Friday, February 20, 2009

My Hero

After what seems to be a semester long-gone by, I flip the papers today and I see a familiar face in it.

Picture courtesy of ST PHOTO: SAMUEL HE

The story goes that apparently Prof Michael Heng (also mentioned in my HRM journey here) has probably had it quite enough with NTU’s process of awarding the tenure to their staff.

Now any student in NTU will probably profess that the standard of their lecturers have more room for improvement above anything else. Even though they ‘claim’ that there’s a list of things that they look at when they re-contract their lecturers/professors, any student will tell you that it’s just a pile of crap. All they want is research papers.. even an article sometime ago on the NewPaper mentioned this.

It’s common knowledge that the lecturers who have stayed on in NTU are just good at publishing papers. It’s evident when you look around and see that there are some who seriously can’t lecture/teach/mentor for nuts, you can’t understand a thing they say, they have no heart in teaching, it’s so evident that no one’s benefiting from them, but yet, they are still there semester after semester, year after year.

Yet, there are the few who are so good at teaching, get wonderful teaching feedback, are so helpful and genuinely interested in the student’s academic and learning process, but yet, they have left/did not get their contract renewed. And you wonder what’s going on..

It’s simple, the students aren’t the customers in NTU. The interested of NTU is clearly and evidently not in the standard of it’s students.. they’re just more interested in trying to publish papers in their name to try to UP their overall rankings. But sadly, the adverse is only so and it’s a dumb strategy if you’d ask me, we all know that the ranking for NTU has dropped and even the head says that it’s an ‘impossible’ thing to happen. But it has. What irony.

The fact that Prof Heng and the other profs actually went their way to get some closure on this matter just goes to show the seriousness of the condition in NTU. It takes someone like him who’s willing to fight for what he believes, and I respect him so. It’s probably also about time that NTU sorted itself out. First there was the ridiculous triple-sharing thing that they proposed, then this.. sometimes it really just feels like NTU’s not so much an institute but more like a money-hungry orgranisation. So really, if you’re doing ur A-levels, completed ur diploma or coming out of the army.. do consider wisely if this is such an environment you’d want to be in. For me, I’m just glad to be coming out in a few months.

On a side note, reading the full article on the Straits Times, it seems Prof Heng’s the only one willing to put his name down, the others who were interviewed merely did so on condition of their anonymity.. now that’s a man who’s true to his words, practicing what he preaches, daring to stand by what he says and fighting for it. That’s the kind of man I admire. No apologies, No nonsense, No bullshit from NTU.

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