Media Statement by Dr. Ko Chung Sen, MP of Kampar on 3rd, December, 2013
It was disheartening to hear from a concerned academic that many highly qualified academicians are leaving the critical courses in an Apex University because of the slow process in the promotional exercise.
The courses concerned are medicine, dentistry and pharmacy. Apparently, there had not been any promotional exercise in the university concerned for the three years until May this year. Even then, now there is a huge backlog of qualified applicants to be promoted but they have no external evaluator to assess the candidates. Many hardworking and well qualified staffs were very frustrated and this had led to an exodus from the university concerned to the other universities or the private sectors. This had become so critical that the ratio of lecturers to students is now in danger of not fulfilling the requirements for accreditation.
How can an Apex University not review and assess the performance of its academic staff for promotion at least annually? This is performed in the other universities and government departments as well as the big companies in the private sector. The TalentCorp had spent RM65million in the last three years trying to attract Malaysian talents to return. However, we also need to provide good opportunities in the universities for them to advance in their academic careers. The Apex University status was awarded in 2008 when it was ranked at number 307 in the Times Higher Education – QS World University Rankings. It was set the target to be in the top 200 by 2013, and top 100 by 2020. However, it has dropped to number 355 this year. Hundreds of millions of additional funding with the apex status was supposed to transform it to a top ranked university as envisaged by the Ministry of Higher Education then. Unfortunately, it appeared that the apex university had problems retaining the best of the talents it has, let alone attracting them. I hereby urge the Ministry of Education to review and to expedite the promotional procedures in the apex university concerned.
Promotion Exercise at ‘Apex’ Public University is Too Slow
At present many university have their own criteria in awarding promotion to their academic staff. But what I see, the promotion exercise is too bureaucratic and slow in a well known public university. My worry is for those academics in critical courses such as medicines, pharmacy and dentistry as who are leaving public universities services due to this very slow process. It also seems very unfair for those senior academics who will be retiring as their application is not been processed in time. Just imagine an academic with excellent track record and full fill all the requirements to be a given a promotion been delayed in getting the promotion due to bureaucratic process of the human resource unit of the university . In this only so called ‘Apex’ university that I know of, a friend of mine told me that he had sent his application last May and no action had been taken by the university human resource to process the application as yet. The main reason given to him the delay occurs due to a lot of back log applications as they did not open the call for promotion for the last three years. I think this does not make sense as good academics should be promoted accordingly if they fulfill all the required criteria and the process need to be straight forward without any politics or unnecessary reasons. Another reason normally given by the promotion unit is that the external evaluator took time to respond. Again this does not make sense as they have pool of evaluators and if the initial evaluator do not response according to the time frame given, they always have alternative evaluator in their pool. I hope the public university top management and the ministry of education look at this issue seriously as the brain drain is becoming critical in health areas. Furthermore, all the health programmes listed above have a special requirement from the respective professional board and they had clearly stipulated the necessary staff requirement for accreditation of their programmes. Besides that, with the booming of private and foreign universities in this country, they tend to poach our public university talents and we do not want our Malaysian public institution students suffers from the impact of brain drain. The management of these university need to walk the talk as most of the time they preach about ‘autonomy’ but all are just a lip saying.