February 25th, 2015

Pendidikan vokasional wajar dimula sejak Tingkatan Satu

Jenama Buatan Malaysia menguasai pasaran global dalam tempoh 20 tahun mendatang. Ketika itu, hampir semua negara bertumpu di Malaysia bersandarkan produk dan perkhidmatan berkualiti, diiktiraf, berteknologi tinggi, inovatif, kreatif serta memberi manfaat kepada pengguna sejagat.

Boleh diandaikan pada tahun 2035 itu, Malaysia mencapai kemuncak sebagai sebuah negara maju berteraskan vokasional dan teknikal. Waktu itu, negara kita adalah pengeluar enjin elektrik dan solar berteknologi tinggi, malah mempunyai pakar autotronik bagi kenderaan berteknologi tinggi, pembekal produk inovatif penyejukan dan penyaman udara, pembekal perkhidmatan katering diiktiraf dunia, hab bagi fesyen dan seni kecantikan serta pakar rujuk dalam seni bina kapal dan marin.

Dunia juga bertumpu di negara ini kerana modal insan yang pakar dalam industri pertukangan kayu, pengendalian mesin cetak, pembersihan kenderaan dan bangunan, dobi, mengecat kenderaan dan bangunan serta kemahiran inovatif dalam teknologi tayar.

Misi berteraskan vokasional

Inilah bayangan visi dan misi modal insan negara berteraskan vokasional pada waktu itu dan pastinya ia boleh dicapai. Transformasi pendidikan vokasional yang dilaksanakan Kementerian Pendidikan sejak tahun 2012 mula diperkemaskan dan kurikulum standard Kolej Vokasional disusun semula mengandungi 70 peratus latihan kemahiran dan 30 peratus akademik.

Perubahan itu sudah pun berlaku lewat 70-an dan 80-an, masyarakat memandang sebelah mata kepada mereka yang mempunyai pendidikan vokasional. Kini tidak lagi selepas Kolej Vokasional (KV) menawarkan Diploma Vokasional Malaysia (DVM) yang dikeluarkan Lembaga Peperiksaan termasuk taraf DVM diiktiraf dan diakreditasi Malaysia Accreditation Qualification (MQA).

Lebih-lebih lagi kurikulum asas KV berlandaskan National Occupancy Skills Standard (NOSS) ditambah dengan pelbagai kemahiran mengikut keperluan industri seperti Employability Skills, Production Based Education, School Enterprise dan On The Job Training.

Persoalannya, setakat mana pula syarat kelayakan kursus diploma lanjutan dan ijazah sarjana muda di politeknik, universiti awam dan swasta menerima pakai kelayakan pelajar yang mempunyai DVM? Perkara ini perlu dilihat serius dan segera dalam memastikan visi dan misi kementerian ada kesinambungan kepada pelajar DVM untuk melanjutkan pendidikan pada peringkat lebih tinggi.

Data menunjukkan 80 peratus graduan lepasan vokasional di Institut Latihan Perindustrian (ILP) memperoleh pekerjaan, manakala ujian rintis Kementerian Pendidikan terhadap graduan vokasional dan kemahiran menunjukkan 95 peratus mendapat pekerjaan dengan gaji asas tinggi.

Jerman adalah contoh terbaik yang memberi tumpuan utama kepada rakyat dalam pendidikan vokasional dan teknikal yang dimulakan sejak seabad lalu dan bangkit semula selepas Perang Dunia Kedua. Hingga 70 peratus pelajar peringkat menengah negara itu memasuki sekolah aliran vokasional dan teknikal.

Pelajarnya dilatih dalam 340 bidang pekerjaan dan kerajaannya berjaya mengurangkan kadar pengangguran dan meningkatkan pendapatan rakyat. Malah, sekitar 100,000 jurutera dan saintis baharu dilahirkan di negara itu menerusi 200 sekolah dan fakulti kejuruteraan dan teknikal saban tahun.

Jerman sebenarnya berpaksikan kepada kelompok masyarakat yang dikenaliMittelstand sebagai tulang belakang ekonominya. Kelompok ini diasuh dan diajar mengikut generasi ke generasi yang mana 99 peratus daripada tiga juta syarikatnya dengan pekerja tidak lebih 500 orang di Jerman adalah milik keluarga.

Tumpuan Malaysia memperkasakan latihan kemahiran bagi melahirkan tenaga kerja berkemahiran tinggi berada di landasan tepat.

Tambah kemahiran

Cabaran pertama supaya bidang kemahiran vokasional dan teknikal sedia ada ditambah kepada 100 bagi tahun 2015 ini. Kemahiran vokasional dan teknikal amat penting untuk mengisi pasaran pekerjaan sedia ada. Ia berkait rapat dengan dunia keusahawanan dan dengan itu subjek ini perlu diajar serentak dengan bidang kemahiran berkenaan.

Cabaran kedua supaya pendidikan vokasional dan teknikal dimulakan dari Tingkatan Satu. Sistem persekolahan pada peringkat rendah sepatutnya mengenal pasti potensi pelajar, sama ada disalurkan ke bidang akademik, ataupun vokasional dan teknikal. Kita tidak perlu lagi memaksa pelajar belajar perkara tidak diminati.

Tenaga pengajar perlu dimantapkan. Di Jerman guru vokasional menerima imbuhan tinggi kerana mereka perlu menjalani latihan yang panjang. Inilah yang menjadikan Jerman peneraju teknologi terkini khasnya dalam bidang automotif, kejuruteraan berat dan ketenteraan.

