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Survey finds M’sian varsities adapted well to disruption by pandemic

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is ranked highest among 21 countries for universities that stepped in to provide online learning resources, after in-person teaching was halted because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A poll found that among the 21 countries surveyed, a total of 97% of Malaysian undergraduate students said their universities provided these resources, just ahead of China (96%), Indonesia (96%) and South Korea (95%).

The survey by Chegg.org, a nonprofit arm of education provider Chegg, polled 500 Malaysian undergraduate students from a total of almost 17,000 undergraduate students aged between 18 and 21.

The findings also show that 78% of Malaysian tertiary students prefer more online learning if it means paying lower tuition fees, the second highest among the countries surveyed after Canada (83%) and equal to China (78%).

“Nearly seven in 10 (69%) Malaysian students also said their professors know how to teach effectively online, the third highest of all the countries polled after China (79%) and Saudi Arabia (73%).

“The survey further shows that nearly eight in 10 (79%) Malaysian students say if it was cheaper, they would prefer their university degree take a shorter amount of time to complete, the third highest after Kenya (86%) and Indonesia (80%), ” the survey organiser said in a statement on Friday (Feb 26).

About 44% of Malaysian students also said the problem of unequal wealth distribution (the rich getting richer, while the poor get poorer) is the biggest issue they feel is facing their generation, while only a quarter (25%) think ethnic minorities are well represented at their university.

“One thing that unites students around the globe is that they have experienced first-hand the greatest disruption to education the world has ever known.

“This survey shows how the pandemic has laid bare for students that the higher education model needs to be reimagined, shorter, on-demand, personalised and provide scalable support.

“Technology and online learning are a permanent part of modern education, and should dramatically reduce the cost of learning and make it more skills-based, ” Chegg chief executive officer and president Dan Rosensweig said.

Chegg.org head and Chegg Social Impact director Lila Thomas said students globally have said that the biggest issues facing their generation are access to quality jobs and growing inequality.

Addressing these challenges, she said, is more important than ever in the wake of economic devastation due to Covid-19.

“Education is the key, ” she said.

Reference