theSun’s coverage on USIM

No fixing of marks in USIM, says ministry

by Tan Yi Liang

newsdesk@thesundaily.com

PETALING JAYA: An investigation into allegations

of marks-fixing at Universiti Sains Islam

Malaysia (USIM) by former law lecturer Yasmin

Norhazleena Bahari Md Noor found no proof of

her claims, said the Higher Education Ministry.

In a statement issued yesterday to refute

Yasmin’s claims, the ministry’s director-general,

Radin Umar Radin Sohadi, said: “USIM

has proved there was no marks-fixing in its

investigations, and the allegations of such a

practice are wholly untrue”.

“The statement by the minister of higher

education (on June 25) that marks-fixing is

wholly unacceptable is true,” it said.

It pointed out that a thorough examination

was conducted by the ministry after receiving

Yasmin’s complaints in June last year.

“After receiving the first complaint on June

10, 2008, the Ministry of Higher Education

began an investigation into the matter, evaluating

the manner in which exam scripts were

evaluated and whether there was injustice to

the complainant,” it said.

The Public Complaints Bureau had also

investigated the matter, and decided no further

action was required, it said.

The statement said USIM has clear internal

rules and procedures in the marking of exam

scripts and grading students.

“The USIM system of assessing and marking

exams has clear policies and procedures. Every

exam decision is discussed and examined at

the undergraduate examiners committee

meeting at faculty level, before being brought

to the university senate for validation or re-examination

if there is any doubt to its fairness,”

it said.

The ministry also said USIM had received

MS ISO 9001:2000 accreditation from Sirim,

which proves USIM has clear and transparent

systems for its examinations,” it said.

USIM’s public relations office said the matter

had been settled and it was “no longer an

issue”.

Ex-lecturer seeks Najib’s help over exam marks incident

 

By Tan Yi Liang

 

newsdesk@thesundaily.com

 

PETALING JAYA: A former Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia

(USIM) lecturer has taken her fight against her former

employer to the highest level by sending an e-mail to

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday.

“I was being victimised at USIM because I refused to

manipulate marks in order to pass undergraduates who

failed my courses,” Yasmin Norhazleena Bahari Md Noor

said in her letter to Najib.

Yasmin, who was a lecturer in USIM’s Law faculty,

said in her letter she had written to the Ministry of Higher

Education to complain “but had received only silence for

eight months”.

“I reported to the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE)

in June 2008 about my victimisation. The continuous victimisation

at USIM and MOHE’s silence to my complaint

forced me to resign in November 2008. The MOHE only

replied to my complaint in February 2009 (after eight

months), in USIM’s favour,” Yasmin, who is seeking a

meeting with Najib, said.

“I have been jobless for the past eight months, against

my will. I have been victimised by USIM and the MOHE.

Therefore, I seek Datuk Seri’s assistance so that I could

be reinstated as I was victimised because I refused to

manipulate marks.”

Contacted by theSun, Yasmin said she had sent the

e-mail through a feedback option on the prime minister’s

website after calling his offi ce earlier.

“I called this morning and was told by an offi cer who

handles complaints to write in to the prime minister’s

office (website) and I left my feedback there,” she said.

 

No sir, marks-fixing ‘is acceptable’

by Tan Yi Liang

newsdesk@thesundaily.com

PETALING JAYA: A former

Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia

(Usim) law lecturer says Higher

Education Minister Datuk Seri

Khaled Nordin has contradicted

his ministry’s stand on

“marks-fixing”.

“He says marks-fixing by

universities is unacceptable

and should be investigated. I

have a letter from the ministry

saying otherwise,” said Yasmin

Noor, who had alleged that she

was victimised and pressured

to quit after refusing to pass

students who had failed her

course.

On Thursday, at the opening

of the annual National Higher

Education Conference, Khaled

said: “I think any attempt to

fix marks is unacceptable. We

cannot accept such things

because it is against professionalism.

“We hope, if there is any

complaint over such matters,

an investigation will be

conducted by the relevant

university.”

Yasmin said: “I complained

to the ministry after I was victimised

in June 2008 but the

ministry only gave its reply in

February 2009.

“The ministry had responded

in favour of Usim,

despite me clearly detailing

the harassment in Usim.

“I had complained that a

senior shouted at me, accusing

me of being a failure and

that I should leave as I am not

suitable to teach in Usim.”

Yasmin, who was with

USIM’s law faculty, said she

only received a letter from the

ministry in February which upheld

the university’s decision

on altering and giving passing

grades to her failed students.

The letter states: “The Usim

Senate acted correctly in its

capacity as the highest authority

in academic affairs and has

the right to request that a student’s

marks be reassessed.

There was no wrongdoing on

the part of USIM.”

“I, therefore, challenge

the minister’s statement and

stand on marks-fixing being

unacceptable. I also never

got to meet the person whom

I complained to in the first

place, Department of Higher

Education director-general

Datuk Radin Umar, what more

the minister.

“I was also not notified that

the matter was being investigated

prior to my resignation

on Dec 18, 2008.

“Why did they not tell me

about this before I resigned,

otherwise I would not have

quit. Why didn’t they tell me

about the letter until February

2009,” she asked.

 

Varsities must probe ‘marks fixing’ claims

by Tan Yi Liang

newsdesk@thesundaily.com

KUALA LUMPUR: “Marks fixing” by universities is unacceptable and should be

investigated by the respective universities, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled

Nordin said.

 

“I think any attempt to fix marks is totally unacceptable. We cannot accept such things

because it is against professionalism. We hope, if there is any complaint over such matters, an investigation will

be conducted by the relevant university,” he said yesterday.

 

He said autonomy is important for the universities.“This is because one aspect of our efforts to bring excellence

to our universities is to give them autonomy, and one matter in which they can have full autonomy is in academic matters.

It is not for the government to check and interfere, because at the end of the day it will be linked to their reputation.

 

“We believe that all universities will act to ensure that this does not happen,” he told reporters after opening the annual

National Higher Education Conference.

 

On the matter of a Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) lecturer who was allegedly forced to resign after refusing

to pass students who had failed her course, he said it is not the role of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency to police universities for such incidents.

 

“The role of MQA is to ensure the quality of the courses offered. It does not cover students who sit for exams.”

 

Such issues are for the universities to handle themselves, he said.“If there is any plagiarism or cheating or poor standards, it is

for each university (to handle) because at the end of the day it will affect their reputation.” He said investigations into

the USIM issue have been completed and it is up to the parties involved to act on them. “As far as the ministry is concerned, we want to see that such a thing does not recur, and if it does, the matter must be investigated,” he said.

 

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.

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