Jerman sudah bermula 100 tahun lalu dan kita mempunyai laluan pantas menjadikan pendidikan vokasional sebagai sistem alternatif bagi menjadikan Malaysia bukan sahaja sebuah negara maju malah sebagai sebuah negara yang dirujuk. Ahmad Fauzi Mustafa Berita Harian Kolumnis 25 Feb 2015

Gerakan Memartabatkan Melayu

PERKATAAN renaisans yang membawa maksud pembaharuan atau ke­lahiran semula bukanlah sesuatu yang baharu ke­rana ia telah digunakan bagi merujuk kepada kebangkitan kuasa Barat pada abad ke-14 hingga ke-16 Masihi.

Sehubungan itu, apabila disebut renaisans Melayu ia merujuk kepada kebangkitan semula orang Melayu dalam segenap bidang bagi memastikan kaum itu tidak lagi terpinggir daripada arus pembangunan negara.



Poster renaisans.

Sejajar dengan matlamat berkenaan, maka pada Sabtu ini lebih 20,000 peserta akan menghadiri Perhimpunan Gerakan Renaisans Melayu yang menjadi medan bagi memperkasakan agenda pembangunan orang Melayu.

Perhimpunan itu dianjurkan oleh Majlis Perundingan Melayu (MPM), sebuah organisasi yang diterajui oleh golongan kenamaan dan cendekiawan Melayu yang kebanyakannya sudah bersara daripada bidang masing-masing tetapi masih aktif mempertahankan hak orang Melayu.

Antara matlamat perhimpunan adalah untuk meningkatkan semangat anak Melayu bahawa mereka mampu berdiri seiring dengan kaum lain, sekali gus memupuk semangat ‘Melayu Hebat’ dalam kalangan generasi muda.

Perhimpunan itu juga menandakan bermulanya satu gerakan yang komprehensif dan terancang bagi memartabatkan orang Melayu sebagai kaum yang ulung.

Majlis berkenaan dianjurkan secara bersama oleh Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara), Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputera (Teraju), Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) serta Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim).

Para peserta adalah terdiri daripada ahli pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO), pemimpin politik Melayu termasuk daripada parti pembangkang, badan akademik dan orang awam.

Perhimpunan yang berlangsung di Stadium Putra, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur pada Sabtu dijadualkan bermula pukul 5 petang.

Ia akan dirasmikan oleh Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak serta dihadiri pemimpin tertinggi ke­rajaan lain.

Selain amanat yang akan disampaikan oleh Najib, beliau juga akan mengetuai upacara menandatangani Waad Melayu Abad Ke-21 di penghujung majlis itu nanti. Waad yang sering dikaitkan dengan kehidupan masyarakat Melayu lama merujuk perjanjian taat setia orang Melayu terhadap pemerintah.

Ketika perhimpunan itu juga akan diadakan solat maghrib berjemaah, bacaan doa selamat dan deklamasi puisi renaisans Melayu. Ia akan disusuli dengan beberapa agenda lain termasuk pelancaran penubuhan Sekretariat Tetap Gerakan Renaisans Melayu.

Agenda besar lain untuk orang Melayu yang akan dilancarkan ketika majlis itu membabitkan Dana Pendidikan RM1 Bilion, Koperasi MPM RM1 Juta dan inisiatif industri halal dikuasai Melayu.

Di samping itu, ju­ruacara juga akan me­nemubual beberapa to­koh dan negarawan yang hadir, mengenai hasrat dan aspirasi mereka terhadap gerakan berkenaan dan harapan kepada kaum Melayu di masa hadapan.

MPM sebelum ini merancang untuk mengadakan perhimpunan itu pada 10 Januari lalu di tempat sama tetapi terpaksa membatalkannya atas sebab bencana banjir.

Setiausaha MPM, Datuk Dr. Hasan Mad dalam satu kenyataan berkata, perhimpunan tersebut bertujuan menggerakkan kebangkitan semangat orang Melayu dalam mewujudkan penyatuan bermaruah dan menguatkan perpaduan sesama kaum.

Menurutnya, ancaman terhadap orang Melayu turut berakar umbi daripada perpecahan dalaman termasuk di kalangan mereka yang berfahaman liberal dengan menyokong amalan lesbian, gay, biseksual dan transgender (LGBT) yang tidak selari dengan ideologi Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

“Perpecahan dalam kalangan orang Melayu tidak terhad dalam politik semata-mata malah banyak lagi faktor yang mendorong ke arah itu.

“Bagi mengekang permasalahan ini, kita minta semua pihak agar dapat mengemukakan cadangan ketika perhimpunan tersebut bagi mengubah nasib orang Melayu supaya menuju ke arah yang lebih baik,” katanya.

Tambah beliau, dalam perhimpunan berkenaan, orang Melayu juga akan meluahkan kepada pemerintah agar pembangunan kaum itu di negara ini dapat dicapai secara holistik berteraskan maqasid syariah (objektif syarak).

“Agenda pembangunan berpaksikan maqasid syariah iaitu agama, nyawa, akal, keturunan dan harta tidak boleh dipisahkan mahupun bergerak secara sendiri,” ujarnya.

Dalam pada itu, kata Hasan, antara keunikan lain adalah program itu akan diadakan tanpa protokol dan semua tetamu kehormat akan hadir dalam keadaan tidak formal.

“Program ini kami buat dengan tiada protokol. Kita jemput Perdana Menteri, Timbalan Perdana Menteri, menteri dan timbalan menteri, tetapi mereka datang secara tidak formal dan bukan seperti majlis-majlis lain.

