"Suggestion Box"


Written on 10/15/2005 07:51:00 pm by sikapitan

I am glad that a reader asked my opinion on campus elections. I have been studying at a public university for the past 4 and ½ years (hello…no “carry” paper k? memang lama tauu…), and frankly speaking, every year the elections serve nothing more than to highlight how useless students’ representation really is. I know some might disagree, but this is of course a personal observation.

I never got involved in all these elections to be part of the Student Council, nor do I see any one of my peers really seeking out any post in it. Last year’s was a bit interesting, because one of the candidates was not that bad looking (chauvinistic pig anyone?) but every other election went by without leaving any impact on me or my colleagues. We still have the same problem with getting parking space for students, my faculty keeps getting shoved all over campus… I do not really see the “Majlis Perwakilan Pelajar” as really representing the voice of students. I know the perks of being in the whole set-up is that you get to go to overseas trips sponsored by the University (at least that’s the practice in my uni). Perhaps, and because I know one of my readers has just successfully been elected to be a part of this charade (congrats dude), they should bring up a few issues that have been bothering me lately…

Like students being hauled-up by the disciplinary committee for failure to vote in the said election. I remember this year’s election for that very reason – the threat of disciplinary election if you do not vote. Sad as it may sound, because everyone seems to think the student body is useless, there is no real motivation to go and vote. Some went simply because there are free drinks being handed out. Most voted because they hate the whole idea of being hauled-up. Weird, because I always thought the right to vote includes the right NOT to vote…

I am also concerned with the recent direction my University, and specifically my faculty, is taking when it comes to dealing with students’ attendance. Notices are made listing down students who have failed to comply with the strict requirement that you’re only allowed to skip 3 classes (lectures AND tutorials) per subject without any reason. These students are then forced to face the Disciplinary Board, with failure to do so resulting in them being suspended for the whole semester.

I find this whole idea of forced-attendance unnecessary. Maybe that is because there is every chance my name would be up there as well with hundreds of others. But more because I’ve discovered that if you find the lecture interesting, or essential, you would be more likely to go on your own free will. Take away the compulsory attendance bit, and you would still find students in lectures, not because they’re forced to, but because they WANT to. There are many types of students out there, and to assume that those who do not go to classes will not do well (though this assumption is seldom wrong) while those who attend every class do is just not right.

I believe that there comes a stage in a students’ life where it must be left to them to decide what they want to do. If they feel they can do well without going to classes, then so be it. What harm does this do to the University? The one carrying the burden is the student and the student only. It is his future. Would it make any difference if someone attends classes simply because he is forced to, and during class, he just dozes off? I can’t see why such a big fuss is being made over students who do not go to classes and did NOT do well. They should be concerned with students who DO go to classes and yet fail to deliver when it matters.

None of these is as important as getting us students proper parking place. I am sorry, this complaint might sound a bit “manja”. But to me, it is a reflection of a University’s ambition (or lack thereof), when they fail to realize the growing affluence of students and fail to take the fact that more young people are driving cars these days into account when planning and managing faculties.

This is not London. It is hot and humid. We park so far that by the time we reach classes we need a change of clothes (from the sweat, get it?). But anyway, despite these complains, I am more than thankful for the experiences that my Uni has somehow, inadvertently provided. When you complain, it does not mean you hate. Go figure.

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