The Star Education Fair continues to pull in the crowds for the study options, talks and funding opportunities available at a one-stop centre.
THE Star Education Fair 2018 has been the best one-stop centre for everything and anything related to education.
Even Deputy Education Minister Datuk P Kamalanathan was heard telling visitors that they could find all the information at the education fair with over 500 exhibitors.
He went around giving advice to school leavers on how to choose the best courses after finishing their secondary school studies.
“Don’t just sign up for a course at a university if you meet the minimum requirements because you might end up struggling later,” he told 18-year-old Vithyaashree Balakrishnan.
Instead, he told the aspiring pharmacist to aim for at least a B if the minimum grade is C for any course.
Kamalanathan who visited the fair last Sunday, took the opportunity to speak to parents and students as well as exhibitors at all five halls at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
KDU University College culinary arts student Ashvini Anbalagan, 19, said she found her dream course at last year’s fair.
“I’m so happy to have enrolled for this course in KDU after speaking to their representatives here last year,” she said as she garnished a prawn and waldorf salad at the KDU University College booth.
Hannah Benjamin, 17, concurred that it was easy to gather a plethora of information at the fair.
“Not only are there so many exhibitors, the talks are so informative,” she said after attending the talk on “What’s Next After SPM.”
Although Xuan had to catch a long-haul flight back to London last Saturday evening, she made sure not to miss going to the Star Education Fair 2018.
The 18-year-old A-Levels student who was back in Malaysia for her winter holidays, said the education and career talks gave her a clearer picture on what careers she could pursue after completing her A-Levels.
She said HELP University Faculty of Behavioural Sciences dean Dr Goh Chee Leong’s talk on “How Can A Psychology Degree Prepare Graduates For The Fourth Industrial Revolution”, had given her a deeper insight of the field.
“I like human interaction,” she said, adding that Dr Goh’s talk helped her understand how vast the field was.
Sisters Kirtisha and Dhivijah Sivadas and their father V. Sivadas woke up at dawn to get a head start on their journey to the Star Education Fair 2018.
Sivadas, who drove more than three hours from Johor, said he brought his daughters to the fair to expose them to various fields.
“They are doing well in school, but they have no idea what they want to do.
“The fair helped open their eyes,” he said, noting that Dr Goh’s segment on psychology and the fourth industrial revolution was very interesting and informative.
Star Media Group Berhad chief operating officer Datuk Calvin Kan said the group has been organising the fair for over three decades.
The Star Media Group, he said, has always been an advocate for education and life-long learning - regularly organising student-orientated projects like The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) pullout and the BRATs young journalist programme.
He said over 500 local and international educational institutions from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Poland, Indonesia, Russia, and India, had participated in the fair.
“The current economic climate and escalating living costs, have made it difficult for many to afford tuition fees, let alone tertiary education.
“Accessibility and affordability of education is a shared responsibility of not just parents, but also higher learning institutions, the government and private organisations,” he said, adding that the Star Education Fund would make tertiary education a reality for many talented students.
This year, 31 institutions pledged to contribute 295 scholarships worth more than RM16mil.
Congratulating the Star Media Group on the opening of the fair, higher education director-general Datin Paduka Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir who opened the fair last Saturday, thanked the learning institutions for offering scholarships to deserving students.
Also present during the opening and the visit were The Star’s editor-in-chief Datuk Leanne Goh, iStar Events managing director Datuk Adrianna Law, Star Media Group advertising and business development deputy senior general manager Lydia Wang and representatives from institutions who have pledged to contribute scholarships to the Star Education Fund.
SEGi University Early Childhood Education department head Carolyn Choo said school leavers should not take choosing their future study choices lightly.
“After your Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), you will need to make some serious choices,” she told a packed hall during her talk on “What’s next after SPM”.
She said some will choose their courses based on what they excelled at in school.
“But sometimes, what you’re good at might not be something you like.”
She advised school leavers to pick a course that they will enjoy doing.
Savant Garde Learning Solutions principal trainer Thomas Yap, who was a guest speaker of Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences during the fair, said pursuing something just because your friends are doing it, would be the biggest mistake of your life. He was speaking about charting a career that suits you.
