Views on future proofing of grads

Prof Mushtak presenting a token of appreciation to Idris (left).

HERIOT-Watt University Malaysia played host to the third instalment of the Higher Ministry’s University of Future Seminar series recently.

This year’s event was titled “Education 4.0: The Human Revolution and Future Proofing Our Graduates”.

It featured Prof Dr Mushtak Al-Atabi, the university’s chief executive officer and provost, as the main speaker.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh and the chairmen of various universities’ board of governors were also present.

In his speech, Prof Mushtak shared that the world is currently experiencing its fourth industrial revolution, dubbed the Human Revolution.

“While previous revolutions have created more jobs opportunities for humankind, the present Human Revolution has had the opposite effect, with more jobs being lost to automation and robotics,” he said. This, along with the world population’s increasing life expectancy, has led to an expanding pool of human resources battling it out in a shrinking job market.

“In fact, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 30% of jobs in the United Kingdom could be replaced by automation by the 2030s, with the figures projected to be as high as 38% in the United States,” he said.

Subsequently, depression, anxiety and suicide are on the rise globally, while concurrently, empathy and emotional intelligence rates among the youth are declining.

“This is where Relationship Management and Self Management need to play a key role,” he added.

Prof Mushtak went on to cite a workshop held at a recent Youth Transformation Programme (YTP) by Heriot-Watt University Malaysia as an example of rewiring the brain to learn Self Management. “Students were required to pay RM1 each time they uttered the word ‘problem’ and taught to turn it into an opportunity,” he explained.

The participants had concurred that the YTP helped to transform their mindsets, with many of them deciding to enrol at Heriot-Watt University Malaysia after that.

Among them is Komalah Sevamuthu Raja, who is currently pursuing the university’s Foundation in Business programme.

“The YTP helped me to get a better perspective on life. I learnt that empathy is important in nurturing more positive relationships and environment,” she said.

Her course mate, Sophia Adelina Mohd Faisal, who hopes to earn a degree in Psychology, said: “The most important lesson I learnt from the YTP is that we can be our own best friend.”

“Learning about yourself is a continuous process; the more you grow, the more you can learn about your strengths and weaknesses – and the more you can improve,” she added.

Prof Mushtak then went on to emphasise the importance of prioritising happiness.

“In the United Arab Emirates, there’s even a Minister for Happiness that addresses a national agenda to increase happiness,” he said.

He posed a question: “Should the University of the Future, therefore, take on the role of developing happy, resilient and emotionally intelligent graduates?”

According to Prof Mushtak, this is a necessary step in grooming graduates who are to be professionally relevant and future-proof.

“Among others, the University of the Future should make it its agenda to develop a Happiness Index, with Emotional Intelligence and Happiness being taught under Matapelajaran Umum; align Emotional Intelligence to the Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average (ICGPA) and ensure that its staff members have similar opportunities to develop their emotional intelligence and happiness,” he elaborated.

Idris thanked the speakers and those in attendance.

He also delivered the closing remarks, saying that “Humanising the Fourth Industrial Revolution is one of the key challenges that will face our education system.”

“Today’s seminar acts as a powerful reminder of the importance emotional and physiological wellbeing for all our students,” he added.

The minister expressed his confidence that this seminar as well as subsequent seminars will place Malaysian higher education on a strong footing in facing the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Source: The Star Online


Malaysian duo at global science meet

Yuharajan Baskaran will be representing Malaysia at the 59th London International Youth Science Forum on July 26 2017.

THEY have harboured a love for science since young and now, they’re about to represent the country at the 59th London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF).

Yuharajan Baskaran, 20, (pic) said he is excited to represent his country in the forum.

“I will be able to learn about different cultures from around the world. I also hope to broaden my scientific understanding and knowledge as well as to develop international friendships,” added the Sitiawan, Perak, native.

A high achiever, Yuharajan is currently pursuing his degree in Petroleum Engineering at Universiti Teknologi Petronas. He added that his parents and two siblings are just as excited about his achievement.

“They also believe that this forum could be a stepping stone for me to reach greater heights in the future,” he said.

Inderjit Kaur, was chosen by Pusat Permata Pintar Negara to represent the country. She will present her research paper titled “Preliminary Assessment of Parents Awareness on Nutrition Intake among Children with Autism in Malaysia”, at the forum.

“I am looking forward to attending the forum and gaining insights on sciencific issues currently being researched by some of the world’s leading scientists,” she said.

The Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry student wants to be a researcher so that she can “improve the lives of humankind”. Both participants left for London last week.

The forum attracts 500 of the world’s leading young scientists, aged between 16 and 21 years from more than 70 participating countries. They include top prize science competition winners from the European Union, China, Singapore, Australia, India and Malta. – By REBECCA RAJAENDRAM
Source: The Star Online

Do not ‘hide’ bullying cases, schools warned

Kamalanathan shares a light moment with SMK Taman Bunga Raya (1), students after launching the campaign.Looking on is MIC Putera chief, M. Uvaraja (right).

BULLYING incidents in schools should not be swept under the carpet.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan warned that action would be taken against school officials, if they failed to report such cases, in their interest to protect the school’s image.

“They will be in trouble. The ministry will not hesitate to take action as there are guidelines on behaviour and conduct for civil servants and that includes those in the school administration,” he said after launching an anti-bully campaign in SMK Taman Bunga Raya (1), Bukit Beruntung, Rawang, Selangor on Tuesday.

The campaign which involved all secondary schools in the Hulu Selangor district, was organised by Putera MIC.

Kamalanathan said the percentage of students who committed bullying-related offences from 2012 to 2016 had dropped from 0.08% to 0.06%, while as of June this year, the numbers were at 0.02%.

He said the ministry’s objective was to educate, prevent and eradicate bullying which was a social ill in schools. There are guidelines and they must be strictly adhered to at all times, he reiterated.

When contacted, Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said some schools protect bullies as they are mostly older students.

“It also doesn’t reflect well on the principal’s key performance indicators (KPI), if senior students have bad records.

“This is especially so in premier schools with good students, so teachers would not want to show records of any student dropping out,” she added.

Noor Azimah said such practices are done at the expense of the victim.

“A victim remains a victim, and more often than not, schools wait for them to voluntarily transfer out, or they endure (the pain and harassment) until the seniors leave the school.

“There should be zero tolerance towards bullying. It is unfortunate,” she said.

Noor Azimah said that many bullying cases go unreported as victims were aware of the lack of intervention from school administrators. She hoped that schools will take note of the deputy minister’s statement and act accordingly.

National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan Huat Hock said the union does not condone any bullying acts and if they are kept under wraps, and away from the authorities.However, he stressed that teachers are not enforcers.

“The line between bullying and other criminal activities, as well as students merely ‘monkeying’ around, is a thin one.

“Some students don’t always tell the truth and if their cases are brought up, what will happen to their future?

“Sometimes, students make mistakes and we must give them a chance to change,” he said.

Tan added, if there are repeated offences and offenders, reports should be lodged. They should also be investigated thoroughly. However he questioned if it was necessary to do so in one-off instances.

National Union of Heads of Schools (Selangor branch) chairman Hor Jun Hin said no school should hide cases in which students are bullied and victimised. Instead, they should find a way to solve the problem.

At the event, each secondary school in the district received a brief guidebook along with a complaint box.

Source: The Star Online


Rectify teaching flaws to salvage English

THE declining standard of English in Malaysia is gaining attention especially since the authorities are mulling over making English a compulsory pass in SPM.

Some feel it’s time to be firm on the matter, while others are more concerned about the number of students who will be made to leave school without a certificate. This debate has consumed a fair amount of time, energy and expertise.

Unfortunately it often hits deadlock and left to hibernate without an amicable solution.

By now one should be aware of the fact that we DO have some serious flaws in our system which needs to be rectified.

 Teachers’ unpreparedness is identified as one of the main reasons for the delay in implementing some of the intended policies.

Now with the root cause being identified, what can we do?

If a systematic selection process, one without partiality, was executed and only the deserving candidates were granted the chance to be in the profession, we will not be grappling with this issue now.

I do appreciate the attempts taken by the Education Ministry to upgrade the proficiency level of the teachers by constantly offering various courses and making some courses compulsory. But how have these courses helped in solving the issue at hand? Do we have data to support the claim of progress made or objectives achieved?

If so, how is it reflected in their teaching and the results obtained? How is their progress monitored and by whom?

Are the ones monitoring and assessing the progress competent and credible enough? What if a teacher failed to reach the required level despite numerous attempts? And how about those who refuse to budge from their comfort zone and are adamant in accepting any forms of assistance?

Let’s leave the matter to the experts and start focusing on the students who deserve more attention.

Before taking the big leap (making English a compulsory pass subject), let’s rectify the damage done by changing the perception towards the language and the manner it is taught.

