Educationists are caught in a minefield of conflicting opinion over the government's latest move to level the field between private and public universities.
The benefit of Islamic and Asian Civilisation Studies (Titas) as a compulsory subject in private universities has drawn opposing reactions, The Star reported today.
Several college operators are doubtful if students can receive any practical benefit from the topic that prepares them for today's competitive and globalised workplace.
Titas places extra financial and academic pressure on students who already must study ethnic relations and Malaysian Studies, they point out.
Supporters of the decision, however, praised Titas as an extra measure for "harmonisation'' of higher education and promoting "common and good" values.
Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced in Parliament on Thursday the introduction of Titas as a compulsory topic for the next intake of local IPTS students, from September 1.
MCA education bureau chairman Datuk Wee Ka Siong claimed that the quality of education in Malaysia was unlikely to gain from putting Titas on the compulsory agenda.
It also places a burden on many students who have not gone through the national education system, pointed out Sunway Education Group senior executive director Elizabeth Lee.
"In tertiary education, students should be focused on subjects related to their future careers," said Elajsolan Mohan, president of the National Association of Private Educational Institutions.
Titas should be made an elective subject, he added.
Education Ministry Higher Education Department director-general Prof Dr Morshidi Sirat dismissed fears about the religious aspect of Titas.
"It is about comparative Asian civilisations," he said. - July 13, 2013.