in regards to the quality of higher education in these colleges, an issue which Tony has been and is concerned about and has highlighted many times in this blog.
I've been equally strident in pushing for public universities to be ranked as well though it seems that this is not something that the MOHE is interested in pursuing at this point in time.
I think it's a good idea to run a pilot grading system for selected private colleges first before expanding it to all private colleges in Malaysia. This way, the methodology can be scrutinized and improved as a result. Hopefully, the MOHE will make its methodology public when these 'grades' are released.
The only minor criticism I have is the time this process is taking. This was first brought up in this blog in September 2006, almost a year ago. Hopefully we won't have to wait for another year before we finally get to 'see' these grades.
Quite agree, but on one condition that the quality rankings be done by Times Higher Education Supplement or the Guardian, or closer to home done by The Edge or Malaysian Reserve. This would make it independent off the government and conflict of interest would be minimised. Public and private institutions would be included and thus the publication of the results shows the country's resolve towards transparency and good corporate governance. Finally, the entry requirements of the colleges should be published and weighted into the rankings. I know of one college where the SPM grads were flops and failures only to be accepted by the college later for the money earning capacities.
I think the idea of grading the private universities/colleges is a good one. The government is also establishing the MQA and phasing out LAN eventually.
However, my big problem with all these is the methodologies the government is using to assess all these universities and colleges. Currently LAN panels members consist of almost entirely members from IPTA and we all know very well the quality of these panels. LAN have the power to approve or disapprove any programme offered in IPTS but not IPTA. Very often these panels will go around criticize IPTS the very thing they themselves practicing in IPTA. Very often they imposed ridiculous rules to IPTS so much so they became a restriction for IPTA to improve themsleves.
On the other hand, many IPTS are nothing but money cheating machine. However, they can continue to do so simply because they are politically linked to the government and/or political parties.
Thus, it is very important the methodologies used must be transparent, and panel members to make all these assessment must be fully qualified. Nowadays, it is hard ot think this can be achieved.
Good move. If done properly.
Next level should be planned, in 3-5 years, to benchmark these colleges to the top regional players, then hopefully the world's top colleges.
This will bring Malaysia education forward. Benchmarking Malaysia in 2007 against Malaysia in 1970 will not see us move forward, but backward.
I personally do not see our local public universities improving academically despite being awarded the "prestigious ISO" and auditing by SIRIM and awarded the UKAS seal!!
All I can guess is that some where and some parties are making money out of the exercise
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