Arresting the issue of the declining standard of English, has to begin by creating interest among the learners. Interest has to be created before aspects of the importance of language are brought in.

Once the interest towards the language is created, learning the language will be effortless. I have witnessed students with zero exposure to the language outside class, succeeding in conversing in impeccable English!

Often, teachers stand behind these students with their power in initiating the first spark. Such is a teacher’s influence! The interest created then becomes the fundamental factor, which pushes the students forward.

As a matter of fact, interest should be an inherent factor instilled on the first day the language is introduced to a child.

Creativity of a teacher plays a significant role here. Games and activities, which involve the participation and involvement of students will surely draw attention of the students.

For those with English being a foreign language, even reciting simple rhymes and poems in English gives such pride and confidence. It’s an undeniable fact that the ability to converse in English gives great confidence to students.

Repetition is the mother of all learning, we are told. If that was to be practised, we wouldn’t have students conversing with mangled sentences in later years. If a child fails to comprehend the fundamental rules of sentence structure by the time he completes six years of primary education, if he failed to master the basic list of vocabulary to engage in a decent conversation, something is seriously flawed in our system.

The first six years spent in a primary school is crucial to lay the foundation and the foundation is basically formed with generating interest towards the language. The greater the interest, the stronger the foundation becomes.

It’s high time to stop pondering and start plunging into this issue and salvage it from further deterioration.
Source: The Star Online


How can you tell if your child has depression?

Depression in children appears to start as early as age 11, according to a new study published in the journal of Translational Psychiatry.

How can parents tell if a child that young is depressed?

“The child may not say, ‘I’m sad’,” says Dr Victor Fornari, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in New York, in the US.

Depression often begins in children as high anxiety, Dr Fornari says.

They may refuse to go to school or may worry about a parent dying. They may have headaches, stomach aches or pretend to be sick. They may be afraid to fail or be rejected.

They may not feel comfortable doing things they once felt comfortable doing.

“With 11- or 12-year-olds, usually you look for a change in functioning,” Dr Fornari says. It could be a change in sleep habits or appetite, or a loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed.

“Irritability can be a hallmark of depression,” he says. “Everything annoys them. They fight with the parents. They fight with siblings.”

Parents think it’s a discipline issue, but at age 11, kids aren’t usually so rebellious, Dr Fornari says. “They’re having a problem; they’re not being bad,” he says.

Children may have negative thoughts about themselves or their bodies. They may be extremely sensitive to being teased. “When people are feeling bad, comments can really feel like harpoons,” Dr Fornari says.

If parents suspect depression, they should contact a paediatrician or family doctor for an evaluation.

Talking to the child’s teachers can also help, because they may also notice changes in behaviour or demeanour.

A child can be referred to a mental health professional for cognitive behavioural therapy or medication if necessary. – Tribune News Service

You can find a local directory of counselling services on the Malaysian Mental Health Association website

Source: The Star Online


Study awards to nurture future bankers

The scholars are all smiles as they hold up their awards together with Tengku Zafrul and CIMB Group group chief people officer Datuk Hamidah Naziadin (fifth and sixth from left) after the ceremony.

SEVENTEEN outstanding students from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand have been awarded the CIMB Asean Scholarship to further their studies in prestigious universities worldwide including University of Oxford; London School of Economics and Political Science; New York University; University of Melbourne; University of California, Berkeley; and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

The second batch of scholars were presented their scholarships by CIMB Group group chief executive Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz at a ceremony held in Kuala Lumpur recently.

The first edition of the CIMB Asean Scholarship were awarded to 16 students last year.This year’s students were selected from a total of 5,477 applicants from Asean countries including Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and Cambodia.

Candidates had to go through a rigorous selection process comprising an online assessment, panel interviews and a two-day bootcamp.

“The CIMB Asean Scholarship underscores CIMB’s commitment to nurture talent as part of our effort to support Asean’s future development,” said Tengku Zafrul Aziz.

“This is the scholar’s’ first step towards building a career with CIMB, and to eventually contribute towards realising Asean’s true potential as a regional economic powerhouse. Education is a gift that keeps on giving, and we believe that CIMB’s investment in education will yield valuable dividends for CIMB and for Asean,” he added.

The CIMB Asean Scholarship offers not only education expenses, but also a secure future career upon graduation, under CIMB’s The Complete Banker Programme.

