How lecturers are treated in Malaysia

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by sonata88, Aug 6, 2006.

  1. sonata88

    sonata88 New Member

    Lecturers in private colleges constantly spied on
    Apr 10, 06 4:11pm

    With regards to senior academic staff and their contributions, what is the situation and scenario in private colleges and universities? In some of private colleges, they are trying very hard to ‘ease out’ senior and experienced staff that are already under tremendous pressure to perform. They are overloading them to the maximum hours permitted and strict deadlines are set and closely monitored for breach of discipline, for example in the submission of examination questions, marks and reports.

    Staff members are constantly spied upon for any minor misdemeanors and frequent meetings are held with students to obtain feedback on any of their negative aspects of their (the lecturers) conduct in classes. Most lecturers are in a stage of siege as employers are now in control with the upper hand.

    And what is the reason for this state of affairs that the managements have to adopt such harsh measures? The bottom line is that educational institutions are set up solely to make profits and satisfy their shareholders. With a dwindling enrolment due to the many restrictions imposed by the Education Ministry, experienced senior staff who leave are good news as the institution can then employ another two fresh graduates at tremendous cost savings.

    In addition, so-called ‘research’ is just a big farce in most of private colleges and universities. With contact hours running up to 24 hours a week and sometimes with six hours in a day, there is hardly any time for rest and recovery, let alone research. In one institution, they actually published an annual journal of research papers consisting mainly summarised MSc or PhD theses of existing academic staff and newly recruited ones. As usual, Education Ministry officials were impressed!

    Yes, the private sector educational institutions are retaining the PhD holders (mostly retired) with a ‘Dr’ in front of the names to impress the ministry and the foreign partner universities. Most of them are placed as directors and administrators with no teaching functions at all. The few in the academic line are appointed as deans and some are really square pegs in round holes. Have you heard of the dean in Engineering with a PhD qualification in Polymer Technology who could not tell the difference between a bolt and nut?

    So all the talk of quality, holistic and excellence in private education is mainly for publicity’s sake as they are prepared to chase away matured senior staff who after many years of service are on the high end of the salary scale. This is proving to be a big burden for them.

    Staff about to retire on reaching the mandatory age are invariably shown the quick exit without even a handshake or a goodbye. For now, experience, knowledge and the wisdom of senior staff could well be sacrificed all in the name of a better profit.

    And who would suffer the most but the students?
  2. georgehkchua

    georgehkchua New Member

    The state of private higher education is generally deplorable here in Malaysia

    I agree with sonata88 that private educational institutions in Malaysia are set up solely to make profits and satisfy their shareholders.

    I'm currently a part-time student in an offshore MBA programme offered by an Australian university here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The programme is taught and administered entirely by lecturers and administrators from a Malaysian affiliate college and I can attest to its poor quality. Here's why:

    1) The affiliate college's "academic library" has a collection that barely qualifies it as a high school library. Not only is it almost completely devoid of a journal collection, even popular business magazines (e.g. Fortune, The Economist, Fast Company) are absent.

    2) The so-called study guides issued to MBA students are thin compilations of notes plagarised from popular textbooks and publicly available sources.

    3) There is virtually no full time faculty. The lecturers consist mainly of retired industry professionals or professional "MBA facilitators" whose sole occupation is to hop from college to college teaching MBA courses part-time. Some of these lecturers hold regular day jobs and hardly have time to prepare for classes; much less conduct research.

    4) Most of these lecturers hold an MBA as their highest qualification. The few that had doctorates frequently obtained them from dubious institutions such as Irish International University.

    5) Lecturers are oftened assigned to teach subjects for which they have no direct academic / professional expertise. (An accountant is assigned to teach Economics, an IT guy is asked to teach E-Marketing, etc.)

    6) The grading system is questionable. Foreign students from China who cannot speak a word of English frequently breeze through English medium MBA programmes with no apparent difficulty. I was once asked by a Chinese student to help out with her assignment and discovered that she plagarised huge chunks of material (verbatim) from Nokia's website. I advised her against plagarism; she apparently ignored my advice and was still awarded a passing grade.

    These snippets are apparently not unique to the programme that I'm enrolled in but is commonplace among the numerous offshore MBA programmes offered here in Malaysia.
  3. davidhume

    davidhume New Member

    I don't think there is any doubt about the lack of quality in accredited education provided in off-shore centres.

    A friend of mine who teaches in this region of the world has taught in unaccredited programs for an number of years before landing a couple of assignments with accredited programs (UK and Australian universities).

    But much to his surprise, he sees very little difference in either the methods of delivery and the assessment tasks and standards, between the unaccredited and accredited programs. In fact, he tends to think that the unaccredited schools have higher standards, especially with assessments.

    It appears that overseas affiliations and programs are a bit of a joke. English language is an enormous problem which is largely been swept under the mat in the interests of money and graduates and numerous junkets for the international department personnel of well known UK and Australian universities.
  4. jimnagrom

    jimnagrom New Member

    Roosevelt University recently made their first "stab " at an overseas affiliation with a Chinese University. Gent who was on the ground for the summer pretty much said the same thing.
  5. sonata88

    sonata88 New Member

    Well said George after all it is to the interest of foreign universities to aim to make a profit out of offshore centres. Antipodean wise almost 10 unis are in financial dire straits, those in other parts have a hidden agenda of making more money, not really transferring expertise to less developed emerging societies. Offshore centres are nothing more than franchise outlets with degrees marketed instead of hamburgers. Some operate like hamburger franchises which is really weird.

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