Wednesday, January 5, 2011

University term to start in September by 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: All institutions of higher learning will begin their academic calendar in September by 2013, the Higher Education Ministry said.

Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Khaled Nordin said under the new academic calendar, the registration date would be pushed two weeks forward every year until the 2013/2014 session, when new students would enter on Sept 2 while enrolled students would enter one week later.

"This is part of the second phase of the ministry's long-term strategic plan for higher education, where the idea is to streamline the academic year in stages," he told a press conference yesterday.

For this year, however, public universities have been directed to register new students in September rather than in July as originally planned.

He said while new students were earlier slated to begin university on July 25, the registration date has been pushed forward to the first week of September so that the orientation period would not clash with the fasting month of Ramadan.

"Students will also have to return home for Hari Raya celebrations, which is likely to fall on Aug 31, after just one month of study. So, I think moving the semester forward is the best decision for all."

He said it was up to the universities to decide whether enrolled students, who were currently required to register on Aug 1, should also register in September.

"Students should check with their respective institutions on any changes to their calendar," he said, adding that the universities had already been informed of the change.

The decision to move the dates forward, Khaled said, were in line with the ministry's overall plan to encourage mobility among students and academics, as well as to promote the international exchange of knowledge.

"Higher education is global in nature and we cannot afford to be left behind."

He said local students and academics were at risk of being left out of joint education and research programmes with foreign higher learning institutions, including those in Indonesia and Thailand, which normally begin their academic year in September.

"The current schedule causes difficulty for students to join semester-abroad, exchange and credit transfer programmes, where they would otherwise get the opportunity to experience life and study overseas.

"The changes will also make it possible for lecturers and academics to plan their schedule with their foreign counterparts so that they may benefit from more joint research, as well as the exchange of knowledge and expertise."

The move would also reduce the problem of students leaving local institutions after two or three months upon accepting offers from foreign universities.

"Moving the schedule forward will improve the student placement process by allowing students time to receive and fully consider offers from both local and foreign universities."

Khaled said a briefing would be held for student representative councils on Friday to further clarify the matter.

Source:News Straits Times

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