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10 proposals for higher education reform

Photograph: Berita Harian

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On Monday, 11 June 2018, Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (Gerak) accepted a kind invitation to meet Minister of Education Dr Maszlee Malik in Putrajaya.

In our meeting, we conveyed 10 key proposals that Maszlee and the Pakatan Harapan government could implement soon to help make our universities more vibrant, exemplary and progressive.

They are as follows:

  1. Restructuring of university administration;
  2. Repealing/amending laws that stifle academic freedom;
  3. Widening access to higher education institutions by increasing student intake in higher education (especially for Technical and Vocational Education and Training);
  4. Upholding meritocracy over ‘kulitocracy’;
  5. Introducing creative pedagogy and alternative assessment practices;
  6. Reviewing academics’ key performance index (KPI);
  7. Dissolution of the National Professors Council (MPN);
  8. Providing a safe and inclusive working environment;
  9. Ending unethical academic practices – plagiarism, cheating and academic bullying; and
  10. Establishing a committee on institutional reforms of higher education.

Gerak appreciates Maszlee and the new government’s awareness of the need for broad, meaningful and effective institutional change in higher education as promised in the PH government’s election manifesto.

We agreed that, where politicisation of public universities is concerned, the buck stops here. We also agreed at our meeting that political apparatchiks impersonating as university leaders, deadwood masquerading as academics, will have to go. And we were assured that they will, sooner rather than later.

Gerak believes that with the adoption of the measures outlined in our proposal above, measures clearly supported and championed by Maszlee, Malaysian universities and academia generally can finally begin to reform and reclaim their autonomy and freedom.

This, we trust, will mark the first steps towards Malaysian universities attaining the academic standards necessary to help move our society and country forward into a challenging new era.

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