He said the six Ps - passion, potential, personality, priorities, prospects, and parents, were important factors to consider when charting your future.
He urged parents not to choose careers for their kids just to make their own unfulfilled dreams come true.
Parents should be open and objective when discussing study plans with their children, he said.
“A friend who graduated with a medical degree presented his scroll to his father during the ceremony, saying: ‘Here is the degree you wanted dad’. He went on to become a tour guide.”
As in previous years, the “Pursuing Medicine and Health Sciences” talk was popular with both students and parents. Latecomers were spotted standing at the back of the hall because seats were full.
Monash University Malaysia senior lecturer Dr Priyia Pusparajah, who gave an overview of a career in medicine, said some aspiring doctors were inspired to study medicine because of what they see on television. But, reel is not real, she warned.
Your colleagues won’t be as good looking, and performing dramatic life-saving procedures, aren’t the norm, she said.
And while it can be a lucrative career, the profession demands hard work and continuous training.
“If you specialise, you’re looking at 15 years - minimum. And initially, you may be earning less than your contemporaries in other fields.”
While the power doctors have to save lives sets medicine apart from other professions, the role comes with great responsibility.
It’s a high-stakes profession because if something goes wrong, you lose a life so aspiring doctors must be mentally prepared to face such challenges.
“When faced with difficult situations, you’ll need resilience and good coping skills.”
Explaining the high requirements for medical school, she said it was to make sure that those who embark on the path, know that it will be years of jam-packed study schedules, assignments, and revisions.
Often, it’s only upon graduation, that doctors realise how little they know. That’s why lifelong-learning is a mainstay in the medical profession.
“You can make a real difference by alleviating pain and suffering and it’s a respected profession with a wide choice of careers including teaching, research and management. It can be a very rewarding career but it’s a very long, and challenging road. Medicine is only for those who cannot imagine doing anything else with their life,” she said, adding that there are over 60 specialties for doctors to explore.
Talking about choosing the right medical school, Penang Medical College vice-president (Academic Affairs) and registrar Prof David Whitford said location, curriculum, ranking, costs and student life, are important factors to consider.
Decide which are the most important to you, but don’t ignore the other factors, he advised.
“Think about whether your school gives you access to hospitals. Be aware that clinical placements abroad will expose you to a different experience from if you were to be in a hospital here where, for example, there are dengue cases to study.”
He said students must also know what learning styles suit them best and those going abroad, were reminded to check whether their degree is recognised locally.
International Medical University School of Medicine dean Prof Datuk Dr Kew Siang Tong provided an insight into the field in her talk “Changing Landscape in Medicine”.
She said the field was moving towards personalised medicine.
“It’s not going to be a ‘one size fits all’ treatment anymore,” she said, adding that despite reports of an oversupply in the profession, there will always be a need for competent, caring, doctors.
University of Nottingham Malaysia School of Pharmacy Asst Prof Dr Valerie Shang, in her “A Career in Pharmacy: More Than Just Drug Dispensing” talk, said a pharmacy degree opens many doors.
“Coca Cola and the famous Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce were invented by pharmacists. We don’t just count pills.”
She said with the liberalisation of pharmacy graduate training in the private sector, there will be a demand for pharmacists moving forward.
Graduates, she said, have many career options. They could become pharmacists, work in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, go into business, or become academics.
During the “Psychology For Sustainability Beyond The 21st Century” session, Sunway University head of Psychology Department and associate professor Dr Alvin Ng Lai Oon said so long as there are humans, there will be social problems.
Psychology, he said, is a science of the mind and behaviour, which addresses the problems of individuals, groups, and society.
“A psychologist is like a mechanic. When you send your car for repair, the mechanic won’t be able to tell you what’s wrong without checking the vehicle first. Similarly, we need to make detailed assessments, which takes time, before we can address the issue. This is our strength.”
He said the ability to manage mental action or the process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses, paves the way for behavioural management.
“When hiring top management, companies want psychologists because we know about people, and how to manage them,” he said.
HELP University’s Dr Goh noted how industries will be completely changed during the fourth industrial revolution and assured that psychology graduates will be able to secure jobs during the “volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous” time.
“Psychology is needed wherever there is people. You can venture into any field if you have a psychology degree.
