Headhunting mission nets 24 brains
By: HARIATI AZIZAN
KUALA LUMPUR: Reversing Malaysia’s brain drain may soon become a reality as the Higher Education Ministry’s initial efforts have borne fruit.
Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said as a result of his ministry’s headhunting mission in Britain last month, 24 promising candidates have been identified, including 14 medical specialists.
“This is a move to bring back more Malaysians. Our strategy is to improve the staff to student ratio in the universities from an average of 1:18 to 1:16,” Mustapa told reporters at a dialogue session with the media at his residence on Monday.
Other headhunting missions for critical programmes, including pharmacy and engineering, will be held in Australia as well as in KL Sentral here in May.
Mustapa said the Government has agreed to provide higher salaries for lecturers with PhDs to attract the best brains to public universities.
It is understood that new lecturers with PhD qualifications will be placed on the Grade 51 scale (which pays about RM5,000 monthly with allowances) instead of the current Grade 45.
Malaysian Academics Movement (Move) chairman Dr Wan Manan Wan Muda welcomed the move but added that more needs to be done.
“It will not improve matters if the promotion and award system in universities is not improved.
“You can headhunt for the best brains, but they will not stay if they have to work under heads who are not qualified.”
Online game to integrate students
PUTRAJAYA: Izat, Chong and Raj, are the main characters in an online game designed to foster racial understanding among students under the Education Ministry’s e-Integration programme.
“Through these virtual characters, students can learn about one another's culture. This could be the best way to foster racial understanding among the young as they are into ICT (Information and Communication Technology). Also we cannot physically get everyone together,” said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Hon Choon Kim.
The online game is part of the ministry’s Student Integration Programme for Unity (Rimup), which is aimed at promoting integration between students of different races.
“Students can follow the main characters through the virtual storyline and create more stories while connecting with students of other races from other schools,” Hon told a press conference after chairing a meeting on the implementation of the programme.
He added the game contained 10 different components comprising diverse cultural elements to expose students to the different cultures of Malaysia.