(Petaling Jaya, Monday): University authorities should be flexibile in carrying out austerity measures so as not to undermine academic excellence.
I understand that as part of the austerity measures arising from the national economic crisis, there is a blanket ban on university academicians from going overseas for international conferences.
Such a ban is understandable if it applies to international conferences whose expenses have to be borne by the local universities, but it becomes irrational when academicians are banned from going overseas to attend international conferences when these expenses would be borne by the international organisers or sponsors without imposing an extra sen of expenditure locally.
In view of the national economic crisis, the government should bring back government-sponsored students pursuing tertiary courses overseas which are available in local universities and colleges as a result of the drastic devaluation of the Malaysian currency, making the costs of such overseas education a great burden on the public coffers.
The government should, however, continue to be flexible and send Malaysian students abroad for courses which are not available at home, especially in areas which are important in enhancing Malaysia’s international competitiveness in the global marketplace.
The Education Ministry should present a White Paper in the forthcoming meeting of Parliament at the end of the month to let the people know what are the measures it had taken to adjust the national educational plans, goals and targets in view of the national economic crisis.