“Kita akan memberi peluang kepada peniaga untuk membuka gerai makanan dan sebagainya di luar stadium berkenaan dan Perdana Menteri sendiri pun kena beli makanan di gerai itu kerana pada program ini kita layan sama rata. Ini kerana kita semua anak Melayu semua sama taraf,” katanya.

Melayu Oh! Melayu: Februari dan Bahasaku...

SALAM BAHAGIA kepada peminat Cuit. Maaf kerana kolum ini tenggelam timbul sejak kebelakangan ini.

Banyak perkara yang mengganggu fikiran, yang menyebabkan ada kala saya tidak berminat untuk menulis.

Namun sebagai seorang wartawan profesional yang mendapat pendidikan formal dalam media serta bergaji tetap dalam bidang ini insya-Allah saya akan terus menulis.

Tetapi saya bukanlah penulis yang sudah tidak terkawal seperti di alam maya di sana. Di sana semacam sudah tidak terkawal.

Pelbagai analisis, cuitan, gurauan, sindiran, satira, hentaman, pembohongan yang ditulis pelbagai pihak.

Malaysia boleh saya sifatkan antara negara yang terlalu bebas kebebasan bersuaranya.

Pendek kata, di alam maya Malaysia sekarang tuduh-menuduh, tohmah-mentohmah berlaku saban hari. Jika di alam fana ini orang bercerita mengenai hantu raya, yang tidak pun kelihatan dengan mata kasar, tetapi di alam Internet ini kita dengan jelas melihat hantu raya maya berlegar-legar bebas.

Adakah ini baik untuk kita? Adakah Amnesty International mengiktiraf kita kerana kebebasan itu? Adakah Barat memuji kita? Adakah sekatan keras kerajaan Singapura misalnya ke atas hantu raya maya itu mendapat kutukan antarabangsa?

Atau, adakah perbuatan China menyekat aplikasi media sosial Barat termasuk Facebook mendapat kejian besar-besaran - sebagaimana taikun media dunia Rupert Murdoch menghentam Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad kerana enggan membenarkan televisyen satelit Star TV beroperasi di Malaysia satu ketika dahulu.

Apakah kita ini terlalu takut dengan orang lain, sehingga sanggup membinasakan diri sendiri? Entahlah.

Jika benar telahan itu, sememangnya kita ini cukup hebat!

Perhimpunan Perpaduan Melayu
SABTU ini 28 hari bulan, hari terakhir dalam bulan Februari 2015, orang Melayu akan ber­kumpul beramai-ramai, sekali lagi.
Perhimpunan 20,000 umat Melayu itu akan dikenali sebagai Perhimpunan Perpaduan Melayu. Nama itu ditukar daripada nama asalnya Gerakan Renaisans Melayu (GRM) atas sebab-sebab tertentu.
Pada 23 November lalu juga diadakan satu perhimpunan umat Melayu. Perhimpunan itu dikenali sebagai Konvensyen Perpaduan Nasional. Hasilnya satu memorandum gabungan 300 NGO Pribumi dihasilkan dan diserahkan kepada raja-raja Melayu, Perdana Menteri dan timbalannya.
Bekas Ketua Hakim Negara, Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad mengetuai panel penghasilan memorandum itu.
Ia diadakan ekoran rasa bimbang yang amat sangat orang Melayu ke atas tekanan demi tekanan yang mereka hadapi mutakhir ini. Tekanan itu membabitkan soal keselamatan politik Melayu yang terumbang-ambing, ekonomi Bumiputera yang terancam dan Perlembagaan negara yang diganggu-gugat.
Dalam senario semasa, adakah ketakutan itu berasas, atau hanya sekadar gimik politik?
Atau adakah kebimbangan itu wujud hasil daripada landskap politik yang menyaksikan kuasa Melayu semakin terhakis dan orang lain sedar tanpa kesepaduan maka Melayu hanyalah minoriti.
Apakah kebimbangan wujud kerana parti bukan Melayu bersifat cauvinis seperti DAP misalnya, sudah berupaya mengkaderkan Melayu dan kemudian menarik ramai lagi pemuda-pemudi Melayu memasuki ke ‘Sekolah Demokrasi’ yang menerapkan ajaran Kesaksamaan dan Sama Rata?
Atau kerana merasakan kuasa Melayu semakin terhakis dalam PRU Ke-13 kelak?
Saya melihat begitu.
Namun Perhimpunan Perpaduan Melayu 28 Februari ini akan menghimpunkan Melayu dari pelbagai kelompok dan lapisan masyarakat daripada penarik beca sehinggalah profesional.
Pendekatannya sedikit berbeza. Ia akan menggerakkan mereka semua menerajui inisiatif Melayu menjadi bangsa yang hebat, bermaruah dan berkat dengan merujuk kepada hukum-hakam yang disyariatkan oleh Allah SWT dan bertunjangkan Semangat Renaisans Melayu: Berani, Bijaksana, Tekun, Cemerlang dan Penyayang.
Seperti bangsa-bangsa lain yang maju dan bertamadun, Bangsa Melayu juga boleh setanding dan setaraf dengan bangsa-bangsa itu dengan membina semangat yang utuh berdasarkan ciri-ciri utama Semangat Renaisans Melayu iaitu Berani, Bijaksana, Tekun, Cemerlang dan Penyayang.
Dijangka Perdana Menteri akan turut hadir ke perhimpunan itu di Stadium Putra Bukit Jalil. Perhimpunan bermula pukul 6 petang manakala ketibaan Perdana Menteri pada pukul 8 malam.
Jika Perhimpunan Perpaduan Nasional mengeluarkan memorandum, perhimpunan Sabtu ini akan mengeluarkan waad atau perisytiharan Melayu Abad Ke-21.
Oleh itu hadirlah berduyun-duyun.
Kesimpulannya: Lebih banyak NGO Melayu bertindak untuk menangi situasi perpecahan ini lebih baik. Lebih banyak perhimpunan seumpama ini selepas ini lebih baik.
Ia akan mencerminkan realiti bahawa Melayu amat memerlukan perpaduan yang jitu untuk menghadapi cabaran politik paling getir dalam tempoh 40 tahun. Atau, terimalah akibatnya.