The Complete Banker is a two-year management training programme offering comprehensive perspective of the banking group from consumer banking, investment banking to asset management and the opportunity to build a strong foundation to be a high-performing top-class banker with a regional mindset.

The scholarship also features a unique buddy and mentor programme, supported by the programme’s alumni and key senior management staff, , to guide the students and expose them to CIMB’s workings and culture fromthe start.

Robert Ang, the father of one of the scholarship recipients said the buddy and mentor system would ensure his son Adrian Ang Yu Wei received the necessary guidance and support throughout his scholarship tenure.

Adrian will be pursuing a degree in Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Britain.

The father of another recipient Syed Hussain Syed Junid agreed that the programme was a valuable part of the scholarship.

He added that his son Syed Nazeem Syed Hussain would be able to apply what he learnt once he started working.

In line with the bank’s “Forward” brand promise, the CIMB Asean Scholarship is open to various disciplines, which for this year include economics, accounting and finance, actuarial science, law, civil engineering, psychology and political science.

Source: The Star Online


A milestone for varsity and grads

The graduates posing with Downes and Bell (eighth and ninth from left) after the ceremony.

IT was a proud moment for graduates who received their scrolls at the recent inaugural graduation ceremony held at the University of Reading Malaysia (UoRM) in Educity, Johor.

A total of 11 students were awarded the Bachelor of Science in Finance and Business Management at Henley Business School Malaysia after completing the three-year programme at the UoRM campus, while the rest, all Malaysians, completed undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University’s campus in the United Kingdom (UK).

“I am extremely proud to be a part of UoRM and hope the varsity will maintain its track record of excellence and enable its students to contribute to society for generations to come,” said 22-year-old Ooi Dai Jing.

She was presented with the Educity Award for Outstanding Achievement, courtesy of Educity@Iskandar, for the best overall results from the cohort of Finance of Business Management at the event.

“The trading simulation sessions were especially compelling and have given me invaluable exposure to financial markets,” she said.

Ooi who studied at the university’s UK Campus in her second year, returned to complete her final year at UoRM.

She shared that her overseas experience had moulded her to be more mature and independent. It also gave her a better perspective of the world.

Graduate Yovindran Kanezin, who delivered a speech on behalf of his peers, expressed his gratitude to the lecturers for encouraging students to think critically.

They instilled in the students the need to be motivated and confident.

“Many of the lecturers have had industry experience prior to teaching, so they were able to give us an insight into the workings of the business world. That helped us face various challenges in the working environment,” he said.

The 22-year-old, who has already secured a job as a proprietary trader in Kuala Lumpur, said that it was the university’s ranking besides the Henley Business School holding triple-accredited status from leading accrediting bodies like the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in business and accounting, and the Association of MBAs (AMBA) in the UK, Europe and the United States that attracted him to the institution.

“Its reputation and state-of-the-art facilities especially its Dealing Room, where live trading simulation sessions are carried out instantly attracted me to study at the university.”

“It is great to have a UoRM degree in my resume as it instantly gives me an edge when applying for jobs, since its is part of a globally renowned business school,” said Yovindran, adding that he had a better understanding of the finance and business sector.

He also said that he gained invaluable experience during his internship programme with Perdana Fellows, where he served as an executive intern to Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai. Yovindran was mainly involved in the aviation and logistics sector.

During the event, Iskandar Regional Authority Development chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim was also conferred an Honorary Doctor of Laws.

The ceremony was presided by the University of Reading vice-chancellor Sir David Bell, who said that it was a significant day for UoRM and Henley Business School Malaysia, as they celebrated the inaugural cohort of graduates at Reading’s first multi-discipline overseas campus.

He said that 14% of its total student population received their education from countries across the world, away from the main campus in the UK.

“Malaysia forms a very important part of that, and we also have a Henley Business School campus in South Africa and major teaching partnerships in China.

“I believe that the global reach is good for every student in our university whether they are from the UK or elsewhere because there are benefits from the diversity of backgrounds, nationalities, cultures and interests.

“Whoever you are, whether you are being brought up in UK or Malaysia, your life will be influenced by things that are happening around the world. The more international we can make our education, the better it is for our students,” said Bell.

UoRM provost Prof Tony Downes also congratulated the graduates, adding that the university here had reached a milestone by awarding degrees to its first cohort.

“From the outset, the university has been committed to delivering first-class teaching with the aim of giving our students the experience, knowledge and skills to excel. We have shaped and produced a fine group of graduates who are well-equipped for successful and rewarding careers,” he added.
Source: The Star Online