Guidelines on shorter course duration crucial to ensure no compromise on quality learning, says academician


Prof Datu Mohd Fadzil Abdul Rahman

KUCHING (June 6): A set of comprehensive guidelines is necessary when it comes to reducing the duration of 44 course programmes at nine public institutions of higher learning (IPTAs), from four to three years.

It stating this, Prof Datu Mohd Fadzil Abdul Rahman of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) believes that the guidelines are crucial towards ensuring that such a move would be in line with the international learning standards that require each university student to complete 120 credit hours to graduate from their programmes.

“Firstly, it is clear that Unimas will follow because this is the directive from the ministry. If a policy has been made, Unimas has no choice but to abide by the instruction.

“The three-year study period can be implemented, especially in fields that do not require the approval of professional bodies such as social sciences and arts.

“But this new policy must be accompanied with a more effective and organised implementation package to ensure that IPTA graduates are of high quality and meet international standards,” he said in a statement, responding to the move by Higher Education Ministry to shorten 44 degree programmes at nine IPTAs to be completed in three years.

Mohd Fadzil said the move was doable and that shortening the duration of a learning session was nothing new.

Adding on, he said the shortening a four-year programme to three years was once introduced by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak when he was education minister many years back.

However, the move was not successful due to lack of guidelines in reviewing the needs of the involved courses, said Mohd Fadzil.

Adding on, the professor stressed that whether the study period should last three or four years, the focus should be on the main subjects listed in a degree programme.

He believed that reducing the number of subjects offered in a programme would be a much more effective way than compressing the duration of the study.

“So let’s not produce graduates who are ‘half-baked – whom we can neither get them there, nor get them here’.

“This is what we don’t want to happen,” he argued.

On Sunday, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the move to shorten 44 degree programmes at nine IPTAs should help reduce the amount of loan or tuition fees that students had to bear with.

He also said the move was a continuous effort by the ministry to update and streamline programmes and courses offered by IPTs nationwide for the benefit of all stakeholders.

It is informed that the shortened study period is expected to take effect this year.