Update: Kolej Universiti Teknikal Kebangsaan Malaysia (KUTKM) has changed its name to Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM).
First of all I do apologize for an extended hiatus that I have taken. I am currently enrolled in a local public university called Kolej Universiti Teknikal Kebangsaan Malaysia (KUTKM), which is a relatively new pubic university in the state of Melaka.
In this post today, it is my hope that I can tackle the stigma associated with being admitted into a local college university, instead of the so called 'full fledged' university that many people have misconceptions about. I also hope that by starting a dialogue, students who are keen to find out more about college universities will now have an avenue in which to voice their enquiries rather than continue ignoring it.
First of all, it is true that I have not chosen this place in any of my eight selections of the BPKP registration procedure. While I sometimes struggle to come to terms with the fact that my friends of similar CGPA is able to study in universities such as USM and UKM, I realized that it was a futile and ultimately dissatisfying way in which to continue my life in tertiary education. Hence as time passes, the circumstances which I have spent time trying to understand eventually turned into something that I derieve pleasure from instead.
What is a college university exactly (Referred hence as KU)? Well, the oldest KU has been around for more than thirty years and have grown to encompass several disciplines of studies. The more notable ones are KUSTEM and KUKUM. Most of my observations are however based on my own KU, KUTKM, which is if I am not mistaken the newest KU, opening in 2001. As such, any deviations of my observations from other KU is sincerely regretted.
The history of my particular KU is that it used to be a faculty that had ties with UTM. In fact, there was another KU that also used to have ties with UTM, which were eventually severed and out of that a new KU was born. I am not sure of the exact nature of the ties, but I am told by my seniors that many of the teaching staff still maintain close relations with UTM.
Nevertheless, as a result of these ties, KUTKM is purely an engineering university. All five faculties award engineering degrees and with the exception of FTMK (the IT faculty), all graduates from KUTKM can legally refer to themselves as engineers. Our universities also have close ties with German engineering Ecole Polytechniques and many of the staff at KUTKM have continued their Masters there. The syllabus is also supposedly created with close scrutiny of the German Ecole's own.
The reason why KUTKM is conferred a university college status is because first and foremost their specialization in only the engineering discipline. The second is that with less than 10,000 students, they cannot refer to themselves as a full fledged university. This is akin to a town, which can only be conferred a full city status upon reaching a certain population.
As a result of this, classes in KU usually have a very desirable teacher:student ratio. In my own class, we only have 18 students, so the teachers are able to devote time for each student. Lecturers also have a comparatively open schedule and can be approached easily as their responsibilities are only towards a small pool of students.
Indeed, the more established KUs are virtually indistinguishable from other universities both in terms of diversity and student population. As my own KU is relatively new, there are some annoying inconveniences that I have to put up with, chiefly the lack of a proper campus for my own faculty.
Recently, the government have announced that the college will probably be dropped from the name of the university, but I feel somewhat ambivalent on this as it would mean removing the distinguishing feature of many KU, which is the specializing of that KU in a particular field (engineering in my own, for example). Nonetheless, it is felt that the removal would allow less stigma to be attached to the name. I personally don't really agree in the significance of names per se, but that's just me.
I hope that you have learnt some things from this article. I plan to write more in the future regarding life in KUTKM, and I am open to any enquiries. Just attach a comment with your questions and I will try my best to get back with you in a timely manner.
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