POLYTECHNICS are usually viewed as a good option for students from low-income families to pursue higher education. At least that’s the general impression. What’s not known are the struggles and injustice students face in pursuit of their education.
Firstly, classes are frequently cancelled at very short notice. Students sometimes travel from faraway places just to attend one class. Suddenly, they arrive to an empty classroom and news that class has been cancelled.
Other times, students wait for hours in the classroom but lecturers never inform them the class is cancelled. When they ask the lecturer why they were not given earlier notice, they are often scolded.
Secondly, when an issue arises among the students, the management often point fingers at one another. Meeting the person in charge involves a whole day of running around the campus after being told to go here and there.
The person in charge also repeatedly refuses to meet students, claiming that they have too much work. This happens even when students are desperate for help.
Thirdly, the staff and management often behave rudely to students. They scold or raise their voices at students who ask questions or require assistance at their departments. Some lecturers also like to deliberately humiliate students irrespective of the efforts they put into their studies.
Lecturers embarrass them in the classroom for being unable to answer questions or if they ask for further explanations when they don’t understand something.
Students who approach these lecturers for clarification are given unsatisfactory answers, for example, being told to go and read books or being accused of not paying attention in class. As a result, the students are afraid to approach or even ask lecturers for anything.
The behaviour of the staff and management displays a lack of professionalism. For students who are already struggling, it dampens their motivation to continue studying at the polytechnic. Often, they are told to face it quietly or leave, which violates their rights as students as well as human beings.
Students want to appeal to the relevant authorities to check on what’s going on in polytechnics. They have no intention of tarnishing the image of polytechnics and appreciate the opportunity given to them but they, with humble hearts, are asking for a better environment, especially in terms of treatment. With no voice to speak and no ear listening, students – especially from minority groups – are unable to do anything but stay silent.
This subtle form of bullying and blatant discrimination pushes these students to the brink of emotional distress, forcing them to leave their studies halfway.
This certainly is not the case for most polytechnics as there are good ones out there. But it’s not right to ignore the bad apples who spoil the institute’s name, forcing many students to leave because of mistreatment.
Just think of the plight of their families and the bleak future that awaits them. All humans deserve respect and fair treatment. Hopefully, the relevant authorities will take strict action on the irresponsible individuals involved.
Concerned Family Member Klang The STAR Opinion Letters July 24, 2017