BY UMSU PRESS
Former Youth and Sports Minister, Syed Saddiq proposed that university students should have the freedom to choose the subjects that are relevant to their courses, instead of forcing the undergraduates to complete the compulsory subjects (MPU) which mostly seem irrelevant to their courses. These general studies subjects include Malaysian studies, ethnic relations, philosophy, Islamic civilisation etc. However, he stated that those subjects are good as long as it is an elective for students to take them according to their needs and interests.
The biggest concern is that the students in Malaysia need to study for a longer period before graduating when compared to students in Singapore, the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia. This causes the delay of Malaysian students entering the workforce which leads to the undergrads having 1 to 2 years less industry experience compared to their international peers. Syed Syaddiq also emphasized that universities should focus on producing more competitive graduates.
However, GERAK chairman, Zaharom Nain stated that Syed Saddiq has a narrow and utilitarian view where he mislooks the wider role of the university in exploring knowledge, questioning available knowledge and developing the human mind, potential and character.
Zaharom said “The underlying belief behind Syed Saddiq’s assertion – that the university is there to prepare labourers or workers for the market – is fundamentally flawed.”
In a bigger picture, the conflicts are due to the fact that these general studies subjects did not meet the expectations from students and even did not fulfill the initial purpose of setting up the subjects. The subjects ended up being a burden to students which did not help them in broadening their mind but a total waste of time. Therefore, the authorities are supposed to review, revise and revamp the subjects from time to time and keep monitoring the feedback given back by students.
Students are supposed to be given the freedom to plan their study on their own, whether they prefer being more competitive in the workforce or to be an individual with a broader view on current issues. Furthermore, turning MPU subjects to electives can also be effective in reflecting the popularity of the subjects in order to monitor the quality of subjects effectively.
Undeniably, every subject in university is designed to develop and shape students into a better individual in each aspect and field. It is pertinent to note that the subjects are considered as a failure when the outcomes did not meet the expectations which were laid out in the outset.
Written by Secretariat of Current Affairs 2021
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