PETALING JAYA: The discontinuation of 38 academic courses in public universities will not have adverse effects on students, said Academy of Professors Malaysia Education and Human Development Cluster secretary Prof Dr Nor Aziah Alias when commenting on a report by jobseeker platform Maukerja, that stated the 38 courses were no longer relevant in 2023.
The survey was conducted by UPUonline.com, a portal for Malaysian students to apply to public universities and colleges in the country.
Courses in the education sector such as Sports Psychology and Primary School Education in Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia were discontinued, while electronic engineering communication
related courses Electronic Engineering-Communication and Creative Technology (Screen) and Electrical-Telecommunications and Computer Science-Industrial Computing in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) were listed as non-relevant.
Science related courses such as Chemistry and Mathematics in Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia, water management courses at Universiti Putra Malaysia were also stopped.
“The discontinuation of non-relevant courses has a positive impact on the education system, as it reflects the universities’ efforts to streamline their programmes according to current needs and demand,” Nor Aziah said.
In supporting the call, UTM Social Sciences and Humanities Faculty head Prof Dr Zaidatun Tasir said programmes with consistently low enrolment or those with with graduates struggle to find employment may be categorised as “beku” (frozen) or discontinued.
“In such cases, the intake of the programmes may be postponed for re-evaluation based on evolving global trends.
“The government assessment process prioritises the alignment of academic offerings with the evolving needs of the job market and society,” she said, adding that it was important to view the discontinuation of the academic programmes holistically across institutions.
“The discontinuation of a programme at one university does not mean the entire Malaysian higher education system no longer offers that programme.
“Other institutions may step in to offer them, providing students with alternative options.”
For students currently enrolled in the discontinued programmes, Zaidatun said they will be allowed to continue their studies until completion, adding that the knowledge and skills gained from their education could be applied in various industries or further education and specialisation in areas that are in demand.
She said to support affected students, robust systems are in place to offer alternative academic pathways and facilitate a smooth transition.
On implications for lecturers, she said the decision to discontinue non-relevant courses does not generally have major effects on lecturers who previously taught the programmes.
“University lecturers often have interdisciplinary backgrounds and expertise, allowing them to teach other relevant subjects in various academic programmes.
“Moreover, for lecturers who were teaching non-relevant courses, universities often provide retraining or reassignment opportunities within the institution.”