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					Institutional Restructuring in Higher Education:
                  Asian Universities

               A Case Study of the
            Academic Restructuring at
          Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

         Imran Ho Abdullah, Muhammad Yahaya &
             Mohd. Abd. Rashid Mohd. Fadzil

List of Tables & Figures                                          iii

    I. National Challenges in Higher Education                    1-6
          1. The challenges
          2. National governance of higher education

   II. The Response of UKM                                       7-17
          1. A brief history of UKM
          2. The challenges and the restructuring exercise at
          3. The restructuring process
          4. The rationale and principles in the restructuring

  III. The Present Study                                         18-21
          1. Objectives
          2. A description of selected components of the

  IV. Findings and Discussion                                    22-33
         1. Data summary

   V. Conclusion and Recommendations                             34-35

      References                                                  36



Figure 1: Challenges to Higher Education in Malaysia                    4


Table 1: Total Enrolment and staff statistics in Malaysian‟s Public
Institutes of Higher Learning (2002)                                     4
Table 2. Objectives and Methodology of the study                        19
Table 3. Questionnaire Response Rate                                    20
Table 4: Format of the Questionnaire                                    20
Table 5: Areas of major changes according to groups surveyed            25
Table 6. Administrators‟ opinion on the benefits of restructuring       26
Table 7. Academic Staffs‟ opinion on the benefits of restructuring      26
Table 8. Support Staffs‟ opinion on the benefits of restructuring       27
Table 9. Students’ opinion on the improvements brought about by the
restructuring                                                           27
Table 10. Opinion on the level of autonomy in the restructuring         28
Table 11. Academic Staffs‟ opinion on certain aspects of the academic
restructuring.                                                          29
Table 12. Support staffs‟ opinion on the effect of institutional
restructuring.                                                          30
Table 13. Students‟ opinion on some aspects of restructuring.           31


1. The Challenges

Higher education is an integral component in achieving Malaysia‟s vision towards being
a developed nation. The main objective of higher education is to provide qualified and
high quality work force for the nation‟s development. (Hassan Said 2003). A specialist
and knowledgeable work force will provide the catalyst for growth and progress in an
era of global competition and competitiveness.

Concomitant with that, the Malaysian Government plans to make Malaysia a regional
hub for higher education services. In order to become the educational hub for the region,
Malaysia needs to strive to attain regional, if not world-renowned academic excellence.
Hence, the quality of all academic programmes is emphasised.                 To enable
internationalization of higher education, the Malaysian public universities will have to
ensure that their academic programmes are in compliance with international standards
and are benchmarked against similar programmes in premier universities overseas.
With such practices in place, universities would be operating according to international
standards in their core business of providing quality higher education. The
establishment of the National Accreditation Board (LAN) and the Code of Practices for
Quality Assurance as well as the Malaysian Qualification Framework ensure that
programmes offered by the various institutions of higher learning in Malaysia attain a
certain respectable standard.

At the same time, higher education in Malaysia continues to be a key factor in the
construction of a balanced socio-economic milieu in Malaysia. At the same time, there is
a need to satisfy the demand for higher education and providing access to higher
education for all Malaysians. In line with this, the government enacted the Private
Higher Education Institution Act 1996, which saw the number of private institutes of
higher learning increased markedly in the country, complementing the public
universities as providers of tertiary education.    Such a move was in line with the
democratization of education to provide more educational opportunities to as many
Malaysians as possible and to achieve the vision of becoming the regional educational
hub. The move was also seen as an effective way to reduce the outflow of Ringgit
overseas due to high number of Malaysian studying abroad. However, Anuwar Ali
(2000) observes that establishment of a number of private universities has created a new
higher education scenario which is more interesting, but equally complex and
challenging for policy makers. Mohd Salleh Mohd Yasin (2003) comments that active
involvement of the private sector in higher education is challenging because the new
situation opens up new intellectual horizons but cautions that the quantitative change
will bring along with it qualitative changes, sometimes with unintended consequences.
Furthermore, the increase in student population following the sudden increase of new
colleges and universities are a source of strain to the existing infrastructure facilities,
teaching staff and academic standard.

Other equally important factors which have led to the need for academic institutional
rethinking, i.e. institutional restructuring nationwide is the rapid pace of ICT
advancement and the process of globalisation and liberalization. Mohd Salleh Mohd
Yasin (2003) notes that the public universities clearly need a newly defined role taking
into consideration their traditional strengths, niches and overall potentialities. This can
be expressed either nationally through the combined efforts of all universities or
individually at the university level. He adds that “the impact of technological progress
and innovations in many areas means that universities too have to play a greater role in
producing graduates with competencies in many critical areas or disciplines comparable
to graduates from leading universities from other parts of the world”. He believes that
to achieve this the university should plan its curriculum development, which is
competitive at the national and global levels in line with the development in other
universities, the world over. In response to the labour market, it is imperative that the
academic curriculum is adjusted whenever necessary to meet new needs in the work
environment as well as to incorporate new disciplines and specializations in the

curriculum.    This would inevitably allow the graduates an increased degree of
flexibility, greater creativity and capacity for critical thinking. Aspect of quality also
extends to the products from the institute of higher learning. In this respect, the nation
demands that our graduates are knowledgeable and well-rounded students who are
able to contribute effective to the nation and to society.

