Sunday, November 11, 2012


By Mansor bin Puteh

I would like Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UiTM) in Shahalam where I graduated from to list the names of their graduates who had gone to study at any of the eight Ivy League universities in America – Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown and UPenn, other than at Oxford or Cambridge Universities in the United Kingdom.

And also the ministry of higher education to do the same and list the names of those who had gone to these ten universities.

The reason why I am proposing this is to see how far do UiTM and the ministry of higher education admire and are proud of them.

And for that matter, it would also be good for the education section of the New Sunday Times to do the same.

Where is the Education Hall of Fame? We have halls of fame in sports, but not in education.

Won’t it be good for UiTM and the ministry of higher education to see who were the first Malaysians to have gone to any of the ten universities, and write about them?

It is also to see where these people are and if they have been given the right jobs to perform and what ideas have they given to the government for implementation.

If this cannot be done, then asking Malaysian students to study at those universities and saying that they want to encourage them to do so, is just empty talk.

Getting education at the Ivy League and Oxbridge universities may not be good for many Malaysians after all.

Do stupid people go to study at the Ivy League and Oxbridge universities in America and the United Kingdom? I think so. Here’s why.

No wonder, the Malaysian film industry is still in the doldrums, as much as Malaysian television and the other branches of the arts which follow or develop in the footsteps of the development of the film and television industries, whose development could not happen entirely on their own steam.

Maybe if I had gone to study film in any third university in America, I might be better received, as I may not have the real vision to improve the film industry of the country, and can only concentrate on getting my career off the ground.

So no wonder, most of those who are successful in the film and television industries in Malaysia are those who are not qualified in film or television; they who copy entirely what they see coming out of Hollywood and the gossip mills.

So no wonder, too, the New Malaysian Cinema cannot be created. At the most, it is just a parasite of Old Hollywood.

The government and its related agencies do not care who had studied where and why. They are only happy to say they want to see more Malaysians especially the Melayu going to such universities to study.

And when Safiah, the Pakistani-Melayu student in England managed to get enrolment into Oxford University, everybody in Malaysia felt elated considering how she at the tender age of thirteen could study there.

But none of the Melayu leaders knew what to do with her. They did not know where to put her, if they could offer her a post after her graduation.

There is really no place for such a person like Safiah in Malaysia. I cannot see her playing any role in the country.

She was only good for some leaders to feel proud of her academic achievements, until she fell to the wayside and got herself involved in some anti-social activities upon quitting Oxford.

Malaysia has a small and exclusive group of those who had studied at any of the eight Ivy League and Cambridge and Oxbridge universities. But none of them has excelled.

Those who do are those, who unfortunately, were sent to study there not because they wanted to pursue their education, but because it was to allow them to get a better post later which comes with a better pay.

And those who went to those universities on their parents’ financial account must know that they can never find employment in Malaysia which commensurates with their level of their education.

And if they studied there on a student loan, they too, would face similar problems, and worse, they are not able to repay their loans.

Who in the right mind would want to borrow RM150,000 to pay for tuition and other expenses a year studying at any of the ten universities, so that the total may be about RM1 million by the time they get their undergraduate and graduate degrees?

Compare this to the students who got student loans from PTPTN or other agencies, who only need to borrow at the most up to RM50,000 or less, can be expected to pay their loans back in a few years, or earlier.

The problem is that in Malaysia, Ivy Leaguers and Oxbridge graduates are treated similarly like the graduates of the other universities including the third rate ones.

So they can expect to get the same posts or jobs which give the same pay, with no exception or priority given to them to assume posts which are more superior that were given to those who have degrees from those third rate universities.

In fact, if the government is truly interested to see more Malaysians studying at any of the Ivy League and Oxbridge universities, then they should show the way, by encouraging senior government officials to pursue their graduate education at any of the ten universities and the others who are not in these groups, as they will be doing the public a greater favor by having such education.

If this does not happen, then surely, seniority will supersede meritocracy, when a person who stays on the job, will rise and rise until he assumes the topmost post in the respective ministries and agencies.

And there is also no place for brilliance in such establishment as those who studied at those prestigious universities will not be absorbed into the ministries or agencies on account of his or her academic qualification as he or she does not have the other necessary qualification, which is repetitive experience and human contact and communications with the senior officials of the ministries and agencies.

In the end, if there are those who have degrees from Ivy League and Oxbridge universities, they will be given jobs which are menial and whose authority is severely limited.

They will end up not doing much as decisions are often and always made by using other means.

In fact, all the vice chancellors and deans of all the public universities in Malaysia must be people with such academic backgrounds as they can be forced to gain admittance into any of the universities to allow them to prove that they are qualified.

There is no need for them to go to any university to conduct any research for the doctorate theses which are not of any use to the government and country, other than to themselves to gain promotions at their respective universities.

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