Saturday, November 03, 2007

:: Laih sungguh

:: Kita acapkali menguar2kan bahawa pendidikan kita bertaraf dunia... kita gahkan diri kita... kita semacam syok sendiri... tapi lain pulak dapatan oleh MQA yang mengambilalih tugas dan peranan LAN... menjadikan kita sedikit terpempan... dan beberapa persoalan menerjah kepada diri kita sendiri... mengapa dan kenapa... ?

NST Online » Frontpage 2007/11/03

Public universities fail outstanding test
By : Sonia Ramachandran and Heidi Foo

PUTRAJAYA: In a sad commentary on the state of the nation's public universities, a government survey has concluded that none of them are outstanding.

And only one university - Universiti Sains Malaysia - made it into the second category of "Excellent" in the first ever university perception exercise in the country. It received a five-star ranking. Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) were lumped in the "Good" category. They had four stars. Those in the Satisfactory list are Universiti Malaysia Pahang, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Universiti Malaysia Perlis, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia and Universiti Utara Malaysia. None fell in the "Less Satisfactory" or "Weak" categories.

The Academic Reputation Survey (ARES), carried out by a team spearheaded by the National Accreditation Board (LAN), involved 17 of the 20 public universities. In releasing the results yesterday, Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said this was the first time the government was evaluating the quality of public higher education." In general, public higher education institutions in the country are good but there is room for improvement," he said at the expansion of LAN into a new body called the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA). The objective of the survey was to see how local and regional academicians, corporate figures and employers perceive public higher education institutions in the country. All public universities in the country were covered except for University Darul Iman, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan and Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia.

The perception survey had 10 questions, including best overall university, quality of research, academic resources, the academic reputation of the faculty as well as students' university of choice. ARES questionnaire was sent to 954 respondents and received 272 responses. They were from 242 public and higher education institutions, two Asean universities (National University of Singapore and Institut Teknologi Brunei), nine corporate bodies and 19 professional and certification bodies. The survey started in the middle of last year and was completed in September. The universities were evaluated based on the six points Likert scale with one point classified as "weak" and six points classified as "outstanding". MQA senior project manager in charge of rating of universities, Dr Zulkifli Senteri, said although on the whole USM was the only one perceived to be in the "Excellent" category, the breakdown according to respondents presented a different story." The academicians perceived USM to be in the "Excellent" category, but the non-academicians comprising of corporate bodies and professionals, including employers, perceived UIA, UiTM, UKM, UM, UPM, USM, UTM and UUM (Universiti Utara Malaysia) to be in this category.Mustapa said apart from ARES, LAN had also come up with a rating system for Higher Education in Malaysia (Setara). The pilot rating study, which started in August last year and ended in July 2007, ranked universities in three categories, namely, research universities, broad based universities and specialised universities. However, Mustapa did not release the results of the Setara rankings as the data for the pilot project was based on 2005. He said there were inaccuracies in the data and queries about terminology had been raised." Also, based on some comments from the vice-chancellors, we felt it would be better not to release the results," he added. Another study will be done. Mustapa said: "All the vice-chancellors were called for a briefing and they will start inputting their 2006 data online on Monday and by early next year, we will obtain the results of this study which would be made public." He said Setara and ARES would be conducted annually by MQA.

On expanding the Setara and ARES to the private sector, Mustapa said they had conducted a pilot audit of 10 private higher education institutions and were now going to extend it to 100 ." That will be ready within six months and will be made public. The audit too will be annual. This audit is to build a database of private higher education institutions. Ranking for them will come later," he said. The ranking and perception survey were important, said Mustapa, for the government to see how effective public universities were in discharging their responsibilities." We also want to know how effective the money spent on the universities have been in achieving the objectives. Every consumer is also entitled to know which university provides the best education." MQA chief executive officer Datuk Syed Ahmad Hussein said perception surveys were good tools for continuous quality improvement." Of course, perception does not necessarily represent reality but it's a good general indicator of what others think of us. Asked if this would result in students scrambling for universities perceived to be at the top, he said: " It would have some impact on choice as it is a recognition by society of the universities' excellence.