Wednesday, September 28, 2011

3 out of 10 doctoral students drop out - NST

PUTRAJAYA: Up to three out of 10 Malaysians who signed up to pursue
their doctorates on a part-time basis end up dropping out because of work and family commitments.

This has discouraged many others at a time the Higher Education Ministry is targeting 60,000 PhD holders by 2023, up from the present 14,000.

Professor Dr Zakaria Kasa, head of the National Council of Professors’ education and human capital development cluster, said many of those pursuing their PhDs locally often found that they did not have enough time to focus on their research because of work and family commitments.

“Others then become sceptical about taking up PhDs when they see people they know dropping out halfway,” he said.

This is the reason more people preferred to pursue their PhDs overseas, where they feel they will able to focus better on their research.

Another reason is a high dependency on scholarships or sponsorships.

“This isn’t a problem in public universities because there are allocations for staff and with the government’s MyBrains15 Scholarship programme, non-lecturers are also given an opportunity to pursue PhDs.

“Unfortunately, many want to go overseas and there are very few scholarships for this. Even atmy university, we have a quota for overseas scholar ships,” he said. Zakaria is deputy vice chancellor of Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris.

He said the National Council of Professors was looking at means of motivating more people to pursue PhDs.

“If possible, the council will like to see every academic become a PhD holder,” he said, adding that there was a shortage of professors, which now stood at 1,700 nationwide.

“In developing countries, academics adhere to a pyramid structure where professors are at the top, followed by associate professors and then lecturers. In developed countries, it is a reverse pyramid.” In developed countries, the number of professors reflects a university’s excellence.

“It’s not easy to be promoted to professor level.

“There are criteria that need to be fulfilled like the number of published papers.” Local universities also do not have the kind of funding compared with established universities overseas, such as Harvard, which receives generous funds from its alumni.

Zakaria said it would be an investment for the country if it could provide funding to allow those pursuing their PhDs to go to some of the top 100 universities in the world.

Yesterday, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the government had, to date, received 2,802 applications for the MyMaster, 672 for the MyPhD and 51 for the PhD Industry components of the MyBrain15 Scholarship programme.

He said this after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of agreement for an engineering doctorate programme between Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Melaka (UTeM) and several private engineering companies at the Marriott Putrajaya. Khaled had announced previously that the government was targeting to reach 650 successful applications for MyPhD, 8,000 for MyMaster and 100 for PhD Industry this year.

Under the programme, successful candidates for MyPhD, MyMaster and PhD Industry will receive RM22,000, RM10,000 and RM50,000 each respectively as long as they further their study in Malaysia.

The MyBrain15 programme aims to produce, among others, 5,000 PhD holders under the MyPhD project, 40,000 master’s degree holders under MyMaster programme and 500 PhD Industry holders, by 2015.

Read more: 3 out of 10 doctoral students drop out

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

UM senior lecturer wins judicial review over PhD - The Star


KUALA LUMPUR: A senior Universiti Malaya (UM) lecturer, who was orally told he had passed his Phd but later informed he had failed, won his judicial review application at the High Court here Tuesday.

High Court judge Justice Rohana Yusuf, in allowing G. Sivapalan's application with costs, ordered UM to pay him RM7,000.

In his application, Sivapalan had asked the court to confirm that the oral decision by UM's examination committee announced to him on Sept 28, 2006 was valid and enforceable.

He also sought for all benefits, including salary increment from year 2006.

In his court paper, Sivapalan said he had registered to pursue his PhD on Oct 16, 1996 and had duly submitted his thesis on March 20, 2006.

He said he had duly attended a viva voce (oral examination) on Sept 28, 2006 and was informed that he had passed his PhD thesis examination.

His lawyer M. Eswary said his client later received letters from UM saying he had failed his PhD and would not be allowed to sit for a second viva voce.

She said her client asked why the university made such a decision three years after he was informed orally that he had passed his PhD.

On Tuesday, Justice Rohana held in chambers that the letter issued by UM that Sivapalan had failed his PhD and would not be allowed to continue his PhD programme again was invalid.

The judge held that the affidavit given by the UM's internal examiner Prof M. Rajantheran on what had transpired during Sivapalan's viva-voce on Sept 28, 2006 "stood unrebutted".

(In the affidavit, Prof Rajantheran stated that the viva-voce committee unanimously decided that Sivapalan had passed the PhD examination thesis without any need to do correction and could be conferred with PhD.)