Public universities in Malaysia, as elsewhere, have also come under intense scrutiny of
by the public and government. There are now higher expectations and demands for
accountability and quality from the public universities that are allocated substantial
amount of public funding annually. For instance, the 2003 operation expenditure for the
public universities amounted to well in excess of RM 4 billion, and the development
allocation for the universities in the 8th Malaysian Plan amounts to over RM 7 billion.
Thus, there is certain amount of pressure for universities to generate their own income
to meet their operational budget as well as to commercialise their research. In 1998, the
corporatisation of the various public universities was initiated with the main thrust of
the corporatisation exercise being focused on towards a more effective and accountable
management system. However, the corporatisation of public universities did not extend
to financial matters as the universities bursars are subjected to the same circular and
regulations of the Malaysian treasury and the universities emolument structure are still
under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission. Even on the determination of
students fees, the universities are subjected to the Education Ministry guidelines.
Although there is some delegation of powers on some financial matters, for instance on
procedures pertaining to tender, on the whole, the public universities have not been
given total autonomy and the financial structure of the universities is akin to most
government agencies and is audited by the Auditor General. Nevertheless,
corporatisation has allowed universities to set up their respective companies to generate
income for the universities while holding on to the their core business of providing high
quality tertiary education to as many qualified Malaysians as possible. The various
challenges in higher education in Malaysia can be summed up in Figure 1 (cf. Nirwan
Idrus 2003).

To meet the various challenges and trends in higher education, mentioned above, the
Malaysian government, especially the Ministry of Education have embarked on
educational    reforms   through   legislations,   organizational   changes   (as   in     the
establishment of the Higher Education Division in the Ministry in 1995 to oversee,
coordinate and ensure quality) and also made changes to the governance structure of the
universities through the corporatisation initiative. The universities, in response, have
also embarked on and undertaken initiatives to review, strategise and reprioritise their
missions and objectives. The review also took into consideration aspects of institutional
restructuring and governance, that are needed towards meeting the national challenges
to higher education in Malaysia.

                  Figure 1. Challenges to Higher Education in Malaysia

                                    ADVANCES IN ICT

       CHANGING                         Higher Education                   Educational
                                                                          Reforms (Acts)

      Economic
      Social & Value                 Quality                            Organizational
                                      Accountability                       Changes
      Political                      Relevance
      Academic                       Increased Public and
                                       Government’s Expectations          Governance &
                                                                         Funding Changes


2. National Governance of Higher Education

Currently, there are 11 public institutes of higher learning (universities and college
universities) in Malaysia. The difference between the universities and college

universities is in terms of size and focus. While most universities are comprehensive, the
college universities offer specialisation in selected disciplines and fields of study. The
2002 enrolment and staff statistics at the various public institutes of higher learning are
presented in Table 1.

             Table 1: Total enrolment and staff statistics in Malaysia’s
                      public institutes of higher learning (2002)
                   Diploma                                    90,000
                   Undergraduates                            200,000
                   Postgraduates                              30,000
                   Oversea students                            5,200
                   Academic staff                             16,000
                   Non-academic staff                         22,000

As mentioned earlier, to effectively manage and coordinate higher education in
Malaysia as well as to oversee higher educational reforms in Malaysia a Department of
Higher Education in the Ministry of Education was established in 1995 with the
responsibility for the planning and formulation of policies as well as the overall
development of public higher educational institutions. In the following year through the
National Council for Higher Education Act 1996, a Council responsible for the planning
and formulation of policies and strategies related to the development of higher
education in Malaysia was established with the Department of Higher Education
serving as the secretariat to the Council.

In addition, in order to meet the challenges outlined in the section above, the Malaysian
government has also enacted several pieces of legislation towards realizing the strategies
in higher education. These include the following legislations, which provide for the
various initiatives in higher education in Malaysia:

       Akta Pendidikan Baru (1996) – New Education Act (1996)
       Akta Universiti dan Kolej Universiti (1996) – Universities and University Colleges
        Act (1996)

       Akta Institut Pendidikan Tinggi Swasta (1996) – Private Higher Education
        Institution Act (1996)
       Akta Majlis Pendidikan Tinggi (1996) – National Council on Higher Education (1996)
       Akta Lembaga Akreditasi Kebangsaan (1996) – National Accreditation Board Act
       Akta Lembaga Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Negara (1997) – National Higher
        Education Fund Board Act (1997)

