Matinya Kebebasan Akademik di Universiti Malaya

Tidak lama dahulu, nama Universiti Malaya telah mendapat liputan media sosial berikutan tekanan terhadap Pengarah Pusat Kajian Demokrasi dan Pilihan Raya (UMCEDEL) Professor Datuk Dr Redzuan Othman untuk meletakkan jawatan beliau daripada Kementerian Pendidikan.  Perkhidmatan beliau sebagai Dekan Fakulti Sastera dan Sains Sosial (FSSS) juga ditamatkan oleh universiti dan digantikan dengan orang baru sedangkan beliau mempunyai sokong kebanyakan para pengajar untuk meneruskan kerjanya dalam jawatan tersebut.  Hal ini merupakan insiden terbaru yang mencerminkan kebebasan akademik semakin terhakis di Universiti Malaya. Adakah akan wujud keadaan dimana kebebasan akademik akan terkubur tanpa batu nisan selepas peristiwa ini ?

Kegagalan universiti tempatan untuk mendapat tempat dalam Times Higher Education Asia University Ranking 2014 baru-baru ini menunjukkan betapa seriusnya masalah kualiti pendidikan tinggi di negara ini. Malaysia bukan sahaja jauh ketinggalan dalam bidang pendidikan berbanding dengan jiran kita Singapura malah kini menghadapi masalah untuk mengejar universiti lain di rantau Asia ini khususnya negara China. Gejala ini ditambah dengan kelakuan pihak pentadbir universiti dan pihak kerajaan yang selalu mengekang kebebasan bersuara dalam bidang akademik. Selepas inisiden Ambiga Sreenevasan dihalang untuk memberi ucapan dalam Konvensyen Kerjaya Undang-Undang di Fakulti Undang-Undang Universiti Malaya, kita lihat bahawa para akademik juga tidak dikecualikan daripada tekanan politik pihak kerajaan kerana mempunyai pandangan yang berbeza.

Awal tahun ini, saya telah menghadiri sebuah program anjuran Najib Razak Club (NRC) yang merupakan dialog antara para hadirin dengan Timbalan Menteri Pendidikan P.Kamalanathan yang bertajuk “Building A World-Class Tertiary Education” dimana saya mengajukan soalan kepada beliau berkenaan insiden Hal Ehwal Pelajar (HEP) Universiti Malaya menghalang Ambiga Sreenevasan daripada berucap di Fakulti Undang-Undang dan mendapat jawapan bahawa universiti penyelidikan diberi autonomi tertentu untuk mengendalikan urusannya seperti dalam bidang akademik, kewangan, pentadbiran, dan sumber manusia dan Kementerian Pendidikan tidak akan campur tangan dalam urusan universiti berkaitan bidang tersebut. Kenyataan beliau jelas bercanggah dengan apa yang telah berlaku kepada Prof Datuk Dr Redzuan Othman hari ini.

Kegagalan universiti tempatan terutamanya Universiti Malaya untuk mengekalkan pengajar yang berbakat dan juga keupayaan menarik bakat baru ke universiti tersebut mencerminkan gejala “braindrain” yang juga berlaku pada pelbagai bidang di Malaysia. Buku Tony Pua “The Tiger That Lost Its Roar” memetik kata-kata seorang pensyarah kanan di Fakulti Undang-Undang Universiti Malaya yang mengatakan 10% tenaga pengajar di Fakulti Undang-Undang Universiti Kebangsaan Singapore (NUS) adalah warganegara Malaysia. Hakikatnya, universiti negara lain dapat menawarkan peluang yang lebih baik daripada universiti awam di Malaysia dari segi gaji, kenaikan pangkat dan pembiayaan untuk penyelidikan maka tidak hairan lain berlaku penghijrahan pensyarah tempatan ke luar negara. Namun yang pelik adalah universiti swasta tempatan kini mampu menarik pensyarah yang terkemuka dari universiti-universiti awam terbaik negara. Adakah Prof Datuk Rd Redzuan bakal menyertai senarai nama pengajar hebat yang meninggalkan Universiti Malaya untuk mencuba nasib di tempat lain seperti Farish Noor, K.S Jomo, Abu Hassan dan Wang Gungwu?

