Sunday, July 3, 2016

What my friend said in NST recently.

Experienced professors needed to achieve better rankings 1 JULY 2016 @ 11:01 AM Facebook 1 Twitter Share 1 I REFER to the letter “A focus on students boosts world rankings” (NST, June 29). Although doing so can help, one cannot focus only on students to achieve better rankings. Passionate and dedicated students can achieve good grades in universities, and subsequently, these students will be successful in their future endeavours. However, students must also be exposed to a wide range of reading materials, be competent in English and be taught or supervised by a senior professor who is a world authority on a subject. Such eminent professors are an asset to the nation. We should have more of such professors, who have written books, have had their articles published in journals and have supervised more than 50 graduate students, among others. They should be appreciated not only by academic communities, but also by learned society. Perhaps, the top universities in the world have high rankings mainly due to new discoveries by their professors. Additionally, all nations, too, depend on new ideas forwarded by professors. For example, China has poured in billions of dollars to invite top senior professors from all over the world to be attached to its universities, paying them handsome salaries. Perhaps, to be included in the list of the world’s top universities, a lot of financial “help” is required. No wonder Chinese universities are approaching top-class status. However, it is unfortunate that in Malaysia, due to economic constraints, most of the country’s well-known professors are being laid off. Due to this, most faculties in local universities are without “champions”. This leaves them without quality research and teaching. For example, the practice of graduate students’ theses being evaluated by eminent academicians is lacking. Therefore, the standard is being compromised. In the long run, most of our students are not marketable. MASHHOR MANSOR,   professor, School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang

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