Sunday, February 3, 2013

PTDs in Ministry of Higher Education/ MOHE (Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi)

Picture this scenario that happens to an emerging third world country. The Ministry of Higher Education of that country has  been  tasked to revamp its education blueprint to ensure that it is relevant and up-to date pedagogically and in terms of content  to face  greater future challenges.  A group of 'astute leaders' have been chosen from the ranks of administration 'experts' . All of them have at least a Bachelor's degree ranging from BA in Fisheries, Geography, Biology , and Arts. Some senior  members with Masters degrees from Japan and the United States in International Relations and Policy Sciences have been tasked to  take the lead in the revamping committee . All these  'astute' leaders also have Diplomas in Public Administration from a  renown institute that trains bureaucrats in that country . Their main task is to make the education blueprint of that country effective and relevant.
The lowly qualified PTDS control the Ministry of Higher Education 

Did you know that the country is actually Malaysia. I repeat Malaysia The Ministry of Education of that country is actually the Ministry of Higher Education , Malaysia. The revamping committee actually consists of PTD officials who have no experience what so ever in teaching and almost zero knowledge in terms of pedagogy have been asked to run the  ministry and to revamp the higher education system of our country.Not even one of them who hold the top posts is a doctorate holder. If you don't believe me just google the ministry's websites) . The MOHE or Ministry of Higher Education  is actually run by the 'lowly qualified 'PTD officials  or  officials from the Administrative and Diplomatic Service. The Malay equivalent for PTD is 'Pegawai Tadbir dan Diplomatik'. All the top posts in Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi in our beloved country are controlled by  the PTDs except the less important ones. Most of these young inexperienced PTDs running the ministry are around 35 -45 years old.The less important posts are given to the very experienced DS (university professors)  and hard working and competent DH (Officers seconded from the Polytechnics but originally from the Ministry of Education). The DS and the DH officers have the minimal chance of being promoted to the top posts in the Ministry because they are in the different schemes (not PTDs) despite having the knowledge , skills and the right qualifications ( If you don't believe me just look at the top posts in the ministry's website and also look at  qualifications of these PTDs). The top most posts in the ministry are held by the PTDs. The next in line are also the young inexperienced and lowly qualified PTDs. A sad but true scenario.  The sense of belonging in the ministry is missing except if you are a PTD officer.

 Is PTD training rigorous?

The PTDs are running the Ministry because they are the PTDs-. The PTDs are' holier' than  other employment schemes such as the DH and the DS. They are of the higher caste system. The rest of the services are just 'pariahs' and the' ordinary gentiles'. They (PTDs) claim that they are much better in  running the Ministry because they have a very rigorous training in managing and handling people. In addition , they have that extra qualification that is the Diploma in Public Administration from INTAN , a training institute to groom potential bureaucrats.  But did you know that the PTDs are conferred the Diploma only after 5 months of training. As far as real Diploma is concerned, you have to accumulate at least 90 hours/units of instruction or two years of studying before you earn the diploma. If you don't believe me just ask any of the people working at the Malaysian Qualifications Agency or the MQA. But again  anything is possible if it is for the PTDs. They can overrule decisions made by any other parties.

University Professors should run MOHE

Can you imagine a group of people who have no knowledge in pedagogy , no  experiences in conducting an academic research, no skills in running a university , no articles in a scopus/ISI journal, no academic books to their credit, no teaching experience, no skills in supervising postgraduate students have been asked to take care of the way of education is run and managed. It is like asking the PTDs  running the home ministry - controlling the police and the immigration people and telling them how to apprehend and prosecute the criminals . Its also like telling the military how to conduct a warfare against the terrorists or against any  of the conventional enemies. They  always know better than the police and the army. They think they know how to run education better than the university lecturers.

I am utterly pessimistic when it comes to the way Ministry of Higher Education is run. I am pessimistic because our Ministry of Higher Education  is one of the important ministries in the government  . It should be run by really qualified people. I am not really against the PTDs running a government agency but this ministry deals with higher education. Education is really a specialized area and requires people who know the area and passionate about education. The head of the ministry would have to present papers locally and abroad on education. Hence, education has to be led by someone who is from the education sector or at least someone who has served as  a  university lecturer. It is just inappropriate for the government to get someone who has zero experience  running a university to be the head of a ministry who is thrusted to chart the direction of the education system in Malaysia. It is very inappropriate to get a PTD official to manage our education system. They are good only at running a non academic institution.

A PTD officer despite its so called rigorous training  and experience  has probably not done any research or published any article in a  Scopus/ISI journal. I don't think the current Secretary General of Education  has done any research and knows anything much about education. I heard he was plucked from MAMPU and promoted as the Secretary General of Higher Education in Malaysia . How could a person who has no experience of at least a running a university is given the heavy responsibility of running a Ministry that is of utmost important to the nation? In my humble opinion he  can actually  administratively run the ministry but  the issue is can he lead us into education reforms?

For one , I don't think the current Secretary General of the Ministry of Education is a very qualified person to reform or lead the ministry because he does not come from the university setting or from  the education background. He does not even have a PhD or have the academic qualification in Education. No doubt he has a Bachelor's degree in Geography from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Masters in Policy Sciences from Saitama University in Japan and used to be the Deputy Director General of MAMPU (Development, Management and Tran formation . But I don't think he has any idea of how a university is run and what  the main issues are in Education . A university is not like INTAN or MAMPU. You can't just order people to do what you want them to do.

In education sector, you need to have visions. You need to provide the leadership and the direction. You need to inspire young academics and students alike. But in this case how can he provide the leadership if he does not have the right academic qualification? He only has a master degree and a graduate from a very rigid academic system . How can he inspire people if he has not published a Scopus or ISI article?  How can he inspire optimism and vigor if the Secretary general is not qualified academically? Generally, the PTDs are trained to be jack of all trades. Most of the time PTD officials spend their learning time managing various non academic departments. I think they are only good at telling-"There is a comma missing in the memo" or 'I think we should add more colors to the slides" or "The slides are not very colorful" . That's about what they can do. They can be in the higher education ministry but taking charge of a more appropriate roles like the Pengarah of 'kewangan' or the Finance, the infrastructure development, and other non academic related departments. They should not run the governance section, the research section, the academic excellence section and the private university section, and so forth.

I short, the PTDs should not be granted the power to run the academic sections of  Higher Education ministry . This role should be given to the DS or the DH people who  have real passions and  experiences in education. They know the inside out of  education. All their life they work towards the development and reforms in education. They love education so much .They are the specialists in education and not the PTDs. Let these people (PTDs) run the non academic aspects of the ministry but  let the real specialists take good care of  education. Let them provide the leadership and the direction. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bodo punya karangan..taktau jgn buat bijak sheh..ka jeles pasal tak dpt jadi PTD?