Therefore, Justice Rohana ruled that Sivapalan had a legitimate expectation that he has passed his doctorate degree.

She said UM failed to explain the three-year delay to notify the lecturer over his status.

Work visa mulled for international post-grad students - The Star


PUTRAJAYA: Qualified international post-graduate students may be allowed to work in Malaysia.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said such students would help contribute to the country's aims of increasing its skilled workforce.

"Universities can recommend good students who can work here, and we in turn can suggest that the Immigration department issue them work visas," he said.

He was speaking to reporters after attending the Malaysia International Scholarship (MIS) presentation ceremony at his ministry here.

Nine students received scholarships at the event, and a total of 110 MIS awards have been handed out to international students from 27 countries this year.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Government aims to attract 200,000 international students by 2020 - The Malaysian Insider

By Melissa Chi September 13, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 — Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced today that the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) aims to attract at least 200,000 international students to education institutions in Malaysia by 2020.

He said that the increased number of foreign students would be worth an estimated RM600 billion to the economy.

“Through co-operation with established and renowned institutions abroad, the government intends to make the education sector an economic endeavour by attracting more foreign students,” he said during his speech at the Education Nation Conference 2011 here at the Royale Chulan Hotel.

Malaysia has achieved a world ranking of 11th in terms of total international student population from around the world.

This was due to the burgeoning international student population in Malaysia, which has risen above 90,000, or the equivalent of around two per cent of the total international student population in the world as of June this year.

Based on the statistical breakdown provided by the MOHE website, the top five countries from which the majority of students were derived in 2009 were Iran, Indonesia, China, Nigeria and Yemen.

“Malaysia’s strategic regional position forms a melting pot of confluence that allows cross-fertilisation of ideas, cultures and civilisation dialogism,” Muhyiddin said.

The rise in the overseas student population in Malaysia is also attributed to the higher education liberalisation policy which aims to provide 100 per cent foreign equity by 2015.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Perdana University launched; Dr M named chancellor - The Star


Perdana University was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Monday.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was named the university's first chancellor.

The university, a collaboration with world-renowned Johns Hopkins and the Royal College of Surgeons, saw the first intake of 30 medical students.

In his speech, Najib said the presence of the university would help put Malaysia on the world map for excellence in education and research in medicine.

Monday, September 5, 2011

UM among top 200 varsities


PETALING JAYA: Universiti Malaya (UM) is the only Malaysian institution that has made it to the top 200 of the QS World University Rankings 2011/12.

It moved up 40 places to 167 this year compared to 207 in 2010.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) have all slid down the rankings (see table).

UKM is ranked 279 this year compared to 263 in 2010; USM at 335 (309), UPM 358 (319) and UTM at between 401 and 450 (365).

For the first time, the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) were included in the rankings at 451-500 and 601+ respectively.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin congratulated UM on its improvement, saying it was a reflection of the hard work put in by the university staff.

“I am also happy that two more of our institutions, IIUM and UiTM, have made it to the QS World University Rankings,” he said.

However, he said rankings were not the ministry's main objective as it was important to ensure universities contribute to the development process of the country.

QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) Ltd Intelligence Unit head Ben Sowter said QS conducts and compiles the annual World University Rankings, which is an annual league table of the top universities in the world.

The rankings are based on data gathered and measured in academic peer review, employer reputation review, international faculty ratio, international student ratio, student faculty ratio, and citations per faculty.

On UM's improvement, Sowter said it was the only Malaysian institution to have improved in its academic, employer scores and international aspects this year.

He said UKM lost ground in the employer reputation review and citations per faculty but improved in academic reputation.

“IIUM entered directly into the top 500, which is an excellent result for a new entry, while UiTM is lower down but deserves inclusion,” he said.

He said 2,919 institutions were considered for the rankings this year.

UM vice-chancellor Prof Tan Sri Dr Ghauth Jasmon said the policy to have academics and postgraduate students improved their quality of research and to have their output published in the Thomson Institute for Scientific Information indexed journals was paying off.

“This is a key policy that will continue under my administration so the promise of getting UM into the Top 100 in the QS World University Rankings will be achieved by 2015,” he said.

Cambridge University topped the QS World University Rankings this year followed by Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, Oxford University and Imperial College London.

The highest ranked Asian universities are University of Hong Kong at 22, University of Tokyo (25) and the National University of Singapore (28).