The Star Online > Education
Sunday February 1, 2009
BY SARAH CHEW
ACADEMIC standards and the quality of graduates may decline if more universities are set up in a short span of time.
Royal Prof Ungku Aziz expressed his concern over the issue during the launch of the book The University at Pantai Valley, Glimpses of the Past.
The launch coincided with the former Universiti Malaya (UM) vice-chancellor’s 87th birthday and a cake-cutting was held to commemorate the occasion at the university’s campus in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
“Universiti Malaya, and to some extent Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, went through an organic growth where they started from nothing and gradually became bigger bit by bit.
“But now, we are starting to produce ekiben daigaku (train-station lunchbox) universities where they offer a little bit of everything like a Japanese bento meal, and they all look the same,” he said.
Prof Ungku Aziz warned that if this was left unchecked, Malaysia could face the same problem as Japan where the many universities and colleges set up to provide educational opportunities produced low-quality graduates instead.
Prof Ungku Aziz also said that institutions should have an acceptable ratio of academics to students for interaction to be possible.
“These days, lecturers don’t even see the students individually, what will the education system be like in the future?,” he asked?
The University at Pantai Valley, Glimpses of the Past looks at UM in the decade of the 1960s when some of the best scholars from many parts of the world taught at the university.
Six distinguished UM alumni contributed to the book, namely Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Hamid, Prof Emeritus Dr Charles S Hutchison, Prof Emeritus Dr KT Joseph, Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim, Prof Lim Chee Seng and Prof Dr Mohd Fauzi Yaacob.