Bahasa Melayu oh bahasa Melayu...
PAGI semalam saya menelefon seorang sahabat. Akhirnya kami bersembang hampir sejam mengenai satu topik iaitu mengenai bahasa Melayu, mengenai nasibnya.
Mari kita tanya dengan ikhlas. Di mana kedudukan bahasa itu di tanah air Malaysia ini? Adakah ia benar-benar diterima semua pihak? Adakah bahasa Melayu hanya digunakan di peringkat kerajaan sahaja? Adakah ia benar-benar dihormati? Adakah bahasa itu digunakan sepenuhnya di syarikat-syarikat korporat? Adakah orang bukan Melayu, kecuali generasi lama Peranakan akan bertutur bahasa itu sesama mereka?
Apakah peranan Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka atau dikenali dengan panggilan singkat DBP dewasa ini? Jika mahu dijadikan bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa kebangsaan dan bahasa perpaduan mengapa rata-rata kakitangannya orang Melayu?
Mengapa tidak diramaikan orang Cina dan India sebagai pegawai-pegawai DBP yang menjadi pakar dalam bahasa itu?
Bahasa Melayu bukan milik orang Melayu sahaja, tetapi adalah milik semua kaum di negara ini, jika benarlah begitu?
Adakah orang Cina dan India tidak berminat untuk menyertai DBP dan menggerakkan operasi untuk memperkasakan bahasa itu di kalangan kaum mereka?
Sungguh ironis kita ini. Setelah lebih 57 tahun negara ini merdeka, isu ini masih dipersembangkan?
Perbualan itu kemudian menjuruskan kepada soal penyiaran di televisyen. Adakah setelah sekian lama merdeka, kita masih memerlukan bahasa-bahasa lain di siaran? Adakah tidak mencukupi dengan pelbagai bahasa yang disajikan melalui stesen televisyen satelit berbayar?
Adakah orang kita masih tidak faham atau masih tidak selesa dan tidak faham menonton warta berita dalam bahasa kebangsaan sehinggakan perlu disediakan warta berita dalam bahasa masing-masing?
Oleh itu mengapa masih ada kritikan mengenai isu setelah sebuah stesen televisyen berita mahu memberhentikan salah satu bahasa etnik atas sebab-sebab kewangan yang meruncing?
Orang berkata kononnya bahasa jiwa bangsa? Persoalannya jiwa bangsa siapa? Adakah ungkapan itu berjaya diterapkan untuk semua kaum? Atau semata-mata slogan dan untuk orang Melayu yang syok sendiri sahaja? Zaini Hassan Utusan Malaysia Rencana 25 Februari 2015 1:55 AM

What it means to be world class – Idris Jusoh

1. My statement that Malaysia’s higher education is “world class” has captured the attention of many Malaysians and observers.

2. I appreciate all views and feedback and take all criticism in stride as it is part of my job, my duty, my passion.

3. While there are those who are resolute that our higher education system is all doom and gloom, facts will show that we have improved, are continuously improving, or, as I am proud of saying, “soaring upwards”. More importantly, Malaysians need to know that on many fronts we are indeed “world class”.

4. Some members of the public have asked that I elaborate on the matter. I am quite happy to do this for all Malaysians to gain a better understanding of this vast landscape and to appreciate it as I have.

‘World class’

5. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term “world class” as being “among the best in the world”.

6. The question that arises then is: how is Malaysia’s higher education world class?

7. There are many indicators and ways to look at it. In news reports, I had touched on just a few aspects: international student enrolment and university rankings.

8. For the time being, allow me to delve into these one by one.

International student enrolment

9. Malaysia currently has about 135,000 international students, from school to higher education.

Of this, 107,838 are enrolled in our higher education institutions. In 2014, Malaysia recorded a 16.5% growth in international student enrolment. This increase, according to Unesco, is higher compared with countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom.

10. Indeed, numbers per se do not mean we are world class. There is much, much more to it.

11. So, why has Malaysia become a preferred education destination?

12. In a Unesco report titled “Higher Education in Asia: Expanding Out, Expanding Up” published in 2014, the five prominent factors influencing international students’ choices to select Malaysia were:

a. Cultural comfort. “Malaysia provides a friendly environment for Muslim students, where values and practices are understood, widely shared and respected”;

b. Cost. “The costs of undergraduate and graduate degree programmes in Malaysia are a bargain”;

c. Value for money. “Not only are costs relatively low, but the quality of Malaysian higher education is seen to be good, yielding to a growing perception that higher education in Malaysia represents value for money”;

d. Language of instruction. “Most instruction is offered in English, which is viewed as offering better access to international employment opportunities”; and,

e. Quality of life. “Malaysia offers a good quality of life, it is widely regarded as a comfortable place to live and study”.

