Although I feel that it is premature for Rafiah Salim to be removed as the Vice Chancellor of University of Malaya, politicians (and I include opposition politicians too) should just stay out of the day to day running of University of Malaya. Ghauth Jasmon, unless he performs disastrously, should be given six years to lead University of Malaya. A succession of VCs will only lead to gimmicky and superficial changes.
Jasmon’s task is especially difficult since UM will not be given extra funding like USM because the latter has been named as an apex university. My wish list for Jasmon would be:
(a) continue Rafiah’s policy of requiring all lecturers to publish at least two articles a year in international journals;
(b) sign international student exchange programmes with reputable universities worldwide. In particular, UM could try to forge collaborations with Middle Eastern universities and offer its graduates a gateway into booming cities like Dubai, Abu Dhabi etc;
(c) jointly appoint to faculty positions outstanding Malaysian born academics based abroad like Danny Quah from LSE etc;
(d) forge collaborations and make visiting and joint appointments with faculty members from Singaporean universities. Singapore is just across the causeway and it is time to put aside national pride and learn from our neighbours;
(e) recruit the best staff and students within the confines of the quota system (an oxymoronic suggestion, I know – but I live in hope); and
(f) strengthen alumni connections and leverage on alumni for fundraising purposes. A campaign like “Let’s Keep UM the number one university in Malaysia” could possibly move the alumni to donating to the university.
After the euphoria, reality bites. Singapore’s biopolis better watch out.
November 5, 2008
Stem Cells and Economic Stimulus Will Top Democratic Agenda in New Congress
Washington — In her first post-election speech today, Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, said Democrats would move quickly on economic-stimulus legislation and a bill to relax federal restrictions on stem-cell research.
She also acknowledged that the nation’s economic struggles could put a crimp in the party’s plans, despite large gains in yesterday’s election. Democrats picked up at least 20 seats in the House, with some races still too close to call.
“Many of our options have been diminished because of the downturn in the economy over the last couple months,” she said.
Details of the stimulus package are still being negotiated, but colleges are asking lawmakers to include money for education and research. Democrats hope to take up the bill during a lame-duck session later this month.
I agree with the letter below, although the language in the letter is a bit harsh. This Apex university exercise is funded by tax payers’ money and it is incumbent that the Higher Education Minister explains why USM was chosen over UM. This choice effectively means the death of UM as the premier university in Malaysia.
A Choice That Defies Logic
31 October 2008
REFER to the TV programme Ehwal Semasa (Current Affairs) on RTM1 on Oct 28 in which the vice-chancellors (VCs) of Universiti Malaya (UM), University Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), a representative of the Higher Education Ministry (MOHE) and also a professor discussed the recent Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) ranking and the award of the Accelerated Programme for Excellence (Apex) status to Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
From the discussions, it seemed that there was confusion among the panelists about the objective of the Apex programme and the way it was implemented.