Malaysia To Roll Out iCGPA Programme

Merdeka square Malaysia

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The Higher Education Ministry of Malaysia recently announced that it is now ready to roll out its new grading system, an initiative the ministry has been working on over the last 6 years.Some 300 students from five public universities will take part in the pilot programme for the implementation of the new student assessment system, Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average (iCGPA). Higher Education Minister, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh stated that between 40 to 60 new students in each programme will take part in this roll out starting from the intake in September 2015.

“The five universities that will take part in the pilot project are Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT), Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) and Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP)”, he added.

Idris said that iCGPA concept was something the ministry explored since 2009, collaborating with experts from public universities including UKM and UiTM and getting advice from the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), while the Ministry of Higher Education facilitating the entire process. He added, “The efforts have been time consuming in view of the data, research and efforts required to this initiative a success.”

According to Idris, the mission of the iCGPA is to help overcome the discrepancy between the quality of graduates and requirements of employers, with the current system solely measuring academic ability. “We always hear comments wanting graduates who are holistic, have entrepreneurial characteristics and well balanced. This is what we hope to create through iCGPA,” he told reporters.

The new system will offer a more comprehensive and holistic approach covering areas such as academic understanding and skills, critical and scientific thinking, communication and social skills, teamwork, entrepreneurship and leadership. It will also include assessing fields like humanity, ethics, morality, information management and inculcate lifelong learning, all of which will be reported in student scorecards via the “Spider Web” method, listing down students’ performance. In addition, the assessment goes beyond the classroom and also covers activities on campus.
When asked to why only such a small number – 0.0075% of the 40,000 students enrolled in public universities – were included in this pilot programme, Idris mentioned it was due to the fact that only one faculty is chosen per university.

He further added, “We are still in discussion with universities and will look at how ready the faculties are to apply the system before making a decision.”

MQA’s Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Prof Dr Rujhan Mustafa said, “MQA supports the Higher Education Ministry’s intention to implement the iCGPA [as] it allows the employer to have an idea of the true potential of graduates.”

The iCGPA marks one of the plans under Shift 1 of Malaysia’s Education Blueprint 2015-2025, also known as Higher Education Blueprint, which was launched in April 2015.

Malaysia’s Tertiary Education Promising: Up The Ranks On Universitas 21 Tertiary Rankings

University students

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According to the latest Universitas 21 tertiary rankings, Malaysia’s higher education rankings increased year-on-year, ranking 27th out of 50 countries surveyed, a marginal jump from 28th in 2014.

Malaysia’s Minister of Education II, Dato’ Seri Idris Jusoh announced recently Malaysia’s increase in the Universitas 21 rankings. Produced by researchers from the University of Melbourne, the U21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems rank countries according to contributions to its respective environments to student experience and tertiary growth.

The overall ranking measures the following:

1) Resources – Government & private expenditure towards higher education

2) Environment – Diversity

3) Connectivity – Flow of information between higher education sector & society

4) Output – Research output and impact & employability of graduates

Not surprisingly, United States, Switzerland and Denmark took the top-3 spots, followed by United Kingdom (8), Singapore (9) and Australia (10). Over the last few years, Singapore’s HEIs has made a serious mark and climbed up the tertiary rankings. Just recently, a Singaporean university, National University of Singapore (NUS) took the No.1 spot in the QS University Rankings 2015: Asia and globally on the QS World University Rankings 2014/2015, placed 22nd spot, above highly renowned universities like University of California, Berkeley, Duke University, New York University and University of Melbourne.

Further down the list, Hong Kong and New Zealand share 15th spot, with Korea coming in 22nd and Serbia at 32nd. India disappointingly was at 50th position.

A separate ranking was also done adjusted to the levels of economic development of each participating country.

After adjustment, Malaysia’s ranking jumped up three spots to sit at 23rd rank overall, ranking 3rd for Resources, 32nd for Connectivity, 14th for Environment and 34th for Output. The rankings showed Malaysia also ranked 8th based on tertiary expenditure by the government as a percentage of the country’s GDP and 12th on annual expenditure per student.

Top spots for the adjusted ranking placed Serbia, United Kingdom and Denmark at the top followed by Australia (13), United States (15), India (18) and Singapore (23).

If these latest numbers are any indication, Malaysia’s government seem to be going on the right track towards its vision to make Malaysia a leading education destination within the region. Jusoh remains positive with the release of the Universitas 21 tertiary rankings believing that the numbers exemplifies the country’s commitment and focus on higher education sector through increasing its expenditure for the growth and development of HEIs in the country.

Jusoh continued to add, “[this] improvement in Malaysia’s ranking is encouraging and promising.”

Malaysia’s Education Blueprint

With the announcement of the upcoming 11th Malaysia Plan 2015 today, we’re excited to see what the Malaysian government has planned in its commitment to being a world-class economy – and leading regional education hub. Just last month, Malaysia’s higher education sector received a boost with the launch of The Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015 – 2025 (Higher Education). This landmark blueprint was launched in Kuala Lumpur by Malaysia’s Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohammad Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, where he emphasised three critical themes, known as the “Three B’s”:

  • Bakat
    Focus on offering world-class quality higher education to attract international students and nurture domestic talent
  • Benchmark
    Vision for Malaysia to be in the top one-third of global leading destinations for higher education and to increase the rankings of local universities in world rankings
  • Balance
    Graduates of Malaysian universities to achieve ideal balance of being equipped with skills (ilmu) and good morals (akhlak), to be put into practice

 

New times, new priorities

Dr. Zaini Ujang

(Source: photos.utm.my)

Speaking on the creation of the blueprint which took two years to complete, Education Ministry Secretary General II Dato’ Seri Ir Dr. Zaini Ujang said that the publication was the result of 10,500 people collectively represented by stakeholders, school administrators, unions, alumni and also students with 14 chapter-writing teams and 20 lead authors. Replacing the previous blueprint done in 2006, The Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015 – 2025 (Higher Education) reflects the changes that have since passed and therefore needed to be updated (including changing the target to host 250,00 by 2025, instead of 200,000 by 2020). Professor Zaini continued,

“[The] blueprint is crucial to outline what is new in higher education. We didn’t want to use what we planned back in 2006 because much time has passed since then. There have been a lot of new developments and so we [needed] to update our strategies. [For example,] many people [now] learn through mobile devices. Students already have this ‘machine’ – their handphones. So, we have to leverage on it.”

The blueprint also highlighted the challenges Malaysia’s higher education system faces with regard to domestic and global labour markets that must be overcome including:
1) Graduates with poor English-language proficiency and lacking in critical thinking and communication skills
2) Lack of links and support between academia and industry, especially in research & development and commercialisation
3) Systemic shortcomings that hamper the efficiency and financial sustainability of the system

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