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, PutrajayaSource:New Straits Times Letters to the Editors 01 June 2012