In conclusion, the challenges to higher education posed by various factors such as
advancement in information communication technology and globalisation (competition
and competitiveness), coupled with changing trends in society and the economy (k-
economy) have dictated that higher education in Malaysia pay attention to issues of
quality, accountability, relevance, public and government expectations and meet these
challenges head on through appropriate responses. In this respect, reforms or new
initiatives in the form of legislation, institutional restructuring and changes in
governance have been introduced. In the next section of the report, we will examine how
UKM has responded to some of the challenges via academic / institutional


1. A brief history of UKM

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) (literally, National University of Malaysia) is a
relatively young institution having only celebrated its 30th year anniversary at the turn
of the millennium. However, the aspiration and the appeal for the establishment of a
national university began as early as the 1920s during colonial days. Even then, the
Malay intellectuals and political elites were urging the British Colonial Administration
to provide higher education for the Malays. The establishment of such an institution was
seen as a necessity to mendaulatkan (elevate and adulate) the Malay language in the
nation and also to enhance the economic value of the Malay language.

With independence in 1958, Malay became the national and official language of the
federation and the need to establish a national university became more urgent. The
resolutions of the Language & Literature Seminar held at the Language Teachers
Training College in 1963 and the National Language Seminar at University of Malaya in
1966 called for the establishment of a national university. In 1968, several Malay
intellectuals, among them Zainal Abidin Wahid, A. Bakar Hamid, Tunku Shamsul
Bahrin, Zain A. Majid, Mohd. Ghazali A. Rahman and S. Husin Ali conceptualised a
national university within the realities and context of Malaysian political history. Such a
university was viewed as both an educational and a political necessity. Politically, a
national university was an imperative as such a university represented the tertiary phase
in the national education system and is integral to the system as a whole. In terms of the
education continuum, a national university is a necessity to cater to the large number of
students in secondary education, especially those in the Malay medium, whose numbers
have increased rapidly since the inception of the national education system. Various
writers‟ guilds, youth associations, cultural association, students‟ bodies and educators
alike supported this concept of a national university, which embodied the desire and
consciousness of the Malays.

Consequently, a UKM Steering Committee was established and a report prepared in
1969 that eventually led to the establishment of UKM on the 18th May 1970 through an
act of Parliament. Initially, UKM was located in a temporary campus in Lembah Pantai,
Kuala Lumpur and subsequently in 1977 moved to the current campus in Bangi. The
founding of the university represents the realisation of a struggle of the Malay
intellectuals and the fulfillment of the aspiration of all Malaysians.

With an initial intake of 192 students, the newly established university consisted of three
pioneer faculties – the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Islamic
Studies. Three years later in 1973, the Faculty of Medicine and the Institute of Malay
Language, Literature and Culture were established in response to the sensitivity and the
demand of Malaysian society. Subsequently, in 1974, in line with the growth and
expansion of knowledge and academic programmes, the Arts Faculty was renamed the
Social Science and Humanities to take into account the two major fields in the Arts and
to cater to increasing number of students. At the same time, the Department of
Economics in the Arts Faculty became the anchor for a new Faculty of Economics and
Management (which later in 1979 expanded into two separate specialised faculties – the
Faculty of Economics and the Faculty of Business Management). In that same year, the
Sabah branch campus of UKM was officially established to enhance the opportunities
for students in Sabah and Sarawak to receive higher education and also to enhance
national integration through the educational process. Five years later, in 1979, the
Faculty of Science and Natural Resource was established at the Sabah Campus of UKM
with unique academic programmes of its own.

In the 80s, the continuous rapid expansion of both undergraduate and graduate
programmes also witnessed an increase in student numbers that in turn led to the
establishment of several new faculties. These included the partition of the Faculty of
Science into three separate entities in 1982 - the Faculty of Physical & Applied Sciences;
the Faculty of Life Sciences; and the Centre for Quantitative Studies (which in 1991 was
renamed the Faculty of Mathematics & Computer Science).              In 1983, a Centre for

Graduate Studies and a Centre for General Studies was established followed by the
Engineering Faculty, the Law Faculty and the Language Centre in 1984 and the Faculty
of Education in 1986. Both the Language Centre and the Faculty of Education were off
shoots from the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities. The Language Centre was
subsequently renamed the Faculty of Language Studies in 1996.

In the 90s, further growth and specialisation, national and market demand as well as the
expansion of technology especially in Information Technology saw the formation of the
Faculty of Allied Health Sciences in 1991, and the birth of two separate faculties from the
Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Sciences in 1994             - namely the Faculty of
Mathematical Sciences and the Faculty of Technology and Information Science.

