"I believe in a country where hard work and merit, not privilege or background, determines success."
Tony Blair 2005

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

UM : The reality

The recent 'dismissal' of Dr Rafiah as Vice Chancellor of Univerity Malaya has resulted in a stabbing reply from this no-nonsense academician in malaysiakini.com. Her accusation of political interference in university administration is surely to unnerve many in the ruling UMNO party. Perhaps it was her strict administrative style that had led to her 'dismissal' having stepped on one too many tails. Her soon to be released book is bound to tell all on the on goings behind the curtain of Malaysia's oldest university.

Many university policies are questionable to say the least.

I remain a strong opponent of the Skim Latihan Akademik untuk Bumiputera or in short, SLAB programme. The intentions are noble, however, the selection process is not transparent and littered with cronyism. As a result, many who are accepted into specialist training programmes are totally inexperienced with undesirable working attitudes. Upon graduation, these individuals are expected to teach medical students about medicine when life for many of these future specialists were spent in a cocoon, oblivious to the Malaysian medical system and the humility of working in under priviledged areas.

Four years of Masters training at a university environment will not equip these individuals with the skills to steer medical students in the right direction. These trainee lecturers should be given stints in public hospitals under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and to experience the dire situations that arises daily in the practice of community medicine.

Writing this article itself puts me in a unfavorable light and might jeopardise future attempts at job appointments at this university. However, I feel that the university should have a paradigm shift in the creation of future policies if it is to reclaim its position as the premier university in Malaysia. Accepting weaknesses is paramount to UM's future survival. Denying that the rot is not as serious as claimed is foolish.

Choosing the right candidates for the job is important. Merely appointing individuals to make up the numbers will be unrewarding and dilutes quality, hastening its end.


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