Monday, June 27, 2011

Saifuddin: End dependence on foreign educators - Malaysiakini

Higher education deputy minister Saifuddin Abdullah rapped the country's institutions of higher learning for continuing to "import and copy" ideas and methods from Western universities.

Despite having a national team of competent academics, Saifuddin asked why the country continues to invite consultants from other parts of the world to help run local universities.

"For how long will this dependence continue and what are its implications?" he asked, in his speech addressing an audience of 200 at "Decolonising Our Universities" in Penang today.

The three-day event aimed at academics from various Asian countries was organised by Universiti Sains Malaysia and Citizen International, a Penang-based NGO.

This "abject dependence on Western academics" for ideas, theories and methods fails to recognise the value of the country's academics and local scholars, Saifuddin said.

"Despite this, our scholars and academics will continue to be diffident, to feel inferior, timid about our own work and compare it unfavourably with the work of scholars from the West," he said.

If local academics still feel inferior and express helplessness, he said it would be better to close down these institutions rather than continue to maintain them.

"We are fooling nobody," Saifuddin quipped, adding that he hoped the conference could lead to significant changes in the current state of affairs.
Cultivating critical thinking

During a press conference, Saifuddin said the country has to develop its own knowledge and theories to deal with local issues instead of referring to Western ones, which have come about due to different circumstances.

On the international ranking of universities, he said it was merely a Western idea to preserve the hegemony and status quo of knowledge from the West.

He urged academics here to work in solidarity, to collaborate with one another to try and develop "our own worldview" of looking at things as "we are not short of intellectual competence".

Though the government raised these issues in the past, Saifuddin said "we are making progress", albeit slowly.

As for the Aku Janji pledge - which requires academics and students to sign an agreement to refrain from getting involved in politics or commenting on political issues - Saifuddin said "that is something else" because it hampers critical thinking and development.

"(Critical thinking) is about what the government wants in conducting research in new areas so that we can develop our own indigenous knowledge," he added.

Kongsi Idea Penyelidik Dalam & Luar Negara Di Myren Cloud - MStarOnline

SERDANG: Institusi pengajian tinggi (IPT), institusi penyelidikan serta pihak industri yang terlibat dengan pembangunan dan penyelidikan (R&D) diminta menggunakan jaringan perkhidmatan ICT terbaru, Myren Cloud, untuk berkomunikasi dan menjalin kerjasama di alam maya bersama rakan penyelidik dalam dan luar negara.

Menteri Pengajian Tinggi Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin berkata melalui perkhidmatan itu mereka boleh bertukar-tukar pandangan dan pengetahuan mengenai bidang penyelidikan masing-masing, sekaligus memberi manfaat kepada negara-negara terlibat.

"Ini merupakan satu lagi kepesatan pertumbuhan infrastruktur kita yang kita hasilkan bagi meningkatkan kemampuan penyelidikan. Ini antara usaha-usaha yang sedang kita lakukan untuk memantapkan lagi R&D dalam negara selari dengan hasratuntuk membawa negara ini kepada ekonomi berasaskan inovasi," katanya kepada pemberita selepas melancarkan Myren Cloud di sini Isnin.

Beliau berkata R&D berkualiti yang dihasilkan para penyelidik hasil daripada perkongsian maklumat dari dalam dan luar negara, akan membawa impak besar kepada rakyat dan negara.

Myren adalah Rangkaian Penyelidikan dan Pengajaran Kebangsaan yang menyediakan jalur lebar khusus berkapasiti tinggi untuk universiti, politeknik, kolej komuniti, institut penyelidikan dan makmal saintifik menjalankan penyelidikan dan pendidikan. Rangkaian itu terhubung terus dengan komuniti penyelidik dan pendidik yang berada di Asia Pasifik, Australasia, Eropah dan Amerika Utara melalui Trans Eurasian Information Network 3 (TEIN 3).

Rangkaian MYREN serta projek MYRENCLOUD adalah projek negara dan Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi merupakan peneraju bagi menggerakkan perluasan penggunaan perkhidmatan tersebut di kalangan komuniti pendidik (termasuk fasilitator latihan) dan penyelidik dari pelbagai agensi dari semua kementerian.

Mohamed Khaled berkata kerajaan telah memperuntukkan sebanyak RM20 juta sebagai dana permulaan untuk Myren Cloud.