Apart from development in the academic faculties, the 90s also saw the emergence of
several research centres. These centres of excellence embodied the maturing and the
consolidation of research niches and research strengths at UKM. Firstly, the Institute of
Malay Language, Literature and Culture (IBKKM), the first research centre for Malay
studies of its kind in Malaysia, established as early as 1972 was renamed the Institute of
Malay World and Civilization (ATMA) in 1993 to better reflect the scope of research
undertaken at the institute. In 1995, the Institute of Malaysia and International Studies
(IKMAS) was established as a centre of excellence for research and postgraduate
teaching in the fields of social sciences and humanities. A year later, in October 1994, the
Institute for Environment and Development (LESTARI) was established as a multi-
disciplinary research centre with a focus on the environment and sustainable
development following on from the resolutions of the United Nations World Summit in
Rio de Janeiro in 1992.      In January 2003, the Institute of Microengineering and
Nanoelectronics (IMEN) was officially established with research concentration in six
major research themes: MEMS, high frequency technology for telecommunication
(collaboration with TMR&D), VLSI system, photonics, organics electronics and
nanoelectronics. In the same year, two other research institutes, namely the Medical
Molecular Biology Institute (UMBI) and Institute for Space Research (Angkasa) were
established in line with the growing stature of UKM as a research university.

Up to 2001, UKM has contributed 75,153 graduates (69,799 at the undergraduate level,
5,008 Masters and 366 PhDs) an average of 2500 graduates per year to the national
educated “work force”. In three decades of its existence, UKM has also emerged from
being a “national” university to one where the students from all over the world come to
seek knowledge. Apart from that, UKM has also contributed immensely to the
advancement and growth in the medical sciences, engineering, science and technology;
agriculture; business; arts and social sciences. It is thus not surprising that UKM has
been earmarked by the Malaysian Ministry of Education as a premier public research
university in the country. In line with the rapid expansion of knowledge and ever
increasing specialisation, UKM has grown from a university with three faculties to
seventeen faculties before the restructuring exercise at UKM began in earnest. Academic
staff numbers have also increased many folds seen the early days. Currently, the
university employs over 1,700 full-time academic staff, consisting of 150 Professors, 347
Associate Professors, 985 lecturers, 80 teachers and 161 tutors.

2. The challenges and restructuring exercise at UKM

As early as 1996, UKM was examining and debating the changing trends in higher
education and the critical demands on academia especially matters related to relevance
and quality of academic programmes, new inclinations in academic programmes, as
well as issues related to governance and funding.

There was also realisation that the expansion and growth of UKM and also the return of
branch campus‟s faculties to the main campus, has inevitably led to overlaps in courses
and resources. These were wasteful, to say the least, in view of demand for more
accountability in public institutions of higher learning. At the same time the “branching
out” and formation of numerous faculties has led to a tendency towards narrow
specialisation in academic programmes against the trend of multi-disciplinarism and
liberal education.

Another event that bears on the restructuring exercise is the issue of corporatisation. The
governance of UKM was effectively “corporatised” on March 15th. 1998. In line with the
corporatisation, the University Council was replaced by a University Board of Directors.
The Vice Chancellor was no longer just the Academic Head of the university but also its
Chief Executive Officer. The corporatised status of the university allowed it to form
business entities and in response, the UKM Holdings Sdn. Bhd. was formed on March
8th 2001 under the Companies Act (1965). In essence, with changes in the governance of
the public universities through the corporatisation of the management, public
institutions of higher learning not only have to become more accountable in the fashion
of good corporate governance, more competitive, and more responsive to stake holders‟
demands but they also need to actively generate income towards meeting their
operating costs in order that the ratio of government funding can be reduced

As part of the response to the above matters, UKM embarked on several “restructuring”
exercises. Among these are the restructuring of the science faculties, which saw the
amalgamation of four science faculties and the formation of the Faculty of Science and
Technology on July 19th 1999. This was followed by the formation of the new Faculty of
Social Sciences & Humanities (FSSK) on November 15th. 2001 through the amalgamation
of the Faculty of Language Studies, the Faculty of Developmental Sciences and the
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (FSKK). [The present case study will focus on
this faculty]. Both these restructuring effectively abolished the traditional academic
departments with the formation of schools or centre of studies. In the former, five
schools namely the School of Bioscience & Biotechnology, the School of Applied Physics,
the School of Chemical Sciences and Food Technology, the School of Mathematical
Sciences and the School of Environmental Science and Natural Resources. In the latter,
six schools were formed namely the School of Language Studies and Linguistics, the
School of Malay Language, Literature and Culture, the School of Media and
Communication Studies, the School of Social, Development and Environment Studies,
the School of Psychology and Human Development, and the School of History, Politics

and Strategic Studies. Currently, the Faculty of Economics and the Faculty of Business
Management are in the process of being merged into a single Faculty of Economics and
Business. Other faculties have also been advised to restructure internally to meet the
academic challenges of the new millennium. It must also be noted that apart from the
academic restructuring, the Registrar office and the Bursar office have also been
internally restructured.

