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“For the nation’s future!” Here’s Why These M’sian Youths Are Fighting For Higher Education Reform


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Source: HEYA

Pursuing higher education means we should be free to nurture our minds and gather new knowledge. However, in Malaysia, this freedom might not be as accessible to everyone. This is also why some Malaysians believe that our higher education system needs reform.


So, why does Malaysia need a higher education reform?

Malaysian Students Flickr

According to a study called Academic Freedom Index (AFI) in 2020, Malaysia has only managed to achieve Grade C in this assessment. The AFI is based on five key indicators which include:

  1. Freedom to research and teach
  2. Freedom to academic exchange and dissemination
  3. Institutional autonomy
  4. Campus integrity
  5. Freedom of academic and cultural expression

If you’re wondering about the reasoning behind our country’s low score in this assessment, the answer could lie in The University and University College Act 1971 (AUKU) which allows political interference in the higher education institutions in Malaysia. This should NOT happen!

Malaysia Group Of Students Walking Outside 2016

Higher education institutions should be considered a safe place for our students to learn new knowledge while preparing them with the necessary skills to pursue their aspiring careers. If political interference is allowed on campus, it can take away from the experience of our students. Due to this, a determined organisation has started taking some actions to combat this situation.


Meet HEYA, the youths who are taking matters into their own hands

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Higher Education Malaysia Association (HEYA) is a Malaysian student-led organisation and they have recently worked with the Centre for Governance and Political Studies (Cent-GPS) to hold a nationwide survey where they found that 74% of our youths believe that they should be allowed to participate in politics and have healthy discussions about it. This is because:

  • It allows students to be more aware of what is going on in the country
  • It encourages them to understand national policies as well as how to improve them

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As we always say, today’s youths are tomorrow’s leaders. Thus, it is important for us to shape these students’ minds to not only excel in academic aspects but to also be aware of their surrounding environment and important issues.

This is why HEYA and Cent-GPS recently held an event called Political Party Advocacy to shed some much-needed light on this issue.

Through this event, HEYA and Cent-GPS managed to have a closed-door meeting with 23 politicians from eight different parties, which are:

  • UMNO
  • Bersatu
  • PAS
  • Pakatan Harapan
  • Parti Keadilan Rakyat
  • Parti MUDA
  • Pejuang
  • Warisan


What was the outcome of the meeting?

University Malaya Student Discussion Group Project Assignment Work

HEYA’s ultimate goal is to advocate for higher education reform in Malaysia. To achieve that, they’ve presented various suggestions to improve our higher education system and they managed to gather positive responses from the politicians which include:

  • One politician supported the idea of having non-partisan involvement in the Board of Directors and Governance of universities.
  • Another politician is interested in a future collaboration between HEYA and Cent-GPS to propose an application to further understand and raise awareness on the issues of civic education.
  • One politician suggested the main reforms that should be addressed quickly are the unionship of students in universities, political interference, and ensuring students are allowed to fight for what they believe in.


What Malaysians can take away from this issue


It is important for us to realise the importance of this issue as this can heavily impact our younger generations who will, one day, become the future leaders of our nation. To show support for this matter, the best thing we can do is to spread some awareness about this to the people around us, especially to our youths, so we can voice out our concerns in order to improve our education system.

Malaysians can also make sure to follow HEYA on Instagram so that they can stay updated with all the latest news from them.


Source: The Wire
Source: HEYA
Source: HEYA
Source: MMU

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