Educationist leads autonomy study

Professor Tan Sri Dato' Dzulkifli Abdul Razak
StarEducate, Sunday 16 October 2016

PROF Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak (pic) has been named as Chair for the programme on autonomy and accountability in higher education at the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS).

“The purpose of this programme is to study how to improve the quality of our higher education system by giving universities more autonomy and at the same time ensuring that they are more accountable too.

“The government has been working hard to transform our higher education.

“The higher education blueprint is an example of that commitment.

“We will complement the work already done by the government through this project and our findings will be shared with the government too,” said Prof Dzulkifli.

To improve the standards and quality of higher education, he said it is important to look at what has happened in the past and present, and then prepare for the future.

“We need to ask the tough questions such whether it is true that we have lost autonomy; and how and why was university autonomy lost?

“I am sure there will be many interesting answers coming out from this study,” he said.

This one year project will combine research to be undertaken by Prof Dzulkifli and his team, with publication of policy papers and the organising of policy seminars.

IDEAS will also organise a special conference in mid 2017 on this topic.

IDEAS chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan said: “This is a major appointment for IDEAS and we are excited about the potentials of this project.”

“The current higher education blueprint builds on the 2005 Wan Zahid Report that already emphasised the importance of autonomy and accountability.

“Prof Dzulkifli was a member of the team that produced the Wan Zahid Report in 2005 so he is the best person to lead this project now,” he added.

Wan Saiful said they were also lucky because (former education director-general) Tan Sri Dr Wan Mohd Zahid Mohd Noordin himself is very supportive of this initiative.

“We have met him several times to discuss our ideas and as a result we are now able to run this research project,” he added.

In addition to the team at IDEAS, Prof Dzulkifli’s research team for this programme comprises Dr Munif Zarirruddin Fikri Nordin who is an associate professor at Universiti Utara Malaysia’s College of Arts and Sciences; Dr Wan Chang Da who is a senior lecturer with the National Higher Education Research Institute at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Dr Sean Matthews who is head of School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Nottingham.

A renowned educationist, Prof Dzulkifli is currently the 14th president of the International Association of Universities, a Unesco-affiliated organisation.

He is also chairman of Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia’s board of directors and former USM vice-chancellor.