Paper Edition | Page: 8
I refer to an article entitled “Universities are born to be autonomous — academically,” by A. Chaedar Alwasilah (The Jakarta Post, Sept. 15, p. 6)
The corruption evident in many universities reflects that at many levels of government.
Campuses are seemingly deliberately run down so that a large grant can be secured to rebuild them; 20 percent of a small grant remains small, but 20 percent of a large grant is serious money.
The number of subjects seemingly invented out of thin air, without an adequate (any?) syllabus and teaching guide/text, the content of which overlaps with other subjects, is a practice that needs to be stopped. Indonesian students at the university I am most familiar with are swamped with a large number of pathetically light weight subjects, all requiring enrollment fees and other “administration” fees, and often of diminishing credit value.
Sooner or later, the smarter English equipped students are going to realize that they can get an internationally recognized degree online. It may cost more but probably with less hassle and better value for money.
Another practice that has to stop is the majority hiring of a universities own graduates, essentially perpetuating bad practices and preventing new ideas. Or maybe that’s the idea — new ideas can be so disruptive to established “experts”.
And finally, expensive equipment should not be purchased unless a university can demonstrate an ability to maintain the equipment technically and finally, an ability to conduct research using this equipment, a long term research plan or objective (that doesn’t just sound like a get rich quick scheme) that fits into existing research or activities.
The equipment purchased should be in line with the overall role of the university. Thus teaching universities with no experience in say biotechnology or pharmacology should not be granted top of the line research instruments.
They simply do not have the skills. There is a high probability that billions of rupiah will end up as a dusty display of arrogant pride, sitting disused and broken in a corner.
The Jakarta Post should do a survey of recent equipment purchases in the last year and make a comparison in two years’ time, asking what was it for, has it been maintained, what research was done and does it still function?