By A. Jeyaraj
The Perak State government has been saying for the past ten years or so that it wants to make Perak the “hub of education in the country”. This has never materialised and Perak is lagging behind most of the other states in terms of education. At a meet-the-people session at Quest International University Perak (QIUP), where VC Academic Professor Emeritus Dato’ Dr V.G. Kumar Das affirmed that it has reduced its tuition fees by almost 50 per cent for all its courses, the Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir said the move was in line with the state government’s push to turn Perak into an education hub.
Perak Needs a Blueprint for Private Colleges
While this would provide students with quality tertiary education at affordable rates, Perak still has a long way to go to become an education hub if Wikipedia is anything to go by, it states that, “The city of Ipoh is famous for its cuisine.”
Ipoh Echo spoke to a number of educationists on why Perak was lagging behind and what must be done. Most of them were not aware of the state’s initiative on education and collectively the views gathered were as follows:
The general consensus was that the state government needs a blueprint for private colleges. A feasibility study to determine whether or not there’s a need for additional colleges in particular areas, the viability of the areas and to get recommendations from experts in the field. Then, attention must be placed on what unique courses can be offered in each college. Infrastructure must be in place and support services for the colleges must be available.
No ‘Run-Of-The-Mill’ Colleges
As students’ and parents’ expectations are now high, often they prefer to study in reputable foreign colleges who set up campuses here. They are not prepared to study in any ‘run-of-the-mill’ college.
Good marketing is important, as are course offerings. Students want to get sound practical training and high quality lecturers must be employed. The state must also promote the colleges within the country, region and the world.
One educationist said that many foreign universities are interested in setting up their campuses here, but the red tape must be reduced and approval must be fast. He suggested that the government set up a Consortium of Perak Higher Education in which all existing and potential stakeholders can be members to work through issues. The government has been talking about allocating land to set up clusters of universities. As yet this has not materialised.
As most educationists Ipoh Echo spoke to were not aware of the policy of the state on education, it is imperative that the state be transparent and make its policy public as well as include educationists in the policy making process.
To complete this review on tertiary education, Ipoh Echo spoke to a number of colleges and following is a list of the colleges and their specialties.
Taj International College
Provides degree courses in business management, Education, English, IT and also courses on Beauty and Wellness.
Quest International University Perak (QIUP)
Quip is the first full-fledged university in Ipoh and is giving scholarships to top students and those who come from poor families. Students who excel in sports will also be given scholarships. It has reduced the cost for courses and made tertiary education affordable in Perak to allow more people access to tertiary education, a very applaudable move and it is hoped that more tertiary institutions will follow suit. A medical faculty is in the pipeline and will be opened soon.
University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)
UTAR was one of the first universities to be established around Ipoh to fulfil the aspirations of the people. It is a not for profit university with the primary goal of providing quality education affordable to all. Courses are available from foundation to PHD levels in various disciplines.
Institute Technology Perak (ITP)
Provides undergraduate degree programmes for SPM/STPM students. It offers a diploma in advanced skills training. Since emphasis is on practical training, students have no problems in getting jobs on receipt of their diploma and are in high demand.
This College offers three types of MBBS programmes and has a degree programme for Nursing Science. It also offers diploma courses in pharmacy, radiography and physiotherapy.
University Teknology Petronas (UTP)
UTP is well established and offers degree, masters and PHD courses mainly in petroleum engineering, geoscience and technology. It works closely with industries to get placement for their students.
Offers diploma courses in engineering, computer, electronics, and mechatronics. Since 60% of training is hands-on, students have no problem in getting jobs. It is known as a hub for technical training.
Kompas International College
Offers accounting courses from certificate level to Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) level. About 25% of the students are foreigners. Students get job offers while they are in the final year.
Wawasan Open University (WOU)
WOU provides opportunity for working adults to continue their studies. Diploma, degree and masters programmes are available. Students have to attend college once a month.
Sunway College offers a number of diploma and professional programmes in accounting and business. Professional programmes include ACCA and Certified Accounting Technician. Diploma programmes are mainly in business and marketing.
Masterskill is a Nursing and Allied Health college and offers diploma and degree programmes. It has an Employment Placement Unit to assist graduates to get employment.
Students who do not know what course to take or where to study can contact Study Excel which provides consultancy services to students and parents for their tertiary education options.
What to Do After SPM?
So, your SPM results are out. What now? Continue studies or start to work? Then, the next question is, if you plan to further your studies, what to study? Which pre-university programme to choose? Which college or university to study at? If you choose to work, what can you really do? These are the questions that usually go through a student’s mind. So what are the real options that students have after SPM?
In reality, students must look at each Pre-U programme and choose the one which suits them personally in terms of their strengths, time as well as their study styles. Most important is actually subject choices because this will determine whether they will qualify for the right courses in university later. Different universities and different countries have different requirements. If they make the wrong choices, then they may find that they will have limited choices when it comes to choosing their study options.
Mr Simon Yeap, Ipoh Branch Manager of StudyExcel Sdn Bhd, who is an experienced and qualified education consultant, has this to say, “In India, to take up Medicine or Dentistry, a student must have done all the three science subjects to qualify, while in Australia, students would need Chemistry plus a second science subject only. Also, students have to take the ISAT (International Students Admission Test) or UMAT (The Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test) plus an interview. In UK, students have to take the UKCAT exam. Then the exams results will be reviewed for entry.”
“Students must think about where they want to work in future and then look at what they wish to study in University and then work backwards from there to choose their Pre-University programme while taking into consideration their study habits. Some students prefer a more structured academic style while others may prefer more assignment and group work style.”
Therefore, the education advisors in Studyexcel would be a great help to parents and students who need advice on further education and choosing the right career. Do feel free to take advantage of their services which are absolutely free of charge.
These services include Educational/Career Advice; application and accommodation; assistance with airport reception overseas, scholarships and visa application. On top of that, they have been officially appointed by the British Council as an IELTS test and registration centre. The Ipoh office is at 26-1 Jalan Chung Thye Phin, 30250 Ipoh, Perak, and the office phone number is 05-255 2811.