3. The restructuring process

In line with the challenges of the new millennium, on 8th. June 1996, the University
Council proposed that a review of the academic faculties and department in UKM which
at that point consisted of 17 Faculties / Centres and 3 Institutes offering 113
programmes be conducted. The University Management Meeting on 1st April 1997
studied the Vice Chancellor‟s Working Paper on the matter and agreed to form a
Restructuring Committee to examine and make recommendations for a subsequent
university retreat.

On 3rd April 1997, the Main Committee on the Restructuring of Academic Faculties and
Departments in UKM met and established sub-committees to suggest different options
and model for restructuring and the changes and actions that needed to be taken
university wide. The deliberations and suggestions of these sub-committees were
discussed at a university retreat 1st - 3rd August 1997. The main issues discussed at the
retreat included the following matters:

            a. Status of current programmes and directions for new programmes;
            b. Strategic directions in knowledge and management;
            c. Proposal for restructuring at the University level;
            d. The foundations and suggestions for restructuring at the faculty and
                departmental level;
            e. Centres of Excellence;

            f.   The development and management of human resources;
            g. Activity-based costing;
            h. Development and application of Information technology; and
            i.   Lessons to be learnt form experiences of restructuring at other
                 universities worldwide.

The deliberations at the Retreat affirmed the existence of three knowledge groups
(rumpun ilmu) in UKM, namely:

            a. The Health Sciences group – encompassing the Faculty of Medicine,
                 Allied Health Sciences and Dentistry;
            b. The Science & Technology group – encompassing the Faculty of Life
                 Sciences, Physical and Applied Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Science
                 and Natural Resources, Technology and Information Science and
            c. Social Development Sciences group – encompassing the Faculty of Islam
                 Studies, Law, Social Sciences and Humanities, Language Studies,
                 Education, Business Management and Economy.

The University Management Meeting on the 7th October 1997 agreed that the 4 science
faculties pioneer the academic restructuring efforts to be followed by the social sciences.
Meanwhile, the University Council on 13th. December 1997 endorsed the restructuring
proposal arrived at during the university retreat. On 11th July 1998, the newly formed
Board of Directors endorsed the proposal for the restructuring and merger of four
Science faculties, namely the Faculty of Life Sciences, the Faculty of Physical and
Applied Sciences, the Faculty of Mathematical Sciences, and the Faculty of Science and
Natural Resources. The academic restructuring began in earnest when the UKM Senate
in its 279th meeting on the 18th November 1998 established the Senate Committee on the
Sciences (Pengajian Rumpun Sains) to detail the restructuring of knowledge and academic
programmes as well as the consolidation of the system of governance and resources in
the new faculty. In that same year a Division of Restructuring was established at the

Centre for Academic Advancement. The division was to serve as the secretariat and
coordinator for academic restructuring university wide.

After a series of meetings, retreats and various consultation with a wide section of the
faculties concerned spanning over a two year period, the final proposal presented to the
Senate for the restructuring and amalgamation of the four science faculties contained
principles and rationale of restructuring, the vision and mission statement, the
strategies, the proposed new schools and programmes, the academic structure, the
governance, and the utilization of resources. The Senate approved the setting up of the
new Faculty of Science and Technology on July 19th. 1999 and the new faculty was
officially launched on July 28th. 1999 by the Minister of Human Resource and Y.B. Datuk
Dr. Fong Chan On.

While the restructuring Science was nearing completion, discussion on the restructuring
of the Social Sciences and Humanities began in earnest on the 30th November 1998 when
the Vice Chancellor chaired the first meeting on the restructuring and evaluation of
programmes in the Social Sciences. The same process of retreats, meetings and
discussion were initiated and to draft a proposal for the consideration of the UKM
Senate. The proposal was presented to Senate on 11 December 2000 whence a Senate
Committee on the Restructuring of the Social Sciences to deliberate on the proposal was
established (UKM Senate 7/2000).      Meanwhile several Working Committees of the
Social Science Faculty were initiated and the committees deliberated and reworked the
final proposal to Senate. On the 15th November 2001, the new restructured Social Science
and Humanities Faculty with six schools was officially launched merging three faculties,
namely the Social Science and Humanities, Language Studies and Developmental
Science. However, new programmes in the faculty did not begin until the following
session in 2001 (due to the need to get the programmes approved by the Ministry of
Education). On the whole, the academic restructuring in the Social Sciences (as with the
Sciences) at UKM was an involved and elaborate one spanning over a period of almost
three years. The consultative process and feedback involved elaborate consultation and

feedback from faculty members through various meetings, working committees and

3. The principles and rationale

The working paper for the “merger” (penggabungan) of the faculties identified four main
challenges that necessitated the restructuring as:

       The tendency to specialize.
        The philosophical argument in this is traced to the elitism and the specialization,
        which led to a decrease in comprehensive knowledge. The tendency to specialize
        also brought about the parceling of knowledge not only in the sciences and social
        sciences but also in the entire knowledge corpus. The restructuring was argued
        to be the point from which knowledge is consolidated in its generation,
        development, dissemination and practice.

