Sunday, April 06, 2008

Malaysian Education Promotion Centre, Are You Serious?

Last Friday, together with my son, I went to visit the four-day Gulf Education and Training Exhibition (GETEX) in Dubai, a leading education forum, which ended on Saturday. It was reported that over 29,000 visitors attended GETEX this year.

The forum, which was held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, hosted over 500 higher education providers, the majority from the UK and England.

Malaysia's Ministry of Higher Education or Malaysian Education Promotion Centre had a booth. But the way you can check the both web sites and can judge how serious the ministry or MEPC in promoting Malaysia universities.

I have my own experience in dealing with our universities. Several friends in Dubai were interested to send their children to Malaysia for tertiary education in certain courses.

Being a good 'ambassador' of Malaysia to UAE, I contacted the relevant universities through their web sites. I had sent numerous emails for inquiries. There were either bounced (the email addresses not valid or full boxes were full) or no replies. Even, I sent to the VC offices but it turned out to be the same.

I have never received any official replies from all the inquiries submitted so far. A clean record till now.

Recently, I forwarded some inquiries to local MEPC office in Dubai and one of these friends gave up, frustrated and intimidated as he complained that the service was POOR.
Another one asked me, "Are you guys serious?" He had been following up but there was no end of waiting.
All of them, not only those referred by me but by others as well, complained about the service. So far I have not received good feedbacks, it could be my friends were expecting higher level of services or my friends were not good enough to be our 'client'.

One particular incident, the official there referred the inquiries to another company in Dubai which demanded some money as charges. And through a friend in the particular university, one of them managed to enrol without going through hassles.

It seems that we are wasting our money by having overseas offices. The official may have his or her own agendas. He or she may be not good enough to be our representative. For the sake of the nation's pride, we demand better services or close these offices.

This year GETEX, our booth was insignificant in the sea of other countries participants. The brochures and goodies were also outdated. I am not sure on the responses from the other visitors as I had only spent few minutes.
I had a chat with one young guy from MPEC who has just recently been transferred to Dubai and he was approachable. I conversed in Bahasa Melayu but he replied in English. While others there seemed indifferent, it could be I was wearing BERSIH t-shirt.

Our education system is in the mess. No university listed in top 100 and thousands of local graduates are still unemployed. What is our selling point? Cheap and affordable?

Irrespective of the attendance, please upgrade your web site, MEPC.
A lot of excellent sites like
and various for UK, Canada and USA. An arabic version could be a good strategy but then again, even the English one needs to be revamped with better outlook and comprehensive information.

Interestingly, North Cyprus has an informative site for promoting its universities.

By the way, I was there to inquire for universities in UK, USA and Canada for my sons future paths. Decision has been made according to my sons' career interests. Eldest in aviation and second is following his mum's step to become another medical doctor in the family, while the youngest is still toying with ideas on becoming a Manchester United player.
It is by accidental not by choice that Malaysia universities are not in our list since long time ago.


Pentilium5 said...

hopefully they read your blog and quickly buck up or we will forever be top 300 in the world (malu lah dengan Singapura)

Zawi said...

Such feedback from you in Dubai should be taken seriously not just by the Education Ministry but also by other departments with a website. Foreigners will just curse and never deal with us again.
As with most pyblic offices more often than not the website maybe dormant and emails were never replied. Such is our so called advance state of the art technology when system dont fail the personnel fails.

Christopher said...

The education system is not the only government managed organization that does not respond to any form of correspondence sent to them.
No wonder the country is falling behind everyone else. Even Malaysians do not want to send their kids to local universities if they can help it.

ummuhanissa said...

I am currently doing a part time master degree in a local u. What is happening in the inside is even more embarrassing.

Lecturers are forced to speak English whenever foreign students are in the class. They don't want to embarras themselves as their English is way below par, so what do they do?

1. They display lecture notes, which are written in English,on the screen and then proceed to lecture in what they actually do is 'cut n paste' other people's work to form a haphazard note on the subject taught, sometimes without proper citation, and then 'translate' them to BM for the audience. The translation are mostly inaccurate (and I am not exaggerating this), to the point that I sometimes 'blush' in embarrassment.

To the foreign students, they say.."if there is anything u want to ask me, please come to see me in private so as not to disrupt the class".

2. During tutorial classes, lecturers would 'appoint' some students whom they identify as being good in English to sit next to the foreign students, and translate whatever they are saying, on the spot. They promise these 'translator' some reward....I had been doing the translation work for some time now.

3. There was a time when we had just settled into our seats for a lecture and were told that a videotaping session will take place soon . The lecturer had by then put on a nice coat, start speaking in English and was obviously was so funny. It was done to show that the University is serious about using English as the instruction medium.

Having said all that however, I must say some of them are trying their best to lecture in English. I often come forward to see these lecturers and congratulate them for honest work.

fahmi said...

did you try UIA?

ck said...

I didn't expect our education system can be so messy. Rather, i believe there isn't any proper or comprehensive system at all.

If our leaders in power don't revamp our education system, in ten years from now, countries like Thailand and Indonesia may even better than us.

What is the use of having world class "hardware" while having third class "software"

ck said...

I never expect the education system is so that messy. I think there isn't any comprehensive plans or system in place at all.

If our leaders in power don't do anything comprehensively to revamp the system now, i believe, ten years from now, Thailand and Indonesia may be better than us.

The world is not going to wait for Malaysia