Last month, the Higher Education Minister, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, advised students of higher learning institutions (IPT) to take full advantage of online learning, and study for at least an additional degree. He claimed that this would increase their chances of gaining employment.
Is he right?
Employers find that students lack communication skills, discipline and are not fluent in either Malay, English or Chinese.
Many graduates are alleged to have a poor work ethic. They are not prepared to stay late, or work at the weekends. Some employers allege they take long periods of sick leave.
Idris may want to encourage flexibility and increase job opportunities, but two or more degrees will not make that student a better worker.
In some jobs, there is the employers’ market. A student could have a degree in nuclear physics and pure mathematics, but if there is a shortage of workers in the religious departments, will the Pengarah be open minded and accept a science or engineering graduate?
Some Felda villagers have allegedly complained that their children obtained scholarships to study aeronautical engineering, at overseas universities. When they returned home, they allege that there was a shortage of suitable jobs in this field of study.
Moreover, their children have to leave home, and move to the cities, in the hope of securing employment, in any field, let alone in aeronautics. The students lack a support system in the cities, where the cost of living is high, and they quickly get disillusioned.
Many felt that a field of study which is more relevant to the needs of their community, like agricultural sciences would have been of more use. There is a pressing need for experts in palm oleo growing, production processes, mining, fisheries and food production.
Their Felda parents live on the land and many grow oil palm. Having studied a suitable course, their children, could return and contribute by imparting knowledge, to their families and back in the community. Didn’t the scientists say that we have a shortage of skills in the agricultural sector and in food production?
The government seems to be confused. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has cut the funding for public universities in the recent budget. How does Idris expect students to find the money to pay for an additional degree?
If the student borrowed money or obtained a student loan, for his first degree, he is already saddled with debt. Does it make sense to worsen his financial burden?
Perhaps, a cynic would ask, which crony stands to benefit from laying on online courses and make money from students? It is a fact that education is a money-making exercise, not just in Malaysia, but all over the world.
We had a Minister who told the rakyat that to make ends meet, they should have two or more jobs. We now have another Minister, advising students to have two or more degrees to make themselves more marketable.
These ministers are talking rubbish. How would they like to spend a day as a single mother who goes from one job to another, and has no family time? Would they like to try a week as a student, studying for another degree and living on very little?
Surely the graduates from the best university in Malaysia, would think that they have wasted three years if they had to study for another degree, to make themselves employable. People like the Mentri Besar of Kedah, Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah, who proudly announced, last year, that all he needed to know was learnt from the University of Umno-Baru (TUUB).
Normal universities have stiff entry requirements. Students who apply, hope that their grades match the entry requirements; however, the students from TUUB would not be accepted by a normal university. They were accepted into TUUB, on the strength of the connections (cable) not, their knowledge.
The TUUB graduate benefits from their family’s political pedigree. Why would they waste time on a second degree? Their cable to the top helps them make money, with very little effort.
Source : Mariam Mokhtar@The Heat Malaysia Online