Sementara itu, Pengarah Bahagian Perancangan Kecemerlangan IPT, Profesor Ir Dr Mohd Jailani Mohd Nor berkata kira-kira 30,000 penyelidik daripada IPT, institusi penyelidikan serta pihak industri di negara ini akan mendapat manfaat daripada penggunaan Myren Cloud.

Sehubungan itu, beliau meminta semua penyelidik mendaftar untuk menggunakan perkhidmatan itu dengan yuran RM25,000 setahun dikenakan untuk setiap institusi.

"Perkomputeran cloud ini adalah pendekatan terkini di mana perkhidmatan ICT diperolehi secara dalam talian atau atas permintaan pada bila-bila masa, di mana juga dan menggunakan apa juga peranti," katanya.

Menurutnya sebagai permulaan, beberapa perkhidmatan menerusi aplikasi telah disediakan iaitu “On Demand Infrastructure for Research and Education Collaborative Technologies" (OnDIRECT) untuk kolaborasi video dan imej, pelayan maya untuk menghoskan pembangunan ICT dan simulasi, storan maya, dan makmal pengkomputeran maya (VCL)", kata beliau. - BERNAMA

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Leong benefits from OUM's flexibility - NST

"NO mountain is too high. If you have the passion to achieve your goals, nothing or no one can stop you," says Leong Mun Chak, who graduated with a PhD in Information Technology at Open University Malaysia's (OUM) 10th Convocation recently.

At 44, Leong is not only a seasoned professional but also an educationist who believes that learning, or higher learning to be exact, is important to one's growth and development.

"I make it a personal commitment to constantly upgrade my knowledge and skills," says the father of three daughters who has a Master's of Science in Information Technology for Manufacture from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. He also holds the globally recognised Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

Like many others, Leong had his own hurdles to overcome on his quest to attain a doctorate degree.

In fact, his enrolment in OUM marked his third attempt at pursuing a PhD.

Prior to this, he had enrolled in two other universities.

"I was unable to continue my studies at the time due to heavy work and family commitments," he says.

OUM gave him the flexibility he needed to balance his studies, work and family life.

"The risk of giving up midway this time around was near to zero. I was very much at ease with the pace provided by the part-time nature of the programme, as well as OUM's approach to open and distance learning," he says.

Another setback for him was when midway through the programme, he was left with no supervisor who was well-versed in his research area.

However, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Survey: 80% of M'sians want to work abroad - Malaysiakini

An online recruitment company said results from a survey on local jobseekers confirm that money, career growth and children's education are the main factors behind the country's brain drain. today released the results of their survey of 700 over respondents - over 80 percent of whom are in middle to senior positions - on their interests in working abroad, and the reasons behind it.

The survey revealed just under a third (33 percent) of the respondents are already actively seeking overseas employment while 30 percent are passively looking. Another 30 percent are still weighing the pros and cons of working abroad.

42 percent cited better income as the key reason for their choice, while 24 percent cited career advancement, and 13 percent were thinking of their children's education.

Unfortunately for the government and the Talent Corp, only 2.4 of the respondents said they were staying in the country to “contribute to national interest”.

Over half said they were not working abroad mainly because of their families.

Top in destinations for job seeking was Australia (24 percent) followed by Singapore (16 percent), followed by UK (15 percent), US (10 percent), Far East (8 percent) and New Zealand (7 percent).

The survey, conducted in May, comprised 40 percent senior executives, 29 percent managers and 16 percent senior managers, with junior executives making up the rest.

Jobstreet said 60 percent were male and 40 percent female, while ethnic breakdown was not cited.

Dr. Leong Mun Chak emerged as the only PhD graduate at the OUM 10th Convocation

YABhg Tun Jeanne Abdullah delivering her speech

OUM held its 10th convocation from 18 June to 20 June 2011. 4356 graduates received their scrolls from the Chancellor of the university, YABhg Tun Jeanne Abdullah and Pro-Chancellor, YBhg Tan Sri Azman Hashim.

Leong Mun Chak

Dr Leong Mun Chak receiving his scroll from Tun Chancellor

Only 1 PhD graduate was conferred during this time around. Dr. Leong Mun Chak graduated with the PhD in IT, the first in OUM. His research is about automatically recognizing a painting which has been photographed or scanned digitally to extract relevant textual information of the painting from the painting database.

