June 2nd, 2012

Salaries: Local lecturers in a class above rest

I REFER to the letter from A.L. of Kota Baru ("Salaries: Take Care of Local Lecturers" -- NST, May 23). The Higher Education Ministry acknowledges the concern expressed regarding the remuneration scheme for lecturers.

The ministry shares the same concern, and we acknowledge the contribution and efforts of our homegrown lecturers in developing human capital in Malaysia.

As such, we are constantly looking into new initiatives to improve the scheme of service in terms of career advancement and remuneration schemes as some incentives enjoyed by lecturers are not reflected in the scheme for academic staff.

The government has approved many of these initiatives over the years in support of measures to attract and retain the best talent in the public higher education institutions. In terms of service, university lecturers have the following advantages:

PROSPECTIVE university lecturers with a PhD qualification may be appointed directly to Grade DS51 compared with other schemes of service, which begin at grade 41 and where one has to go through the process of promotion to other grades such as 44 and 48.

University lecturers at Grade DS45, who complete PhD successfully, will be promoted to Grade DS52. The PhD achievement is taken into account as evidence of excellence for promotion purposes compared with other service schemes, where the person still needs to prove excellence in service even with a PhD qualification;

THE promotion of lecturers does not require that there be any vacancy in any post. Anyone who is qualified can be promoted to any post, right up to that of distinguished professor (professor ulung) level. Other service schemes do not have this advantage, except for some schemes that provide this promotion but it is until grade 54 only (for example, Medical Services Scheme and the Research Officer Scheme of Service); and,

THERE are no obstacles for promotion for an excellent university lecturer due to age or length of service as these are not the basis for promotion in the scheme. Based on our records, there are university lecturers who have been promoted to professor in their early 30s and most university lecturers with potential reach professorship status in their careers before the age of 50.

Distinguished universities are measured by the quality of their graduates, research and publications that are recognised internationally and contribution to the advancement of mankind through economic progress and intellectual discourse. Therefore, the level of scholarly academic staff is vital to a university. Accordingly, the provision of promotions based on a time-based scheme does not apply to the University Lecturer Services Scheme. This allows each university to always increase the level of their scholarship and inculcate the competitive culture among academic staff.

The scheme of service for lecturers is considered the better scheme, if not the best in the context of civil service remuneration in Malaysia. However, the ministry, with the support of the Public Service Department and other relevant central agencies, will continue to improve the incentives and benefits for lecturers.

Raihanah Khudri, head of corporate communications, Higher Education Ministry, Putrajaya

Source:New Straits Times Letters to the Editors 01 June 2012

Discipline: Some still need to be cane

THE letter "Deny children what they love most" (NST, May 31) has called for the need to execute punishment in different ways and in a more humane way. The writer has discouraged caning.

The writer fails to realise that the students of today are different from the students of yesteryear by their boldness, aggressiveness and violent nature. Students today are more boisterous and rebellious because they are more aware of their rights and know the limitations of the teacher.

It is easy for those not involved in teaching to pass judgement on the caning issue. Teachers in schools know of what they are going through mentally and emotionally due to student indiscipline. Students have no fear of teachers. It is not easy to teach without proper class management.

Teachers do not have the time to try out the "denial approach" in the classroom. Caning is the only proven way to get their attention. No one is advocating that the teacher goes on a rampage caning of every student who misbehaves. Caning is only to be used for students who have no fear of rules and who transgress the rights of other students.

Widespread student indiscipline such as gangsterism, bullying and truancy are the symptoms of an educational system that needs to be revamped. Having students who are non-academically inclined in normal schools is a sheer waste of human potential and a nerve-wracking experience for academically inclined students and teachers.

The short-term treatment to indiscipline in schools is to "Bring back the cane" (NST, May 26) to the school. Teachers should be given the authority to wield power to bring order in school. Fear and pain can bring students to their senses.

Psychology, denial strategies and counselling sessions do not work with these students, only pukul-logy can discipline them. It can be harsh but that is the only way to discipline students who have gone astray. Since parents have failed to play their role as guardians, then schools should be given the onus to punish them accordingly.

Student indiscipline in schools needs to be dealt with seriously and urgently. Teachers have to be entrusted with authority to wield some power. The British, who are supposedly the moral custodians of human rights of children, advocate the maxim "spare the rod and spoil the child". Some children need to be caned.

Samuel Yesuiah, Seremban, Negri Sembilan

Sourcee: New Straits Times Letters to the Editors 01 June 2012