REFERRING to the article “Searching for a needle in a haystack” by Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi (The Star, Jan 5; online at https://bit.ly/35kD337), it is refreshing to know that there are persons/academics who are interested in gauging the academic and general knowledge of university students.
I believe the four questions posed by Prof Mohd Tajuddin would have challenged all the candidates he interviewed.
However, I respectfully disagree with his assessment of the students since their answers to the four questions would have been more accurate had they been graduates and gained experience from working.
For example, for questions 1 & 3 – “What book have you read in the course of your student life that changed some meaning or perspective about the world at large for you?” and “What books would you like to read to improve yourself for a future you would like to see or have?” – I don’t think many of our university students have enough time to read other materials besides those required for their studies because of their workload. Bear in mind that some students have to work to pay for their tuition fees or for pocket money.
However, quite a number would do some serious reading on politics, religion or on how to make fast and easy money when they are working.
On the second question, “What lessons have you learned from a culture or faith other than your own?”, most university students, especially in public universities, are normally confined to their own races. As such, their social interactions are very limited for them to learn about and understand other cultures and faiths. I myself learnt more about Chinese and Indian culture from my colleagues rather than my friends at university.
The fourth question, “If you were to meet the prime minister or vice-chancellor for a one-on-one interview, what would you ask him or her to do for youth in a future Malaysia?”, could be quite overwhelming for the candidates since youth is a big issue. Nobody from the past or current administration has been able to tackle this issue satisfactorily so far.
They might suggest measures such as increasing the amount of PTPTN loans, reducing tuition fees, subsidising public transport fees for students or creating enough job opportunities for graduates. But we know these measures are temporary in nature and can’t be sustained in the long term. Again, these students would have more complete answers after they have worked for a certain period.
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