13. Based on the Unesco report, we can say that education in Malaysia is not only affordable, but accessible, welcoming and of good quality. International students know that they can get quality education in Malaysia, and many nations send their best students here, fully sponsored by their respective governments, in recognition of this.

14. Part of the appeal is that Malaysia is host to nine international branch campuses of renowned international universities such as Monash, Nottingham, and Southampton which are ranked within the top 100 in the world . We also have locally grown universities such as Sunway, Taylors, HELP and Lim Kok Wing which are also internationally recognised.

15. Related, 27,812 (25%) of all international students are pursuing programmes at postgraduate level in Malaysia, be it master’s or PhD. A majority of them are in our public universities. This proves that we are trusted when it comes to advanced pursuits of knowledge and that opportunities for meaningful research are available within our universities.

16. In the past, we had the Colombo Plan where Malaysian students would be sent to Australia and New Zealand to study. Recently, we have embarked on the New Colombo Plan – an exchange programme where students from Australia and New Zealand would come to Malaysia.

The New Colombo Plan is testament to what we can offer and is recognition of the wealth of knowledge Malaysia’s higher education has to offer. In 2015, about 140 students will be part of the New Colombo Plan.

17. The above does not include the number of students from other developed nations. We are currently home to full-time students from countries such as the US, Netherlands, Australia, Singapore, United Kingdom, Spain, Japan, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Hong Kong, France, Russia, South Korea and more. Students from developed nations account for about 10% of all international students.

18. While some politicians have said that this amount is “negligible”, it is important to bear in mind that the developed-nation student market is one of the toughest to crack as they have different economic strengths and access capabilities. Nevertheless, the enrolment figures are rising and this is something to build upon.

19. Another politician recently said that students coming to Malaysia were mainly those from countries with “inferior” universities. While I accept that our universities outrank many of those from other nations, I would never label the others “inferior”.

In listing down the top 10 international students’ countries of origin, the politician appears to be suggesting that these students are not worthy of being labelled as world class. This is most unfortunate as one should not discriminate and judge based on origin. Not everyone is as fortunate to have studied in a developed nation.

20. Undeniably, there have been problems in the past with our international student population, but the bad apples are the exception rather than the norm. Most international students who come to Malaysia are good and many return to their respective nations to take up vital positions in government and the private sector.

21. The same goes to some of our foreign academics. Many of them who used to serve in our universities are now holding important positions in their home countries, as high as the prime minister (of Turkey).

22. Still, let me provide an answer. One way to address creeping problems was to establish Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) in 2013.

EMGS acts as a screening body to ensure that international students entering Malaysia are legitimate and qualified.

Previously, the respective HE institutions handled this and there was room for abuse. There was in fact concern that EMGS’s establishment would lead to a decrease in international students coming to Malaysia as it was more stringent.

Clearly, this hasn’t happened and I’m glad to say that EMGS has instead contributed to raising the trust and confidence in our education system all round. That aside, we continue to monitor arising problems and address them.

23. Malaysia is home to students from more than 150 nations worldwide. About 20% are from our Asean neighbours, with many of the others from East Asia, South Asia, Africa, and the MENA (Middle East and North African) region.

These students, their parents and sponsors appreciate Malaysia and believe in the quality of education offered. In turn, we continuously do our best to accommodate them and provide quality education.

24. The free-market of international student mobility is unsustainable if our offerings are of no value, particularly because higher education can be an expensive and resource exhaustive pursuit. Higher education is, after all, an investment.

25. So, does the foregoing mean we are world class? I’d say yes.

26. We may not be the best in the world overall, but the fact remains that we are among the best in the world when it comes to attracting international students.

The market for international students is huge, and many nations would like to attract these students, too. There are economic benefits, knowledge accumulation, as well as social benefits to be gained when international students opt for a country to study in, and Malaysia is privileged to be host to so many.

27. As higher education becomes more and more global, Malaysia has positioned herself as one of the most competitive and attractive education destinations. We are not merely an alternative, but a genuine option in the international student mobility landscape.

28. Malaysia has worked hard to attract bright international students, and we certainly have a winning world class formula. According to Unesco statistics, we are the 9th most preferred international education destination, ahead of countries such as Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, and The Netherlands.

29. In this context, I believe it’s safe and grounded to say that we are among the best in the world.

University rankings

30. I am a proud graduate of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), having studied there in the early 1980s. The quality was certainly good and the lecturers were of high standards. How good we were exactly was hard to gauge.

There were no international rankings system, the student population was smaller, and the world was generally a less complex place.

31. Today, with the advancement of technology and globalisation, we see more people entering universities, more campuses opening and of course, a need to control quality, output (i.e. graduates), and ensure that the education is “future proof”.

32. While rankings are useful indicators, they are not the only exhaustive and definitive indicator. We always have to be mindful as there are many ranking bodies, each vying to be conclusive and authoritative.

I have also said in the past that rankings are not the “be all and end all” as they are not always able to capture the more subtle values of higher education, such as prioritising access over outcomes, teaching over research and publications, building infrastructure or the capacity of young lecturers and so forth.

33. The above said, rankings nonetheless give us a yardstick and benchmark as to where our strengths lie and how we can improve, and we find it useful for this purpose. The key is to strike a balance between setting our institutional objectives and conforming to ranking criteria.

34. Our results in rankings have been mixed, but ultimately encouraging. As mentioned previously, Universiti Malaya (UM) ranks 151 in the QS World Universities Rankings 2014 (up from 167). It is 32nd in Asia, and among OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) nations, it is the highest ranked.