“The next five to 10 years is a big boom for psychologists,” he said, noting that there is a great lack of supply of talent in the field.
He added that Malaysia’s need for psychologists will grow as it moves towards a developed nation status.
“All developed countries in the world have highly developed psychology industries even in Asia such as Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong,” he pointed out.
Celebrity chef Datuk Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan, who has over 27 years of experience in cooking plus TV exposure, engaged the crowd with his entertaining personality while he gave an insight into the world of culinary arts during his talk “How To Be A Global Chef Cum Celebrity Chef”.
“Chefs face high-levels of stress. Our job is not a bed of roses,” he said stressing that a solid foundation must be built in chef school for one to be a good cook.
“You can’t get cooking skills through cookbooks and videos,” said Chef Wan.
Sharing the stage with him was Sunway Le Cordon Bleu general manager Ming Rathswohl Ho, who said being a chef helps build one’s character.
“It teaches one about discipline, organisation, leadership, integrity and more,” she said.
School-leaver Christopher Soh and his younger brother Dominic Soh, 16, were among the crowd who caught Chef Wan’s talk.
Christopher said he was there to see the charismatic Chef Wan in person, while Dominic wanted to get a few pointers on a culinary arts career.
“I am interested in pursuing culinary arts in the future and wanted to get more information here,” said the SMJK Taman Sea student.
Taylor’s University and Taylor’s College Culinology programme director and senior lecturer Dr Chong Li Choo gave a talk on “Culinology: Future on Demand”.
She focused on what was culinology and its promising career prospects.
Describing culinology as a field that is “the best of both worlds”, Dr Chong explained it is a discipline that combines culinary arts with science and food technology, focusing on food product development.
“People tend to think it is either a food science or culinary art. It is both.
“Culinology graduates often enter the food industry’s research and development department or application labs,” she said, pointing out that they would not necessarily enter the kitchen.
She said culinology is important because there is a gap in the food industry where food scientists can’t communicate with the chefs.
“Culinologists bridges the gap between food scientists and chefs.
“They help maintain nutritional values, taste and textures in food as they understand the science behind it and have the skills to do it,” said Dr Chong.
It is needed to change people’s negative perception towards the food industry, she added.
Limkokwing University of Creative Technology’s global campus senior coordinator Tannaz Naseri, spoke about “International Careers”.
The university’s “in-house” architect graduate said one must require character and soft skills to pursue an international career.
“There is a need to build character to be able to socialise and intermingle with international counterparts. Get to know people and their culture,” she said, adding that one should acquire knowledge and make a lot of friends during college.
Brickfields Asia College head of Legal and Compliance Andrew Kalish, who is also a law lecturer, shared insights on employment prospects for law graduates and other career paths to consider besides practising law in his talk “What Are My Career Options After a Law Degree”.
During his talk on “Cybersecurity Risks and Career Prospects”, YPC International College principal Datuk Dr Noel Robert said there would be six million job opportunities in the field of cybersecurity by 2019.
He pointed out that there are are many cyber threats out there and Malaysia is not safe from any of them.
“We need people to tackle the new and more sophisticated ransomeware which is now all over the internet,” he added.
Meanwhile, Universiti Malaya head of programmes for the department of Estate Management Prof Dr Noor Rosly Hanif shed some light on the careers available within the real estate sector.
Not many people realise that there is a Bachelor’s Degree offered for the programme which exposes students to property and business valuation, property laws, real estate development, entrepreneurship and auction, and property management and tenancy.
Prof Richard Fisher from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, said IT is definitely changing the future of accounting.
He advised accounting students to take up IT courses in data analytics, statistics and business strategy, among others, to keep themselves relevant as they would not know what jobs would exist by the time they finish studying.
Speaking on “Industry 4.0, Digital Disruption and Your Future Careers”, Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology vice-president of operations Gurpardeep Singh said disruption merely offers a simpler, cheaper, or more convenient alternative, to what people already have.
Our needs, he said, have not changed. It’s the way services are delivered, and how things are done, that have changed.
Pointing to Air Asia and Uber as examples, he said, the need to travel has always been around, but it is much cheaper and more convenient to do so now.