Dalam sebuah artikel yang diterbitkan di The Malaysian Insider, Zairil Khir Johari MP Bukit Bendera mengatakan antara punca kemerosotan kualiti pendidikan tinggi negara ini adalah kekurangan kebebasan akademik, campur tangan politik dalam kampus dan kualiti fakulti yang rendah. Tekanan politik terhadap Prof Datuk Dr Redzuan Othman membuktikan kebebasan akademik dan campur tangan politik dalam kampus sememangnya merupakan masalah yang menghindari potensi sebenar universiti tempatan. Sampai bila universiti perlu dikongkong oleh kuku besi pihak kerajaan dan dijadikan alat propaganda Barisan Nasional ?

Tengku Razaleigh MP Gua Musang dan bekas Menteri Kewangan Malaysia dalam sebuah artikel di The Malaysian Insider mengatakan sistem pendidikan Malaysia memerlukan perubahan drastik untuk menyelamatkannya, dan kewujudan Pelan Pembangunan Pendidikan 2013-2025 merupakan pengiktirafan pihak kerajaan tentang masalah pendidikan negara dan memainkan peranan sebagai penyelesaiannya. Namun sekiranya pelan tersebut dilaksanakan tanpa “political will” hasilnya tetap sama seperti sistem pendidikan pada hari ini. Adakah masih sempat untuk kita menyelamatkan pendidikan tinggi di Malaysia? Ataupun kita bakal lihat Pelan Pembangunan Pendidikan tersebut menerima nasib yang sama dengan projek-projek “gajah putih” Barisan Nasional yang lain dan berkubur tanpa batu nisan akhirnya.

 

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Political Strategist in the making, Lawyer to be, and Protagonist by choice. I believe in a better Malaysia. A Malaysian Malaysia.

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14 Responses to Matinya Kebebasan Akademik di Universiti Malaya

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  10. Ellese

    Not a fruit. First it doesn't detract the fact the writer is selective and distorting facts. When you look at QS and so long as we improve albeit modestly, we are more than fine and won't go to third world country as you baselessly argue. If you check some of the uni we sent our children overseas to, we are much better. So be balance and objective.

  11. Not_a_fruit

    It doesn't matter whether it is the Times ranking or the QS ranking. It is okay to rejoice that our universities have made improvements in the rankings compare to the previous year. However, that doesn't mean we have achieved "nirwana" and everything else in our education system will be perfect hereon. Education is a lifelong matter and should be planned and implemented in that manner, at home, in a society and especially, for any country. Long-term and continuous! Our leaders will grow old and die one day. Our youths, the ones who are going through our schools and universities now, will one day take over the reins of the country. Are we grooming our youths for the job?

    So, our universities have done well in the QS rankings compare to last year. Have we compare with the previous 10, 15, 20, 25 years and see how much we have improved (or otherwise) since? Where have we done well and where have we falter compare to the past and compare with other countries? Can we replicate our strengths nationally across schools at all levels?

    We don't even need these rankings to tell us how good (or bad) our universities are. Just track the career progression of our graduates over the years. Where have they ended up after graduation? This is a much more practical indicator of the quality of our universities.

    Vince highlighted an extremely acute problem with Malaysia's universities and though he didn't say it, the entire education system of the country. There are people in high places that are stifling academic freedom and critical thinking in the younger generations. In years to come, our youths may not be equipped to run the country. At that time, we can proudly declared that Malaysia has successfully regressed to become a 3rd world country. Maybe at that time, some people will rejoice about this 'significant fact'.

  12. Ellese

    I always find it funny when people write selectively especially to distort the truth. Our universities did not enter all the available ranking. They pick and select as there's cost to it. So when times and qs split, most stayed on the qs ranking. QS is one of the most credible uni ranking in the world. In there, UM ranking actually improved.

    This is a significant fact which the writer omitted with intent to purposely mislead people. Sad we have Malaysians like this. Too partisan to acknowledge the truth,

  13. tebing tinggi

    Kebebasan akedemik tidak mati ,yang mati kebebasan menghasut .