I think you misunderstood my last post. You were a student in one of the US universities, where students have a say in what goes on. We can choose to remove a university president by petitioning a vote of no-confidence in his/her leadership. Also, you saw how students, not professors, were competing in competitions to develop their skills, competitions where they had to survive a year long project to design any build machines without being explicitly coached by professors.
We are not producing students like that, and i am blaming it on our whole education system, starting from kindergartens. How do we change students, who are ingrained from their primary school years, to measure their academic improvement by their understanding of the subject matter rather than by the number of As they have? How do we create independent thinkers from a bunch of kiasu, A-measuring drones? Your vase is only as good as the clay you get. Our kids lack imagination, only because they were required to by the system. When everything boils down to useless subjects like the scheme-based moral education and a specific way of answering things, we will be doomed as we are constrained to think in a certain manner.
Our kids do not ask questions in class, only because they fear making mistakes and because they have never been asked to ask questions. They fear questioning authority and they also fear making mistakes. The fear of making mistakes is the bane of any creative society. If Edison had feared failure after a few lightbulbs, we would all be left in the dark. heck, if the cavemen who saw the burning logs from the lightning strikes was scared, we would all be in the dark right now. In Malaysia, you hear students making money by selling insurance and direct selling in the universities. Is that the true pursuit of a student in a university?
Originally Posted by Chenchow
I would look at these skills to be more essential than building up R&D skills for undergrads for the general undergraduate. While I am not saying that R&D is not essential, it would be very difficult for us to transform all Malaysians to get hyped up with R&D.
R&D is not limited to Engineering and Science. One could also do research on historical analysis and aesthetic effects of architectural design. There are a gazillion things to work on but my main point is that in our country, if the research does not bring in money instantly(2-3 years), no university in our country will fund it. Dont you think that is silly as far as academia is concerned? The pursuit of knowledge and academic excellence goes hand in hand. Without any hunger for knowledge, academic excellence merely becomes a measure of As on transcripts.
Yes, the skills you said are important, but dont you see that those are the same things you will need to do research. They need to think, interact, question and communicate ideas no matter where they are. but our locally produced graduates are lacking in those skills. They are more concerned about making sure they do not piss off professors that will be detrimental to their grades and making money more than to acquire knowledge. We are creating a society that starts from measuring how many As they have in their report cards to measuring the amount of money they have in their account.
We pat our backs and tell ourselves we are an asian tiger, but even Singapore is scared of China. Are we?