Probe into lecturer’s ‘sympathy marks’ case theSun TUESDAY APRIL 21 2009

Probe into lecturer’s ‘sympathy marks’ case

By Tan Yi Liang
newsdesk@thesundaily.com

PETALING JAYA:

The Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) has begun a probe into a former public university lecturer’s allegations that she was forced to resign for refusing to give “sympathy marks” to underperforming students.

“The Complaints and Enforcement Unit is heading the investigation. We are looking into this because this is about quality,” said MQA spokesman Muhammad Muammar Gaddafi.

Muhammad, who spoke to theSun yesterday, said currently “we are checking the validity of the claims which were published in the Malay language daily Kosmo! last week”.

“We do not know if the accusation is valid or not. We have to see what Kosmo! reported, and we do not know who the teacher is,” said Muhammad, who declined to comment further on the probe.

“It is still too early to make any comment,” he said.

The lecturer, who spoke anonymously on April 15, told the paper that she had resigned from Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (Usim) as she was unable to tolerate the pressure to give out “sympathy marks” to students who had failed an examination set and marked by her.

In that examination, only four out of a class of 157 passed, prompting the university to send her a letter through the faculty dean calling for an explanation for the high failure rate.

She was then criticised heavily by her superiors who allegedly pressured her into adding marks based on the attendance of students.

She refused as she felt it was the responsibility of the students to turn up for classes.

“How am I to give them more marks if they are undeserving. I have given them all the marks I can even though the students do not deserve them,” said the lecturer, who had been teaching in Usim’s law faculty since 2007.

However, her allegations were dismissed by Usim vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Abdul Shukor Husin who said that the university had a clear procedure for marking test papers and that Usim had been ISO 9001:2000 accredited since 2004.

“We obtained our ISO 9001:2000 accreditation on Nov 11, 2004, and we were re- accredited on Jan 8 last year by the Standards and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (Sirim). This proves that we have clear and transparent procedures in place,” said Abdul Shukor in a press conference on Sunday.

He said examination results were first scrutinised in a meeting of the faculty’s undergraduate exams committee before being validated by the University Senate.

“We also have an external panel that oversees the academic and examination system,” he said.

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