De-ri-ku [noun]: Japanese pronounciation of an English name belonging to a Chinese guy in Malaysia. Electronics engineer currently based in PJ. Chinese-educated and proud of it.
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Tuesday, February 21, 2006My life at UTM (Part 2)
And now an excerpt regarding some rants about my faculty, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering or just FKE. Some of you may identify with the issues here...especially my fac mates who have probably gone through the same experiences...or not. Please note that I am in no way maligning the overall efficiency of the academic staff. Criticism and CONSTRUCTIVE criticism are totally different things okay.
On the academic side, I have to say that UTM has its fair share of good and not-so-good (read: downright pathetic) lecturers. I have had the privilege to study under some of the most dedicated academic staff during my five years here. These are the lecturers who truly cherish the teaching process and who impart their knowledge with us without any conditions. Not only that, some are also willing to learn together with the students.
However, it is sad to say that not even half the all the lecturers in the Electrical Faculty fall into thiscategory. (I actually meant a quarter...maybe not even 10% for that matter) Some lecturers have the intention to teach but they simply do not possess the experience and skills to lecture us on a certain subject. This applies mainly to lecturers who are fresh graduates. There is also a minority of lecturers, including some associate professors as well, who display an air of arrogance when they are in class. Everything they say must be accepted without questions, as if their word is the law. (See there's the issue about freedom of speech again) It is still acceptable if they are knowledgeable in the field, but there are those who are not well versed in a certain subject and go on teaching as if they were experts. (Academician-wannabes....despicable they are) These, in my opinion, are the worst type of lecturers. By not teaching using the correct methods, they tend to mislead students and in the end, it is the students who bear the consequences in their exams.
Another experience with UTM lecturers is their command of language. As we are in a technical field, some may argue that language is not as important as technical knowledge. I would think otherwise, as language is sometimes the sole medium that a lecturer can use to convey his or her ideas to students. According to the Cabinet policy decision made in 2002, all public universities should switch to English as the medium of instruction for all Maths and Science-based degree programmes by 2005.(And still we see this, and this) I do support the move to switch the medium of instruction from Bahasa Malaysia to English. However, most of the classes I have taken recently were still conducted in Bahasa Malaysia, but it is encouraging to see certain lecturers starting to use English as a medium of communication during classes.
To convert all courses to English, the most important role of all is played by the lecturer.(...not put the blame solely on students' "bad" command of English) Lecturers should try to improve their command of the English language, especially those who are local graduates. How can a student comprehend what a lecturer is saying if what he or she is saying does not make sense grammatically? The onus is on improving the language standards of lecturers. If they are able to communicate fluently in English, there will be no problems during class since most of the notes used are based on western textbooks written in English. By then it is up to the student to get a grasp on language. (Yes, us students should buck up too. So go on and buy that latest novel by Tash Aw...and when you're finished polishing up your language skills perhaps you would be so kind to lend it to me?)