I REFER to the letter “Merger for quality education” (The Star, Sept 18) by Prof Dr Mohd Cairul Iqbal Mohd Amin and I absolutely agree with his opinions on merging universities for overall quality improvement.
It is a fact that our major aim in having the higher education institutes (HEI) is to provide affordable and quality higher education to all Malaysians regardless of age, gender or religion.
With Artificial Intelligence, Industry 4.0, Internet of Things (IoT) and Vision 2020 all around us nowadays, there is a major need to restructure our direction and expectations on these institutes.
The raison d’etre of any universities and colleges in the universe should be shaping the people’s workforce.
However, it is very easy to deviate from these objectives because of the darker side of human nature – anger, greed and selfishness.
We must stay on course if we want to be successful in creating an effective workforce.
But how do we make sure that we are on the right track? Luckily, we can go back to the basics by focusing more on students’ overall development and to unify the two Tunku Abdul Rahman campuses.
The main suggestion is to merge both the institutes to become one university. A united campus would bring all the faculties (Science, Technology, Arts and Humanities) close together.
Research by Michigan State University shows that majority of Nobel laureates work with artistic pursuits in their free time while contributing to society.
It is our goal to have more Malaysians receiving the Nobel prize and we must strive for this as much as possible. The positive synergy from that unity is our catalyst to achieving that dream.
Centralising these institutes would not only provide a wider academic diversity, but it could also reduce the overall running costs and improve communications between different faculties, as mentioned earlier.
Do we want to create multi-talented individuals who can adapt to the challenges of Industry 4.0? Obviously yes!
This consolidation would also allow us to improve utilisation of research and recreational infrastructure.
In the field of sports, the amalgamation of both institutes (UTAR and TAR UC) would allow the students to carry on with their sporting activities without much hassle within their campus.
Renting sports and aquatic facilities outside the campus is not a long-term solution as it can be very expensive and also inconvenient to the students.
A short study by University of Ohio found out that having a variety of in-campus sports activities improves students’ retention rates, CGPAs (Cumulative Grade Point Average) and their overall health.
Students who are engaged in college/university sports are more employable and earn more than their peers who do not engage in these activities. Always remember that we want to generate quality graduates for our workforce.
Finally, we want a unique university that serves the population of Malaysia. We desire an institute where people are brought together to build their careers, contribute to society and shape their identities.
Currently, we have two distinct institutes which are named after our most respected Tunku Abdul Rahman. As we already have a glut of universities and colleges nationwide, having a united campus would encourage us to focus on nurturing our students to become successful leaders instead of just churning out graduates.
If we want our institute to achieve the highest world university ranking possible, we must stay on our course.
In summary, the Federal Government and citizens of Malaysia should cooperate to establish one university which is based on our Malaysian motto “Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu (Unity is strength)”.
In these trying times, we cannot afford to point fingers at each other or to bicker among ourselves. We have to go back to the drawing board and maximise our focus on delivering the best education and experience to our students.
With that, we will be engineering a bright future for Malaysia.
WILLIAM CHAN ,Sungai Buloh, Selangor
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