ON THE whole, a lot of consideration has been given to private higher education institutions (IPTS). However, the recommendations can only be realised if there is extensive funding by the Government. If not, the cost will have to be transferred to the students.
We are also concerned that IPTS might face a lot of red tape and bureaucracy, which will be a stumbling block for growth.
If top public universities are to concentrate on postgraduates, the undergraduate students must be channelled to IPTS and their fees sponsored by the government.
IPTS should also not be asked to pay for providing and maintaining quality, that is, LAN fees. In fact, we should be given incentives or grants to enhance quality and standards.
National Association of Private Educational Institutions president Elajsolan Mohan
The report is very comprehensive on IPTA. However, details with regards to IPTS are lacking. IPTS should be given incentives to develop.
Based on statistics, IPTS is providing higher education to as many students as IPTA, and therefore, the government should look into providing enough support in the form of grants to IPTS. We suggest that the government step in to provide support in the training on pedagogy, and upgrading of staff, especially for newly-recruited staff for both IPTA and IPTS.
IPTS ought to be given access to facilities in the public sector for teaching and research because the government is not giving funding to private institutions.
There is a need to allow for flexibility in the admission of students for diploma and degree programmes based on the multi-tier system.
INTI Group of Colleges president Tan Yew Sing
I am concerned about Recommendation 120 that a reward mechanism be given for higher education students who excel and Recommendation 130 on Mybrain 15.
Postgraduate students in sciences must publish a minimum number of research papers in refereed international and local or regional journals before they are awarded their degrees. It scares me that the first hurdle to an academic or research career is related to materialistic values.
There are other ways to reward highly productive postgraduates such as retaining them in academic or research positions in the IPT.
As for Recommendation 29, the number of publications varies from medical sciences to physical sciences, and from arts to economics and sub-fields to sub-fields.
Thus, a transparent multi-category system should be recommended for this measurement in the sciences: Category A for High Impact Journals; Category B for Middle Impact Journals; Category C for Other refereed journals.
The Report used carefully selected words on excellence but did not come out explicitly to state that the enormous human capital of Malaysians of all races, religion and creed must be utilised.
Universiti Malaya science faculty lecturer Prof Dr Kurunathan Ratnavelu
In reality, only eight out of the 138 recommendations actually deal specifically with IPTS and only one of these actually mentions (in general terms) incentives for IPTS the remaining ones are largely regulatory in nature.
There is a recommendation that every IPT ensures that 10%-15% of its student enrolment is made up of high achieving foreign students.
Will IPTA then be in direct competition with IPTS for the foreign student market?
There is repeated reference to improving government polytechnics and community colleges.
Perhaps the Government should outsource the management and operation of some of these institutions to credible IPTS operators so these colleges can be managed as corporations allowing the authorities to focus on improving the mainstream institutions and universities.
The report also includes encouragement for government-linked companies (GLCs) to set-up universities and recruit more foreign students.
This will create unfair competition for IPTS who have to rely completely on internally generated funds for development and operations.
Apiit managing director and Mapcu deputy president Dr Parmjit Singh
With reference to Recommendation 57, I think a consortium should be set up to co-ordinate and drive e-learning content development.
With this setup, effort should be taken to ensure quality e-content development by pooling expertise and resources from various institutions of higher learning. This will prevent duplication of effort by individual lecturers from different institutions.
Recommendation 75, that mandatory training programmes for lecturers in pedagogy and
andragogy be held is laudable. However, this recommendation, in various forms, has been made many times over the years with little action or result.
I would like to suggest that every institution of higher learning be required to set up a centre for instructional and technology support (CITS).
This centre can play the dual role of providing training in pedagogy and andragogy, as well as technical and instructional support for lecturers who strive to achieve excellence in teaching.
Training should focus on moving lecturers away from lecturing to help students develop their minds.
Education consultant and former UPM lecturer Dr Gan Siowck Lee
The report is very comprehensive on Research and Development (R&D) in particular, support and funding.
A comparison was made with other countries. It was discovered that countries like Japan and Singapore spend 3% of their gross demestic product (GDP) on R&D compared with only 1% in Malaysia.
So, we have a lot of catching up to do in terms of investment.
I also welcome the establishment of five research universities so that we are not distracted by undergraduate programmes,
However, only those who meet the criteria will be declared research universities. USM will be audited next week to see whether we qualify.
This is a good benchmark which should be done every three to five years.
We have already submitted documentation for this purpose earlier.
On the proposed establishment of a Quality Control, Audit and Accreditation Agency, I welcome a body that will be responsible for both public and private IPT.
Wan Zahid report committee member and USM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Dzulkifli Abdul Razak