Review the Role of Universities to Reform Higher Education, Say Panel
Progress Of Higher Education Sector Hinges On Reforms To Address Institutional
Decline And Concerns For Curriculum Issues
Subang Jaya, 30 July 2018 - The local higher education scene is in need of reformation to move forward into a new Malaysia. The key areas that must be addressed are the role of higher education institutions, the review of the current curriculum set in place in universities, and the need to engage in more research projects. This call was made by the panellists during a panel discussion on higher education reforms post General Election 14, organised by Taylor’s University, School of Education.
In his opening speech at the panel discussion, Taylor’s University Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Dr Matthew Johnson, highlighted the important responsibility of tertiary education stakeholders in grooming a healthy and dynamic workforce able to contribute to the nation’s growth with the right skills and talents.
“A nation can only develop as far as its workforce can progress, and higher education plays a critical role in talent building to bring a nation to developed nation status. It is important to constantly assess the education landscape against fast-changing realities, and more importantly, be able to change our course to ensure universities continue to impart both skills and knowledge, continue to be a place where ideas are created and tested, where research is conducted and commercialised,” said Dr Johnson.
The discussion held at the Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus comprised of University of Malaya Professor of Political Economy, Professor Dr Terence Gomez; University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus Professor of Media and Communication Studies, Professor Zaharom Nain; and was moderated by Taylor’s University School of Education lecturer, Professor Dr Moses Samuel.
(From left) Taylor’s University School of Education lecturer, Professor Dr Moses Samuel; University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus Professor of Media and Communication Studies, Professor Zaharom Nain; and University of Malaya Professor of Political Economy, Professor Dr Terence Gomez, at a panel discussion hosted by Taylor’s University School of Education.
“All of us must start thinking about the role of the university in a country and for its people. Tertiary education in Malaysia has experienced its fair share of challenges since independence. In the past few decades, the higher education scene has faced institutional decline as seen in its outdated curriculums and a lack of quality academic leadership. At this point in time, we must start thinking about the role of the university. I encourage all of you to seize the opportunity and be a part of the reformation process by engaging in discussion about education with your elected representatives,” said Professor Dr Gomez.
As students transition from school to the workplace, tertiary education is a crucial pit stop in the education journey to instil in individuals knowledge, soft skills and critical thinking skills. The university should be an environment that shapes its student body to not remain mediocre, but to care for the society through conscientisation. Hence, stakeholders within the higher education scene, namely academicians, students and policy-makers, must work together at this point in Malaysian history to drive national development through the strengthening of higher education.
“Malaysia’s higher education sector has witnessed falling standards and a lack of critical minds among both students and faculty. Additionally, the inflexibility of our universities have resulted in a conformist and apolitical crowd. To shape an environment that is conducive for reformation, the higher education scene needs wide scale structural change to instil in our universities an academic ethos of integrity, honesty and commitment,” sharedProfessor Zaharom.
In addition, the panellists echoed the need for a broad-based education structure that allows students to be exposed to the knowledge of both the sciences as well as arts. “Our education structure should be balanced. Students should be encouraged to study science-based subjects while taking one course in the humanities and liberal arts to shape critical thinking and become holistic individuals,” said Professor Dr Gomez.
In sharing Taylor’s University’s stance, Dr Johnson explained, “This is the right time to pioneer bold ideas such as interdisciplinary learnings that cater to students’ strengths and interests, while simultaneously allowing them to harness critical 21st century skills in order to take on future jobs. Last year, Taylor’s University introduced a broad-based curriculum which permits its students to co-curate their degree programme that enables learning in both the arts and sciences. This is Taylor’s philosophy – it is not just about acquiring academic knowledge, but more about how you will manage yourselves, life skills and ethical principles in your life.”
“Education is not a product, and universities should not be degree mills. Instead, education should be for enlightenment and liberalisation rather than merely enabling an individual to find a job. We want education to shape individuals to have greater care for society,” added Professor Zaharom.
About Taylor’s University
Since its inception in 1969, Taylor’s has continuously provided excellent services for its students in terms of diverse study options, relevant curriculum and teaching methods, ongoing partnerships with leading universities worldwide, strong industry linkages, up-to-date facilities and well-equipped campuses. Taylor’s University offers a myriad of courses in tertiary education, from foundation and diploma, to degree, post-graduate and professional programmes. Students can choose to enrol in courses encompassing fields such as Medicine, Pharmacy, Biosciences, Architecture, Computer Science, Engineering, Quantity Surveying, Law, Business, Communications, Design, Hospitality, and Tourism & Culinary Arts.
The quality of the undergraduate teaching and learning at Taylor’s was acknowledged when it garnered a ‘Tier 5: Excellent’ rating in the Rating System for Malaysian Higher Education (SETARA) by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia in all four audit exercises. Taylor’s University is ranked at no. 150 in Asia in the QS Asia University Rankings 2018, and listed in the top 1 percent of universities in Asia. Taylor’s University was also awarded 5-Star rating in five (5) categories of the QS Stars Rating. Taylor’s University was also recognised as the number 21 university in the world for Hospitality & Leisure Management by QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018. Most recently, Taylor’s was listed in the top 2% universities in the world by QS World University Rankings. These achievements are important milestones for Taylor’s, in line with its aim of becoming one of Asia’s leading universities.
Taylor’s has also received numerous recognitions locally and internationally from professional bodies such as the CDIO Initiative (Conceiving, Designing, Implementing, Operating), National Academy of Engineering in the USA and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to name a few.
Taylor’s continues to play a strong role in developing Malaysia’s human resource capital, and boasts a 100,000-strong alumnus, many of whom have become leaders in their respective fields.
Issued by : Taylor’s University
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Jacqueline Arnold / Angela Tham / Deborah Lam
Tel: 03 7726 3430