To empower students, we must take them seriously
LETTERS: Empowering students begins with giving them a voice and the opportunity to show what they can do.
Motivated students would likely become leaders, serve the community, and tackle local and world issues.
To inculcate leadership, certain characteristics must be nurtured from an early age. As children, we were carefree and did not have the responsibility of making big decisions.
At home, many of us relied on our parents to tell us what to do. At school, we followed our teachers' instructions. These practices make us less independent and fall into the "yes-man" syndrome.
Since the younger generation are going to be the leaders of tomorrow, the habit of making decisions and voicing opinions should be nurtured at the university level.
The government in general and the Higher Education Ministry specifically have noticed students' ability to contribute fresh and innovative ideas for the country's development. They have been supportive of student empowerment efforts for many years.
Last year, the ministry received 11 proposals from the Malaysian National Student Representative Council (MPPK). To date, four out of 11 proposals have been executed.
- ESTABLISHING a National Higher Education Fund Corporation special committee with students;
- IMPROVING Internet access to facilitate effective online teaching and learning;
- THE Penjana Career Development Programme (Penjana-KPT-CAP); and,
- THE housing rental for students programme.
MPPK lauded the government's support for students to participate in university management meetings. Most importantly, they were allowed to make decisions on student issues.
They have also been given the responsibility of managing certain university events, such as the annual convocation. These steps are essential in moulding students' character and in showcasing their potential.
There is a demand for universities to prepare students for the real world. This effort should be strategised and implemented in stages, beginning with their involvement in the smallest to the most prominent events and organisations.
As students, we feel empowered when our voices are heard and taken seriously. With the support of the ministry and universities, we will confidently step into the working world and make our dreams a reality.
MUHAMMAD AIZUDDIN HARIF
Student, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin
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