       The quality of the graduates produced.
        It was felt that a graduate from the current system was too specialized and only
        had the opportunity to be trained in a confined area of specialization due to the
        prevailing faculty structure and the division of areas of knowledge in
        departmental components. The constraint of time and the need to focus were also
        contributing factors to the specialization syndrome, apart from the restrictive
        cross faculty structures. As a result, students can only be exposed to bits and
        pieces of the knowledge as addendum to his area of specialization. The parceling
        up of knowledge in the sciences and social sciences was also a result of emphasis
        being placed on specialization (whether rightly or wrongly). The professed main
        agenda of the restructuring is the creation of an undergraduate academic
        structure that reflects the consolidation of knowledge, the introduction of multi-
        disciplinary programmes and the inculcation of students‟ wholesome academic
        potential apart from in their area of specialization so that they are more
        employable and relevant to current market demands.

      The administrative structure.
       The existing structure that bureaucratizes knowledge also led to the
       bureaucratization of knowledge dissemination. The result is that there is little
       cross fertilization of discipline, information, human resources and students
       amongst the existing faculties and to a lesser extent amongst departments in the
       same faculty. It is hoped that a restructured administration and governance will
       reduce the bureaucracy in order that a more open and collegial spirit will exist
       within the larger rumpun ilmu (knowledge group).

      The optimization of resources.
       These included infrastructural and physical resources as well as human
       resources. The present structures prohibited the movement of support staff,
       technical staff and also academic staff. It was felt that the restructuring exercise
       would overcome the constraint and lead to a more supportive sharing of
       personnel, joint use of resources and ultimately improve cost efficiency in the
       new merged „super‟ faculty.

The concerns above became the rationale for the restructuring of the academic
restructuring at UKM. In line with the rationale, the proposal presented to the Senate
included guiding principles in four major areas to address the concerns above.

      The restructuring and redefinition of knowledge
       o   Redirection of the strategic directions of the academic to excel in the
           consolidation of knowledge in their own mould.
       o   Consolidation of academic expertise.
       o   Strengthening of system and the knowledge generation structure.

      The endeavor to produce quality students
       o   Creation of multi-disciplinary programmes to fulfill the professional needs
           and the demands of society (nation).

       o   Increase in the use of information communication technology in teaching and
       o   Creation of academic programmes which are responsive to the latest
           challenges in the field of social science and humanities.

      The restructuring of the administrative system
       o   Decentralization of the decision making process to the most suitable level in
           order for the quickest (best) feedback.
       o   Strengthening of the strategic networking and the implementation of
           program for the common interest.
       o   Human resource management based in the enrichment of the work
           environment and the inculcating of collegial culture.
       o   The creation of procedure and practices that place emphasis on the free flow
           of information, staff amongst the centres of knowledge.

      The restructuring of resources:
       o   Optimum, efficient and effective usage of resources to achieve the teaching,
           research and social service objectives.
       o   Encouragement of value added activities in terms of their quality, cost and
       o   Budgeting based on planning and the creation of a system of responsibility at
           all levels taking into account the various cost centres and profit centres.

It is within this context that the report on the present research into the effects of the
restructuring exercise is conducted by focusing on a case study of the Faculty of Social
Sciences and Humanities.


1. Objectives

The present research involved collection of information from a variety of sources
through document analysis, interviews, participant informants and questionnaire
survey through which the feedback and effects of the restructuring are collected and
analyzed. Key documents such as the Proposal of the Amalgamation of the Faculty of Social
Sciences & Humanities, Faculty of Language Studies and the Faculty of Developmental Sciences
and the establishment of a new Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities presented to the
Senate, and various committee papers and minutes of the Social Sciences Working
Committees and the Senate Committee on the Social Sciences were also studied to
provide answers to some of the key questions asked in the research. All these
information and documents provided the data for the research.

Specifically, the objectives of the study are as follows:

     a.    To understand the external influences for institutional restructuring.
     b.    To identify major areas of institutional restructuring.
     c.    To analyse the process of implementation of institutional restructuring.
     d.    To analyse the effect of institutional restructuring on both the mission and
           functioning of the university.