UM also holds a five-star rating from the QS Intelligence Unit. Other top universities with a 5-star rating include Harvard, Oxford, Duke and Columbia.

35. Our other universities have been doing well and have improved compared to last year with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in 259th place (compared with 269th in 2013), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in 294th spot (355), a drastic rise of 61 steps compared with last year. Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) is in 309th position and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) in 376th spot. UKM is also placed at no. 20 in the Top 50 under 50 list.

36. As a comparative, well-known universities such as the University of Exeter is ranked 161, Hong Kong Polytechnic University at 162, University of Bath at 179, Vanderbilt University at 182, Michigan State University at 195, Tel Aviv University at 196, Georgetown University (which Bill Clinton attended) at 200, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) at 222, George Washington University at 300, RMIT University 304, Curtin University 331, University of South Australia 333, and Oxford Brookes 379.

37. Make no mistake, we should certainly strive to climb above higher ranked universities, especially those of our neighbours such as the National University of Singapore (22), and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) (39). The point to be made is that we are climbing and we are working hard to continually rise.

38. We should also be mindful that there are about 30,000 universities worldwide.


Subject and faculty rankings

39. According to subject and faculty rankings, 11 faculties of our public universities rank within the top 100 in the world.

USM ranks as high as 28th in the world for environmental sciences according to the QS Rankings by Subject while UPM is at 54th place in the world for agricultural sciences (no. 7 in Asia and no. 1 in Southeast Asia) according to the Best Global Universities Rankings.

40. UM ranks top 100 in modern languages, computer sciences, chemical and electrical engineering, as well as mechanical, aeronautical and manufacturing engineering. Aside from environmental sciences, USM is in the top 100 for civil and structural engineering, chemical engineering, pharmacy and pharmacology, and computer sciences and information systems. UM, UKM and UPM are in the top 100 for education, while UKM is ranked for politics.

41. In a report titled “An Avalanche is Coming: Higher Education and the Revolution Ahead” by the Institute for Public Policy Research, a UK-based Think Tank, it is stated that universities of the future should move towards a more niche-focused approach when it comes to their offerings rather than spread themselves too widely.

42. If our subject rankings are anything to go by, this is a strategy that we can adopt.

43. Our universities are improving in overall as well as subject rankings. The vice-chancellors as well as all members of the universities are working hard to improve. We have many good people in our universities, doing good things for the community. The Education Ministry is firmly behind all of them in achieving this.

44. So, does this mean we are world class? On some level, such as USM’s environmental science ranking, the answer would probably be yes. But in terms of overall ranking, a top 100 overall ranking would instil greater confidence before a conclusive “yes” is given. These are things to be firmly kept in sight.

45. I wish to highlight that old and reputable universities from France, Japan, Germany and Italy are very seldom ranked high in those rankings. It’s simply because their medium of instruction and excellent publications (which carry high scores under most of the rankings evaluation criteria) are not in English.

But does this mean national, technical and engineering schools in Japan, Italy, Switzerland and Germany are not world class. These countries are epitomes of engineering brilliance and technical skill excellence, and we learn many things from them.

We are among the best in other areas, too

46. Rankings and international students’ enrolment aside, there are many other areas in which we are world class. Allow me to explain.

Thompson Reuters world’s most influential scientific minds

47. Last year, four professors from our public universities were named in the Thomson Reuters “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds 2014” list. They are:

a. Prof Dr Abdul Latif Ahmad (USM’s School of Chemical Engineering)

b. Prof. Dr Bassim H Hameed (USM’s School of Chemical Engineering)

c. Prof Dr Ishak Hashim (UKM’s School of Mathematical Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology)

d. Prof Dr Saidur Rahman (UM’s Engineering Faculty).

48. These professors achieved this amazing distinction because their published research ranked among the top 1% most cited in their respective fields in the given year of publication. Analysts from Thomson Reuter’s studied citation data over 11 years to come up with the listing.

49. Having met them last year, they told me that they were “just doing their jobs” for the betterment of the academic fraternity and society generally.

50. In my view, these professors are world class.

51. We have many other members of the higher education community of international repute who have done wonderful things on the world stage. I do not doubt for a second that many of our lecturers and researchers are of world class.

Islamic banking

52. We conducted research into scholarly output on Islamic banking. We discovered that out of 422 publications on Islamic banking between 2009 and 2014, 178 or 41% of all publications originated from Malaysia.

53. Of this amount, 48 publications, or more than 10%, were produced by the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).

54. IIUM has been at the forefront of Islamic banking and finance development in Malaysia and the world for decades. IIUM's lecturers continue to be highly sought after as advisers to Islamic banks and institutions locally and internationally, and are considered authorities on Islamic banking and finance matters.

55. I have no doubt that when it comes to Islamic banking, we are world class.

Co-curriculum – debating and more

56. Recently, IIUM law student Ameera Natasha Moore was crowned as the best debater at the Cambridge Women’s Intervarsity debating tournament, outranking debaters from Cambridge, Oxford and other renowned institutions.

57. Malaysia was also the host of the 2015 World Universities Debating Championship. At the tournament, the IIUM debating team were placed at no. 10 in the world, outranking traditional debate powerhouses like Harvard and Sydney University.

58. Mai Mokhsein from UiTM was named best debater in Asia, while a team from UiTM were crowned Asian British Parliamentary Debating Championship champions.

59. Undergraduates from UKM's law faculty also emerged as champions at the International Air and Space Law Academy Moot competition held in Paris.

