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Experienced lecturers let go due to varsity budget cuts

 | August 24, 2017

Student activists claim this will affect quality of future education in public universities.

asheeq-ali-1

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian students are losing out on quality education as public universities have been forced to let go of their best brains due to budget cuts.

With the reduced allocation in their annual budgets over the past few years, universities have had to lay off more experienced lecturers, some of them foreigners, in order to reduce their payroll expenditure.

Universities are then left with no choice but to hire less experienced lecturers, thus affecting the quality of teaching.

It was previously reported that more than 6,000 lecturers in public universities, including professors, were either terminated from their jobs or did not have their contracts renewed last year due to budget cuts.

Last October, in tabling Budget 2017, Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that funding for public universities was RM6.117 billion, down from the RM7.575 billion allocated for 2016, which is a 23.8% drop.

Student activist Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi claimed that the public universities are now hiring university alumni to take over from more experienced lecturers.

“I am not denying the fact that young graduates should be given the opportunity to be academicians.

“However, even though it is encouraged, there should be a succession plan that allows senior lecturers to train and later pass the baton to younger lecturers.

“There is no point having young lecturers to teach without proper training or mentoring from experienced lecturers,” Asheeq said, adding that senior lecturers, including foreigners, are invaluable assets to universities.

According to him, the removal of experienced lecturers also affected the productivity of a faculty in terms of research.

“Students will face lack of funds to facilitate their research, and they will have less opportunity to work with qualified lecturers as their supervisor,” he said.

Meanwhile, DAP Socialist Youth (Dapsy) representative Farhan Haziq Mohamed claimed the replacing of senior lecturers with less experienced ones was a bad move for both university and the government.

Farhan says quality comes at a certain price and we need to keep foreign and senior lecturers or professors as well as give grants for research and publication.

Farhan says quality comes at a certain price and we need to keep foreign and senior lecturers or professors as well as give grants for research and publication.

Farhan said it had become a trend for universities to hire alumni as lecturers to cut corners.

“This is not a good practice because we need diversity and different minds in universities.

“Quality also comes at a certain price. We need to keep foreign and senior lecturers or professors as well as give grants for research and publication.”

He further claimed that universities can also set up their own companies to commercialise their own research, as what had been done by foreign universities.

“There are many commercialisation processes that can be utilised by universities, such as licensing, publications, and cooperative research and development agreements.

“Universities can also develop their research parks, just like Silicon Valley by Stanford University, Cambridge Science Park by Cambridge University and Harvard Innovation Lab by Harvard,” Farhan said.

However, he claimed that the government must find a way for such efforts to happen by providing the infrastructure for these plans to work.

He also urged the government to set up a special fund for each university to keep their local and foreign professors so that the quality of education could be preserved.

Following the reduction in the higher education ministry’s budget for this year, public universities were badly affected, with some losing millions in funding.

Universiti Teknologi Mara alone suffered cuts of RM563.07 million, while Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia and Universiti Sains Malaysia suffered budget cuts of at least RM100 million each.

Public varsity budget cuts not good for developing nation


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