PETALING JAYA: Several university students have urged the higher education ministry to provide solutions to stress-related issues faced by them in the wake of the deaths of two Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) students recently.
The two students were reported to have died from ruptured blood vessels in their head. It was also reported that they had been under great stress in trying to complete their coursework from home.
Talking about the deaths and the high level of stress university students underwent, several undergraduates expressed disappointment over the attitude of the ministry.
Nur Aiza Rafiqha, a student at a local private university, said the ministry should engage students and resolve their issues.
“Since the implementation of online learning, my university gives weekly assignments on top of other scheduled assignments. The deadlines are definitely shorter. It’s getting harder to juggle between assignments, research and other tasks,” she said.
Nur Aiza, who started her internship recently, claimed the ministry had also overlooked issues pertaining to industrial training during the pandemic.
“I think internship should not be a requirement to graduate right now since most companies have reduced their operations or have asked staff to work from home. However, the ministry has not addressed this matter.”
Lamenting about the “badly executed” directives and guidelines issued by the ministry, she said: “I have wasted so much money travelling back and forth between Ipoh (her hometown) and Cyberjaya just because of the ministry’s last-minute decisions. While that doesn’t affect me badly since my family’s income is still stable, there are many others who are not as fortunate as I am.”
Another student, Muhammad Fuad Mohd Nizam, suggested that the ministry get universities to provide a “rest week”, without any classes or additional assignments. Fuad believes this could boost students’ productivity.
Muhamad Hazim, a third-year student, reminded the government to ramp up vaccination for students and lecturers, saying it could fasten the reopening of universities and resumption of physical classes.
A spokesman for the higher education ministry, when contacted, said it was conducting a study on the effectiveness of online learning to improve the learning process.
Further, the spokesman said, the ministry was collaborating with the Counselling and Career Council of Public Universities of Malaysia (Makuma) to develop a mental health module for university students to deal with stress, depression, and anxiety.