The objectives and the methodology of investigation are summarised in Table 2. The
next section will describe in detail the instruments and other components of the

                   Table 2. Objectives and methodology of the study

                  Objective                                  Methodology
   To understand the external influences      Document analysis, interviews, participant
   for institutional restructuring            informants
   To identify major areas of institutional   Questionnaire (UNESCO 2003)
   To analyse the process of                  Document analysis, Interviews, Participant
   implementation of institutional            Informants, Questionnaire (UNESCO 2003)
   To analyse the effect of institutional     (Questionnaire UNESCO 2003),
   restructuring on both the mission and      Interviews, Participant Informants
   functioning of the university

2. A Description of Selected Components of the Methodology

The Questionnaire Survey:

The UNESCO 2003 Questionnaires were used as the main data collection tool in the
present study. The survey formed the basis of studying the effects and benefits of
restructuring at the institutional level. The questions were designed to elicit information
about the major changes and benefits of the restructuring exercise particularly in the
area of university autonomy, decision making structure, academic programmes, staff
management and evaluation, financial management and corporatisation, admission and
student management as well as administrative procedures. In addition, specific issues
relating to the restructuring which affected particular section of the university was also
surveyed. For instance, administrators were asked in detail regarding the level of
autonomy and the decision making process; academic staff were asked to comment on
the academic programmes; and students on various aspects of student welfare and

In total, 4 different sets of questionnaires were administered to the following categories:
Administrators, Academic Staff, Support Staff, and Students. The response rate and the
number of questionaire administered are shown in Table 3.

                         Table 3: Questionnaire Response Rate
      Category             No. of questionnaire        No. Returned       Response rate
   Administrators                    9                       6               66.7%
   Academic Staff                   50                      22               44.0%
    Support Staff                   30                      23               76.7%
      Students                      50                      34               64.0%

The four sets of questionnaires shared certain similar questions. For instance, Questions
1 – 6 in all four sets of questionnaire pertain to personal information of the respondents.
The questionnaire proper begins with Question 7. Question 7 was intended to ascertain
what the respondents felt were major changes brought about by restructuring.
Respondents were also asked to specify the changes these areas. Administrators were
asked on the level of autonomy with respects to areas of restructuring and also
difficulties in the implementation of the restructuring, academicians were asked to
indicate their agreement on various aspects of the academic restructuring but in
particular with respects to the academic programmes; support staff were surveyed as to
the effects of restructuring.   All groups were surveyed with respect to what they
perceived to be the benefits of restructuring. In addition all the questionnaire sought an
overall comments on the restructuring from the respondents.           The format of the
questionnaire are summarised in Table 4.

                          Table 4: Format of the Questionnaire
Administrators         Academic Staff          Support Staff        Students
Q1 – 6: Personal       Q 1 – 6: Personal       Q 1 – 6: Personal    Q 1 – 6: Personal
Information            Information             Information          Information
Q7: Areas of major     Q7: Areas of major      Q7: Areas of major   Q7: Areas of major
changes                changes                 changes              changes
Q8 – 18: Level of      Q8 – 19: Curriculum     Q8 – 21 Effects of   Q8 – 12: Opinions on
autonomy               /            academic   restructuring        aspects             of
                       programmes                                   restructuring
Q19 – 27: Main         Q20 – 27: Main                               Q13 – 16: Main
changes in the areas   changes in the areas            -            changes in the areas
identified             identified                                   identified
Q28: Difficulties in
the process of                   -                     -                      -

Q29 – 42: Perceived   Q28 – 40: Perceived   Q22 – 35: Perceived    Q17 – 27: Perceived
benefits              benefits              benefits               benefits
Overall comments      Overall comments      Overall comments       Overall comments

The Key documents:

Key documents examined for the purpose of the study included the following:

     a. The Proposal for the Amalgamation of the Social Science and Humanities
         (Kertas Kerja Cadangan Penggabungan Fakulti Sains Kemasyarakatan dan
         Kemanusiaan, Fakulti Pengajian Bahasa dan Fakulti Sains Pembangunan serta
         penubuhan Fakulti Sains Sosial dan Kemanusiaan): The Proposal describes the
         current challenges that requires the restructuring; the universal scenario on
         restructuring in the arts (social sciences and humanities); the principles of
         restructuring; the chronological events leading up to the restructuring; the
         rationale for the formation the new faculty; the vision and mission statement of
         the new faculty; the objectives and the strategies for the new faculty; the scope
         of the six new schools in the faculty; the structure of the academic programmes
         in the new faculty; and the structure of governance.
     b. Faculty Handbooks - contains the descriptions of programmes provided in old
         and new faculties and presented the information sources and analysis of the
         programmes offered.
     c. New programmes proposals.
     d. Minutes of the Senate Committee on the Restructuring of the Social Sciences
         and Minutes of various Working Committees


1. Data summary

The discussion in this section is organised into different themes according to the four
groups surveyed. The data can be summarized under these themes:

   a. Areas where major changes have been introduced as part of the restructuring
   b. Opinions on the benefits of restructuring.
   c. Particular aspects of restructuring, namely
           i.       level of autonomy;
           ii.      academic aspects of restructuring;
           iii.     effects (cf. benefits) of restructuring;
           iv.      difficulties in the implementation (administrators).