60. At the 19th FIRA Robo World Cup held in Beijing, our local polytechnic students brought home 3 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze medals. Their robots beat a host of robots from other institutions in achieving this.

61. In the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards, a Community College lecturer was the winner of the split-second open competition category. He creatively put together a gorgeous picture of a woman pouring water from her quaint wooden kampung home window. It is truly a sight to behold.

62. The examples cited above are just a few of the many amazing successes our students and lecturers have achieved at the international level in co-curricular activities.

63. I raise them because I am proud of these achievements and believe that these examples act as a reminder of the world-class talent that we possess in Malaysia. We will continue to support the development of our talent.

Room to improve: we hear you

64. Without a doubt, improving graduate employability, English proficiency, and critical thinking skills are among the priorities of the Education Ministry.

65. We have heard from and talked to members of industry, employers’ associations and the public generally about their concerns surrounding our local graduates.

66. We have also talked to alumni and current students on what challenges they face and what their needs are.

Conclusion

67. Context is key. Ultimately, we need to be realistic about our strengths and weaknesses.

68. Having been the education minister II for almost two years now, I am proud of what my predecessors have done, what the Education Ministry continues to do, and what our public and private higher education institutions have achieved.

69. I hope that based on what I’ve said above, you have reasons to feel proud of what our country has achieved.

70. The journey certainly doesn’t end here. There’s still a long way to go. We want to be world class in all areas.

71. We have embarked on a two-year journey to review the strategic direction of our higher education sector. By early April, we will be launching the Higher Education Blueprint. You can read the summary atwww.moe.gov.my/v/heblueprint.

72. Every Malaysian plays a role – lecturers, students, parents, private sector and members of the public. Together, we’ll make our education system even better. –   * Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, is Education Minister II. This post first appeared in Facebook. Malaysian Insider Columns February 25, 2015.

On our ‘world class’ tertiary education system

It comes to mind that the idea of calling our local universities "world class" seems to be a bit of a stretch to many lawmakers and even the general public.

My thought on this is simply that such a statement would be relative. If you were to compare our universities to those in Libya, Iraq and current Syria, we would probably be better off.

However, the Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh instead chose to compare our universities to those in the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia.

Oy vey.

So I decided to take a look at the QS ranking to just, you know, do the good thing and verify the information he quoted instead of being a politician pandering troll.

Universiti Malaya still remained Malaysia's highest ranking university, and yes, according to the list, it is ranked higher than the Louvain Catholic University (Germany), the University of Bath (United Kingdom) and even Macquarie University (Australia).

Technically, Idris is not wrong. One would have hoped a journalist on the scene would have asked which universities he was comparing ours to in his "world class" comparative study. What we have here, then is simply a sin of omission.

Nobody thought to ask the minister if he was comparing UM to Oxford, or simple to the ones listed above.

Of course, the matter then spread to how it is a ludicrous comparison considering how our local university graduates cannot even get jobs. Of course, again, politicians are more comfortable blaming the institution and the faculty even, rather than the students themselves.

I have no such limitation since I am not chasing votes. So here's the hard truth: our students are unemployable to some extent because they do not master the English language and have sucky attitudes.

A Jobstreet survey among employers highlighted problems in hiring fresh graduates include poor command of English (55.8%), poor character, attitude or personality (37.4%), asking for unrealistic salary/ benefits (33.0%), and a mismatch of skills (30.2%).

Even Bank Negara highlighted a similar issue in which 77.6% of companies they surveyed said that our graduates do not have the necessary skills.

The above two paragraphs are also from a speech made by Idris in 2014 as his keynote address at the 18th Malaysian Education Summit hosted by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute.

So if Malays are not so forgetful, let's hope that the honourable minister and those who attended the event at least remember this.

Employability has nothing to do with the university other than when it involves training the necessary skills of a career. For us Information Technology/Computer Science grads, that would mean the university needed to ensure that whatever coding language, networking technology and even mobile app development tools we learned was what the job market wants.

As far as the university should be concerned, that is all. The employability of a student is not guaranteed by the university, especially when it comes to the issues raised by the employer that has nothing to do with technical skills.

That's up to the students.

Perhaps the lawmakers do not want to say this, but the university is not your babysitter or English teacher who tells you to read Jack and Jane's adventures with Spot, the dog!

If students really suck at English at the average age of 18 even with access to Astro upon entering universities, then obviously this issue is a systemic breakdown not just of the Malaysian education system, but the Malaysian culture of bilingualism.

A culture that we have had since even before our establishment as a nation in 1963, and our independence in 1957, I might add.

However, the government has been working on this issue since 2012 with a due date in 2017 called the National Graduate Employability Blueprint  launched by the Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, now the Johor menteri besar.

The objective of the plan was to increase the number of graduates able to get jobs within six months of graduating to 75%. One would think someone could ask what happened to this programme and its current status?

It is easy for us all to snort in derision at the minister’s statement, but guess what? We aren’t exactly speaking up and suggesting solutions either.

How do we, collectively as Malaysians, solve the issue of poor control of English and even horrible attitudes from disruption the job prospects of the next generation of Malaysian graduates?

That is the major question right now, and honestly, no single politician or commentator is actually opening up to say just how to do that on a major scale other than to blame the government.

Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country, right?

So, what can we do as Malaysians? – – Hafidz Baharom Malaysian Insider Side Views February 24, 2015.

If we have world class unis, why are our graduates unemployed?

