PETALING JAYA: Operators of private universities have voiced their concern over the move to make the Islamic and Asian Civilisation Studies (Titas) subject compulsory in private institutions of higher learning (IPTS).
National Association of Private Educational Institutions president Assoc Prof Elajsolan Mohan said the subject should instead be made an elective for students, who are interested in learning more about the topic.
“In tertiary education, students should be more focused on subjects that are related to their future careers. Being forced to study another subject will add more stress on them,” said Elajsolan when contacted yesterday.
He added that students would also be burdened by the extra cost incurred for Titas since fees at IPTS were paid according to the number of credit hours they were taking.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced in Parliament on Thursday that Titas would be made compulsory for new intake of local students in IPTS from Sept 1.
Muhyiddin had said the move was part of an effort to standardise requirements between private and public universities, by taking into account the study needs of local and international students.
Titas was one of the three subjects that has to be taken by every local private university student. The others are Ethnic Relations and Malaysian Studies.
Education Ministry Higher Education Department director-general Prof Dr Morshidi Sirat said Titas was not about studying religion.
“It is about comparative Asian civilisations as well as the good and common values,” said Prof Morshidi.
Sunway Education Group senior executive director Elizabeth Lee said the subject’s curriculum had to be reviewed to ensure more objectivity if it were to be embraced by all Malaysians.
“I am concerned about the three compulsory subjects for the Malaysian students, which will be taught in Bahasa Malaysia.
“Our IPTS take in many Malaysian students who have not attended schools in the national system,” said Lee.
Taylor’s University vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Hassan Said welcomed the move to introduce Titas in IPTS, saying it would lead to the harmonisation of higher education in the country.
Meanwhile, MCA education bureau chairman Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said making Titas compulsory in IPTS would not directly improve the quality of higher education in the country.
“If the subject is English, then we can see how students can benefit from it.
“But if students are interested in Titas, by all means, they should be allowed to take it up. However, making it compulsory will not encourage them to be inclined towards the subject,” said Dr Wee.