Not so easy to restore freedom for public varsities — ex-VC

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily on June 6, 2018

While the new government has promised to restore public universities and institutes of higher learning’s authority and independence, it will pose a challenge for their managements, said former Universiti Malaya vice chancellor (VC) Tan Sri Professor Ghauth Jasmon. He was referring to Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto citing universities’ board of directors (BoD) will be given autonomy and authority to appoint VCs and deputy VCs based on merit and in a transparent and competitive manner.

The manifesto also states the BoD will be empowered to determine performance indicators for evaluating achievement and determining salary ladders and other rewards for senior staff of universities, as well as managing the financial allocation.

“In the previous government, authority was placed on the minister to decide on these matters, meaning he would be answerable to the public. Now that it will be placed on the board, they will be at liberty to decide among themselves. Are they ready to be truly accountable for this new responsibility?” he asked during a public lecture entitled “Improving Malaysian Higher Education”, hosted by Sunway University yesterday.

On Pakatan’s manifesto stating education must be free, especially at public universities and institutes of higher learning, he said “government funding is not unlimited, so a university management has to be more capable in raising money. More funding will be required to support the free education concept”.

Source: The Edge Financial Daily