The following article is submitted to the editorial of MalaysiaGazette by Dr. Sarala Thulasi Palpanadan from UTHM.
Recently, a few top tertiary institutions in Malaysia announced that some academic courses will not be offered anymore in the upcoming semesters and beyond. For example, University of Malaya informed that some of the academic courses including the seemingly popular degree and master’s programs are to be discontinued. The Northern University of Malaysia (UUM) has also followed suit to end several academic programs while many other public universities have announced that they are looking into this matter seriously as well.
Most public universities in Malaysia are aiming to be industry-friendly to produce more marketable and employable graduates in today’s world. Hence, academic programs that are outdated in terms of content and irrelevant in terms of job market demands are no longer offered to avoid misleading youths with false promises regarding their future.
I find this move applaudable although it is a bare minimum. However, not the same can be said about many other tertiary institutions in our country. It is disheartening to see some institutions offering academic and certificate courses with fancy names just to lure oblivious students and parents simply with the idea of money-making. We hear of many expensive courses that are not even Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) accredited! At the end of the day, many students have been found to graduate with a heavy study loan only to face the harsh reality that their academic knowledge is not sufficient to secure a job.
I think those with knowledge on these matters should exercise more responsibility now. I know of some friends who answer with an it-is-none-of-my-business attitude when parents come to them with serious concerns regarding an academic course or an institution that their kids are looking to enrol in. Yes, it surely does not involve your money or your time, but have some empathy, will you? Share what you know with your friends and family with honesty and integrity, or at least direct them to people who can help. Tell them to access the academic course offered in terms of its MQA accreditation, course outline, career prospects in Malaysia, marketability, and the extent of research currently done in that particular field.
I understand that for many students and parents, it might be a dream-come-true moment to receive an offer letter from any tertiary learning institution for that matter. For some, education is the only way out of poverty, but the irony is seeking this education might only enhance poverty if it is not dealt with conscientiously. Hence, it is a shared responsibility to look out for our future generation and make sure they are not falling victim to money-making tactics alone. This affects us all regardless of our socio-economic and professional background and it is time we act like it. A new academic year is starting soon and let us help one another in this matter.
Dr. Sarala Thulasi Palpanadan
Centre for Language Studies (CLS)
Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM)
Editorial note: The views expressed are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysia Gazette.