AUKU: Implications and Challenges in the Context of Student

Taylor’s University
AUKU: Implications and Challenges in the
Context of Student Development
Professor Malachi Edwin Vethamani
AUKU was set up with a purpose of managing
student activity on campuses of institutions of
tertiary education
Primary focus was to set parameters on student
activities, especially in relation to politics
Over the years the Act has been amended and
has been become more liberalised
Implications of the Act
Can students be managed? Should students be managed?
"Our young people in Burma have not had this freedom for the last
few decades. University life has been shattered because of a
perceived need to keep students in order. That’s not possible:
everybody knows that students can’t be kept in order! So we
shouldn’t spend our time on such a futile and really undesirable
mission. I would like to see university life restored to Burma in all
its glory.”
Aung Saan Suu Kyi
Too controversial a view for Malaysia?
Managing students
Students as citizens and their rights
Students’ age is generally 18 years and
Majority of university students are NOT
minors and want the rights of Malaysian adults
This will include involvement in political
activity – here lies the problem
AUKU and the Public HEI students
AUKU was implemented to ensure students focus on
their studies and their academic performance was not
negatively affected by political activism
Generally, public HEI students seem to have interest
in political activism
Many students in public HEI are also government
scholars or receive some form of government aid
As such, the government has a vested interest in them
AUKU and Private HEI Students
Generally, there seems to be a distinct
difference between students in private and
public HEIs
Students in private HEIs seem less involved in
political activism
This could be because the students have
different priorities
AUKU and Private HEI Students
Possible reasons for less student political
More self-paying students
High fees for studies
More focused on academic achievement less
politically active
Student composition in terms of ethnicity
Does AUKU impede student development?
Need to see student development in a broader context:
Political activism is one form of student growth and
There seems to be an over-emphasis on this aspect of
student activity
Student development can be seen through various
other student activities that are carried out in HEIs
How do universities prepare their students for life
after the university
Taylor’s University’s Core Purpose
To educate the youth of the world to take their
productive place as leaders in the global
Student Development in terms of Graduate Capabilities
What capabilities do HEIs want in their
students at the end of their studies and does
AUKU impede these capabilities?
Many universities both local and international
explicitly state what they would provide in
terms of student development
Taylor’s Graduate Capabilities
Discipline Specific Knowledge
Life-long learning
Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills
Communication Skills
Inter-personal Skills
Intra-personal Skills
Citizenship and Global Perspectives
Digital Literacy
“Un-demonizing” AUKU
AUKU has been implemented for a purpose
The process of liberalization has begun
Need to focus on student development in a
broader and more holistic manner
Student development in HEI should focus
more on social aspects less on political through
service learning programmes, community
engagement projects and community service