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Monday, May 16, 2011

University must listen more to academic staff

Ahli akademik pun ada hati dan perasaan.


WORKING in a public university for the last five years has given me some insight into why our universities, especially those classified as research universities, are still far from achieving world class status.

Most of the time, we are only talking rhetorically of transforming the landscape of higher education but many of these ideas are still not being translated into practice.

Good academic staff, especially in the professional field such as medicine and pharmacy, are leaving public institutions to either join private institutions locally or moving abroad in large numbers.

This is mainly due to frustration with the bureaucracy and ineffective “listening skills” of university authorities to cater to their needs in teaching, research and practice.

Furthermore, the politics in which only certain individuals and groups make decisions with the top-down approach also worsens the relationship between existing staff and top officials.

Issues relating to autonomy and additional staffing needs are not addressed properly and the main reason given by the human resource department is lack of funds.

In my recent visit to a developing country, I was amazed that their university even provided supporting staff for each head of department in the faculty.

It is very unfortunate that at the university that I am currently working as a head of department, I have to handle all the issues from cleanliness of the toilets to building supervision.

Many of the schools or faculties are understaffed due to the intake of new staff still been governed by the Public Service Department (PSD).

In addition, incentives such as salary and promotion for performing young academics are still not being looked into in an objective way.

We talk about the importance of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at the university but the incentives given by the university to performing schools or centres are not equally allocated to the performing staff and many high flyers or performers are often neglected or not given the allocation given to further develop their skills particularly in research.

I hope the Higher Education Ministry and university officials can find a solution to this.

I would also call the university’s top officials to be more responsive and proactive to the needs of staff.
Besides, the time has come for the government to review the salary revision of performing academics and this should not only be based on seniority as at present there are many young academics who outshine their senior counterparts due to their hard work and perseverance.


p/s: What university in Penang?


devourment of souls said...

ingatkan depa best belaka berbanding IPTS.. mmmmmm. bukan ka apex university ada autonomy?



Standard IPTA yang dikatakan ini masih pada tahap yang cemerlang. Saya tak mahu kaitkan atau bandingkan dengan mana-mana IPTS.Bukan tugas saya.

Cuma dimana-mana pun mesti ada permainan politik dalaman. Itu yang bermula masalah.

Pada saya, sebagai bekas pelajar IPTA yang dikatakan ini(mana lagi IPTA paling sinonim dengan Penang?), sikap superior dan tak mahu beralah yang buat jadi reput dalam.

Status APEX bukan kebanggaan tapi tanggungjawab. Malangnya tak semua daripada pengurusan atas sampai ke bawah faham.

Pandangan dan pemerhatian saya.