Materia Medica Malaysiana

May 31, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:39 am

Ministry to raise next year’s varsity intake for medicine :

The Star, Malaysia – 22 hours ago
Higher Education Department director Prof Datuk Dr Hassan Said said he would hold discussions with the deans of medical faculties to find ways of increasing the number of places as well as conduct a stock check of what the country needs with the help of the Malaysian Medical Council and the Health Ministry.

“The Government has the money and the infrastructure but the problem is filling the universities with qualified lecturers. There are no takers because many prefer to join the private sector as it pays better. So maybe they have to be put on a different salary scheme to overcome the problem,” he said yesterday.

He was speaking at a briefing for editors of the media on university admission called by the National Economic Action Council (NEAC) and chaired by NEAC special adviser Datuk Rahmah Kassim.

The session was to give the press a clearer picture of the selection process and admission statistics.

Rahmah urged the public to stop looking at the public university admission figures in racial terms as entry was now based on merit.

The Star highlighted on Friday that 128 STPM and matriculation students who obtained the maximum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.0 failed to get a place in medicine, their first choice. Only 779 out of 907 top students who applied were successful.

On a long-term plan to train teaching staff for the medical faculties, Prof Hassan said: “We have schemes like the four-year specialist courses to train these people but no one wants to join them, so we cannot solve the problem.”

He said the shortage of places for medicine had been a problem for some years, adding that although land for institutions, infrastructure and teaching hospitals were easily available, hiring good lecturers remained the stumbling block.

To a question, the professor said hiring foreign lecturers would be an option to be considered.

On the salary of lecturers and medical specialists, he said it came under the Public Services Department. However, the matter was discussed at a meeting with medical deans recently but had not been brought to the policymakers.

“By next year, we expect the number of top scorers to increase. So we have to take stock of the situation, see how many doctors we need, look at our strengths and weaknesses.

“We have to look at the complete picture and then bring the recommendations to the Higher Education Minister who will take it to a higher level,” he said.

Prof Hassan said he sympathised with the plight of top students who had the grade but could not get into medicine. The 5% increase in the number of places this year was already the maximum the faculties could absorb without compromising the quality of the course.

“The universities are particular about this. There must be a ratio of one lecturer to six students. You can’t have more students without more lecturers.” he said.

He added that the Government was already subsidising 95% of the fees or RM55,000 per year per student.

He urged top scorers not to give up on their ambition to become doctors but to appeal through the universities as well as explore other means.

Those with a high CGPA who failed to get a course of their choice should apply for scholarships offered by the Public Services Department (PSD) and study loans by the National Higher Education Fund Corporation, he added.

The PSD will advertise its scholarships next month.

When asked to comment on public feedback that it was unfair to equate matriculation with STPM, he said the two were equated based on learning outcomes.

He added that although the matriculation programme was a year-long programme and Form Six a year-and-a-half, they were comparable based on what the students had learned during the course of their study, in terms of teaching hours and assignments.

“Matriculation enrols only the best students, those with a string of As. STPM is open to all,” Prof Hassan said, explaining why there were a high number of top scorers from the matriculation programme.

Of the 1,774 Science students who achieved the 4.0 CGPA, 1,247 were from matriculation.

Among those from matriculation, 789 were bumiputras, 419 Chinese and 39 Indians. Non-bumiputras comprised 10% of the total number of students in matriculation.

[Google News Search: malaysia medical]

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