Master Your Future
The number of students pursuing post-graduate studies has grown exponentially over the past two decades in the quest to excel.
WHEN I was a student in the 80s, undertaking an undergraduate degree was something really momentous.
You looked at your seniors enrolled in a bachelor’s degree in a university with awe and admiration.
These people were a rare breed and an inspiration to a whole generation of baby boomers. Back then, not many people went to university.
Statistics provided by the Education Ministry showed that less than 2% of the population aged between 18 and 24 had a tertiary education in 1980.
Things, however, changed dramatically by 2007, when almost 25% of the population in that age group were studying in local universities.
Not only are there more students enrolling in undergraduate programmes today, there is also more interest in advanced postgraduate education.
In 1987, the total number of students enrolled in a masters or doctoral degree programme in Malaysia was a meagre 3,600. By 2008, some two decades later, this number had grown to approximately 58,000.
It is apparent that there has been tremendous growth in the demand for postgraduate courses. So, why do more Malaysians want to pursue postgraduate education?
I would like to think that we register for a postgraduate programme for the pursuit of knowledge for knowledge’s sake.
We desire to undertake postgraduate studies because it’s enlightening, enjoyable and motivating.
A postgraduate education can be more intellectually challenging than an undergraduate programme as it explores knowledge in a more in-depth and critical manner.
There is also substantial personal satisfaction to be gained from exchanging ideas with other like-minded individuals who share our passion in a particular subject.
A postgraduate degree would enable us to develop a deeper understanding of a specific subject area that may be an extension of our first degree.
If we enrol in a research degree we can potentially make a real impact in the relevant subject area by filling the gaps in knowledge and theory, or finding something totally new that may reshape the particular discipline itself.
But perhaps a more ostensible reason for undertaking a postgraduate education may be economically driven.
A postgraduate degree can potentially provide a distinct advantage for job applicants, particularly when competition is fierce.
by Dr. Foo Yin Fah.