Second Education Minister Idris Jusoh’s self-appraisal of our higher education as now being on par with those of developed nations such as UK, Germany and Australia, is symptomatic of what I call the government believing its own lies.

My colleagues, Zairil Khir Johari and Dr Ong Kian Ming have each shown how the data does not match the minister’s “syok sendiri” pronouncement of our tertiary education being world class.

I want to further point out a rather obvious problem in Idris Jusoh’s delusion of grandeur.

If we have world class education, why is graduate unemployment high in Malaysia?

The minister must answer, if our local universities are world class, why is it that 40% of local graduates are unemployed?

According to the federal government itself, between 30% and 40% of graduates are unemployed or are in fields that do not match their paper qualifications.

A World Bank report in 2013 revealed that not only was unemployment highest among young Malaysians, unemployment peaked among young degree holders. The report stated that one in five degree holders in Malaysia under the age of 25 were unemployed. (Source: Malaysia Economic Monitor, December 2013, pp 55-56).

In 2014, the World Bank once again warned of the high rates of graduate unemployment, citing Ministry of Higher Education 2013 statistics that out of 220,527 graduates in 2012, 25.6% had not secured a job six months after graduation. (Source: Malaysia Economic Monitor, December 2014, p. 34)

The latest Labour Force Survey report by the Department of Statistics released in June 2014 revealed that one third (31%) of unemployed in Malaysia had a tertiary education. This amount to about 130,000 persons. (Source: Labour Force Survey Report, 2013, p. 143)

Most unemployed graduates are from local public varsities, employers cite lack of skills

A majority of these unemployed graduates are from public institutes of higher education or Ipta. (Source: National Education Statistics: Higher Education Sector 2013, p. 179)

The 2014 World Bank report above also cited a survey by Grant Thornton (2013) where 62% of firms in Malaysia complained of difficulty in finding workers with the right skills even though job vacancies were available. The report concluded that “this scenario suggests that there is a gap between skills supplied by universities with those demanded by employers”.

This conclusion was confirmed by a report jointly produced by Talent Corp, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, and Multimedia Development Corporation released in September 2014, which noted that there was a “mismatch between academia and employers”. (Source: Ready for business: Bridging the Employability Gap. The Malaysian Perspective, p. 5)

Even the government acknowledged the problem of graduate employability

The federal government is very well aware of the problem. The high graduate unemployment over the years has led to various “graduate re-training programmes” by the federal government such as the Graduate Employability Management Scheme, and Graduate Employability Taskforce. These programmes in turn cost billions of ringgit each year.

If we are offering world class education to our children, why they are not getting jobs after graduation? If our universities are on par with those in developed nations, why is our government still spending billions every year to make our graduates employable?

How could Idris Jusoh make such a dishonest claim about the standard of our universities?  If the minister really believed in what he said, then we can only conclude that the government is now believing in its own lies. The continual denial of the crisis plaguing our education system by the federal government will only serve to further aggravate the problem. – * Steven Sim is Bukit Mertajam MP.Malaysian Insider Side Views 24 Feb 2015

Respon kepada Idris Jusoh tentang kualiti IPT Malaysia

Saya merujuk kepada kenyataan yang dibuat Menteri Pendidikan II Malaysia,  Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, sistem pendidikan tinggi Malaysia adalah setaraf dengan sistem-sistem di United Kingdom, Australia dan Negara Jerman. Jelas sekali kenyataan tersebut dilakukan tanpa merujuk kepada penilaian yang digunakan untuk menetapkan taraf atau kualiti sesebuah universiti, tetapi hanya berdasarkan nombor serta data yang tidak teguh dan tidak didokong penjelasan yang baik.

Kebolehan universiti tempatan untuk menarik lebih ramai pelajar antarabangsa sememangnya satu corak yang menggalakkan, namun begitu kita tidak seharusnya begitu cepat membandingkan universiti tempatan dengan universiti-universiti terulung dunia, kerana jurang di antara standard masih lagi begitu jelas seperti di dalam QS World Ranking.

Menteri tidak sepatutnya berasa angkuh dengan kedudukan universiti-universiti tempatan pada masa ini, namun ia sepatutnya menjadi dorongan untuk meningkatkan lagi kualiti yang sedia ada. Jika benar universiti tempatan sudah mula meningkatkan kedudukan di dalam senarai antarabangsa, kita haruslah mencari jalan untuk mengekalkan perkembangan ini dan bukannya berpuas hati dengan pencapaian yang terhasil hanya di dalam satu tahun.

Perlu diingatkan di sini, Universiti Malaya juga pernah berkududukan lebih tinggi di dalam senarai antarabangsa, namun begitu reputasi universiti tersebut terjejas akibat kurangnya komitmen untuk mengekalkan mutu tersebut.

Matlamat utama sistem pendidikan tinggi negara sepatutnya adalah untuk menghasilkan graduan berkualiti tinggi yang mampu menyumbang semula kepada negara. Justeru itu saya rasa adalah lebih baik jika kita tumpukan usaha untuk menarik minat pelajar-pelajar terbaik kita sendiri dengan meningkatkan lagi kualiti universiti tempatan dan membiarkan kualiti tersebut menjadi tarikan, daripada mendabik dada hanya kerana kita berjaya menarik sekumpulan pelajar antarabangsa ke Malaysia. – – Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad  Malaysian Insider Side Views 24 Februari, 2015.

* Penulis merupakan Ketua Angkatan Muda Keadilan. juga ialah Exco Pendidikan, Pembangunan Modal Insan, Sains, Teknologi Dan Inovasi Negeri Selangor.