ALL INSTITUTIONS of higher learning should adhere to the minimum quality standard established by the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA).
Institutions of higher learning must conduct programmes based on the minimum standard as an assurance that students are being equipped with sufficient knowledge and necessary skills to be absorbed into the job market.
The higher education institutions must obtain full MQA accreditation for the programmes offered before students graduate from the said programmes. Otherwise, their qualification should not be recognised by thegovernment.
However, it is disheartening to know that there are colleges that do not adhere to the minimum standard stipulated by the agency. They have not only failed to get accreditation from the MQA but in fact continue to conduct programmes.
One example is a college in Ipoh, Perak that conducts the ACCA programme. Upon checking with the agency, I was informed that the programme license had lapsed and the college failed had failed to renew it.
The management and students of the college seem to be unaffected as to whether they obtain the MQA approval or otherwise. As far as they are concerned the ACCA programme is globally recognised.
The college has been conducting the programme since its establishment in 1996 without regard for the minimum standard and students have not complained. This is because the students are not aware of what the minimum standard is and do not seem to realise that they are being short-changed by the college.
The students who fail the ACCA papers, accept their fate thinking that since ACCA exams are difficult, they have to keep trying.
They do not realise that they are not being properly coached or trained according to the standard established for a degree programme by the agency. The college does not offer certain subjects at the ACCA professional level because it is not profitable.
The stranded students then seek private tuition to continue the programme on their own. The college also conducts other programmes without MQA accreditation.
I urge students in higher education institutions to be aware of the importance of the agency’s approval. They should demand the respective colleges to deliver courses based on the MQA’s minimum standard.
The agency should actively engage with students and staff in all higher education institutions, and inform them on what constitutes a minimum standard.
Currently, I understand that the agency actively engages only with the top management of the various institutions and MQA officials meet the students and staff only during the audit process for full accreditation.
Students and staff are never aware of what constitutes minimum standard, despite the information being available on the MQA website.
Institutions of higher learning must ensure that the quality of education is never compromised. The management should allocate a budget to continuously improve quality of delivery and learning. The Education Ministry must not allow organisations to enter the education industry with profit as the sole objective.
The academic staff of higher education institutions must be brave to stand up against any decisions made by the management that compromises academic quality. The future of our children is in the hands of the Education Ministry, MQA and academicians. Our education system must be free from business and political interference.
Concerned Academician The STAR Home News Education 23/02/2104