The pioneer batch of PhD graduates. From left: Dr. Patrick Wong, Dr. Baljinder Singh, Dr. Lum, Dr. Sia, Dr. Richard Ng, Dr. Wong and Dr. Aminah

According to Dr. Leong he was motivated by his peers who had already obtained their PhD. During the 9th convocation, 7 students became OUM's first batch of graduates who received their PhD in BA and Education.

According to Dr. Leong, the recognition process uses a new mathematical wavelet technique which is able to digitally encode a painting into a very small size called an index. This allows very fast recognition of the painting.

Dr Leong delivering his speech

Video clip of part of Dr Leong's speech Part 1:

Video clip of part of Dr Leong's speech Part 2:

Dr. Leong was given the honor to deliver the valedictorian speech on behalf of the graduates. In his speech, he thanked OUM for the opportunity to earn his PhD. He urged fellow graduates to climb the mountain of OUM if they intent to climb another mountain after this.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

KPT serah laporan skim gaji pensyarah kepada JPA - Berita Harian


KUALA LUMPUR: Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi (KPT) sudah melakukan kajian dan menyerahkan beberapa cadangan mengenai semakan semula skim gaji pensyarah di semua universiti awam termasuk Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) kepada Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA) untuk tindakan lanjut.

Menterinya, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin berkata, sebarang pelaksanaan kenaikan pangkat atau gred pensyarah di semua universiti awam bergantung kepada pihak pengurusan pusat pengajian berkenaan.
Katanya, pada masa sama kementerian juga akan sentiasa melakukan kajian dan perbincangan dengan pihak pengurusan dan wakil tenaga akademik bagi membolehkan mereka menikmati skim gaji lebih baik berbanding agensi lain. “Sebenarnya kebanyakan pensyarah universiti awam sekarang menikmati skim gaji yang lebih tinggi berbanding kakitangan kerajaan lain termasuk guru Kementerian Pelajaran.

“Malah, sekiranya seseorang pensyarah itu mempunyai Ijazah Doktor Falsafah (PhD), mereka akan terus ditawarkan ke Gred DM51, manakala proses kenaikan pangkat dan gaji boleh ditentukan sendiri oleh universiti terbabit,” katanya ketika ditemui selepas menyaksikan majlis pelancaran Skim Latihan 1Malaysia (SL1M) oleh Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak di Putrajaya semalam.

Mohamed Khaled mengulas dakwaan dua kesatuan mewakili pendidik dan kakitangan akademik UiTM meminta universiti itu menyemak semula skim gaji mereka yang didakwa lebih 10 tahun tidak disemak.

Persatuan Akademik UiTM (UTiMAS) dan Kesatuan Kakitangan Akademik UiTM (MITASA), dilaporkan berkata kebajikan dan maruah kakitangan akademik universiti itu perlu dibela dan dimartabatkan kembali selaras dengan khidmat bakti mereka.

Employability now included as a KPI in public varsities - The Star

PUTRAJAYA: Graduate employability has been included as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for all vice-chancellors of public universities.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the move was part of the long-term goal to raise the quality and marketability of local graduates.

“Others include introducing entrepreneurship curriculum, implementing soft skills programmes and student internship programmes in public and private corporations before the students graduate.

“Continuous dialogue between the universities and industry is being held to raise the quality of the graduates, an approach which is expected to reduce the mismatch between supply and demand for skilled manpower,” he said when launching the 1Malaysia Training Scheme (SL1M) here yesterday.

Also present was Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Najib said the Government was also implementing special programmes as a short-term measure to raise graduate employability and that included the training programmes carried out by the Higher Education Ministry, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Khazanah and the Skills Development Fund Corpora­tion involving 12,000 graduates.

He said this meant that out of the 20,000 unemployed graduates, 8,000 did not have the opportunity to undergo additional training to improve their marketability.

“Some of them come from the rural and interior areas as well as from low-income families.

“This background influences their character and self-confidence and affects their ability to secure employment

“Thus, by carrying out a last mile intervention in the form of finishing schools, I believe they will become more confident, and they are the target group of the SL1M,” he said, adding that the initiative was also for those who failed to be employed six months after graduating.

Najib said the approach proved effective when Bank Negara, through the short training programme for 500 graduates, had enabled all of them to find suitable jobs.

In this context, he said the SL1M programme should be expanded and made part of the corporate social responsibility of government-linked corporations (GLCs) and major companies.