a. Areas where major changes have been introduced as part of the restructuring

The vast majority (83.3 per cent) indicated that there were major changes to the
academic programs. 50 per cent felt that there were major changes to the administrative
procedures. About a third of the administrators felt that there were major changes to the
decision-making structures. Only 16.7 percent felt that there were major changes to staff
management        and   evaluation;   financial   management;   admission   and   student
management. None of the administrators felt that there were major changes to the
university autonomy. Only one administrator felt that there was a major change in the
area of administrative management and accountability that came along with the

Some of the comments under this question include the respondent being „uncertain as to
what qualifies to be considered “major changes”‟. Some criticism of the restructuring
exercise was also mentioned in that there was lack of an organization framework for the
restructuring which was essentially only “concepts” and philosophy” but no
“framework. Staffs were left to integrate the concepts and philosophy in order to come
up with a framework for the organizational restructuring. Some also commented that
the restructuring was effectively adding on to existing structures, with an added layer or
hierarchy in the faculty management structure. Some also commented that the tangible
results of the restructuring are structural changes and establishment of some new

As with the administrators, the majority of academic staff (81.8%) felt that there were
major changes to the academic programs. This felt to be the major area of change in the
restructuring. Academic staff also felt major changes in the decision making structures
(68.2 per cent). More than half felt that the staff management and evaluation (54.6 per
cent) and the administrative procedures (54.5 per cent) have also undergone major
changes. In contrast to the administrators, a small proportion of academic staff felt that
the restructuring has given the university more autonomy (13.6 per cent) and changed
student admission and student management (18.1 per cent).

Academic staff also commented that there is more burden and pressure on the staff, and
that the change in the morale of academic staff has declined. Some felt that changes to
the academic programmes have not been thorough enough and that there should have
been more multidisciplinary programmes. They also lamented that some colleagues do
not seem to want to understand the concept while others are just not interested. They
also commented that faculty meeting has become ineffective forums because of the large
number of members.

With respect to the process of decision-making, the academicians also felt that the
restructured faculty is more bureaucratic because the line of reporting for academic staff

and their evaluation will take longer due to the additional layer of hierarchy. They also
commented that the restructuring of the administration (academic and human resource)
has happened without there being a optimization of resources in order to attain better
efficiency in the existing and new programs. Some observed that the restructuring has in
reality elevated some departments while “strangling” others in the previous Social
Science Faculty while the Language Studies Faculty has become a school and another
faculty has vanished into a portion of a school. However, some academic staff observed
that the “new faculty” has really taken off as the new programmes will not be offered
until the 2003/2004 session and that the new faculty was in a hiatus.

Support Staff:
The support staff felt that major changes have been made in the area of academic
programs (56.5 per cent) and also with respect to administrative procedures (52.5 per
cent). In the areas of admission and student management as well as staff management
and evaluation, 39.1 percent of the support staff surveyed felt that there were major
changes in these two areas. 26.1 per cent of support staff also felt that there were major
changes in the financial management. The areas that was felt by support staff to be least
affected by the restructuring was in the area of university autonomy.

Support staff voiced concern over the fact that with an enlarged faculty, there need to be
professionalism in the management and better transparency in staff evaluation. Others
said that they are still confused as to their job specification because in some respect their
job specification in the schools have been enlarged compared to when they were in

The students too felt that major changes have been made in the area of academic
programs (82.4 per cent). In the areas of admission and student management, students
too reported that there were major changes (67.6 per cent). This pattern of response is
slightly different from administrators, academic and support staff as the three groups
felt that admission and student management have been major areas of restructuring. In
some respect this is true as admission procedures and administration which are under

the purveiw of the academic registrar was little affected by the academic restructuring at
the faculty. The areas that was felt by students to be least affected by the restructuring
was also in the area of university autonomy. A summary of the major changes according
to the groups surveyed is presented in Table 5.

             Table 5: Areas of major changes according to groups surveyed
Areas of major changes    Administrators       Academics       Support        Students
University autonomy               -               13.6 %        17.4 %         17.6 %
Decision making                33.3 %             68.2 %        34.8 %         20.6 %
Academic programmes            83.3 %             81.8 %        56.5 %         82.4 %
Staff management and           16.7 %             54.5 %        39.1 %         23.5 %
Financial management           16.7 %             36.4 %        26.1 %         35.3 %
and corporatisation
Admission and student          16.7 %             18.2 %        39.1 %         67.6 %
Administrative                 50.0 %             54.5 %        52.2 %         38.2 %

b. Opinions on the benefits of restructuring

Three groups were surveyed as to the benefits of restructuring – administrators,
academic staff and support staff. The response of the three groups is presented in Table
6 - 8 respectively.

The perception of the benefits of restructuring was most positive among support staff
who in general perceived moderate benefits in all aspects of restructuring surveyed. In
contrast, academic staffs were equally divided between those who perceived moderate
benefits and no benefits in the exercise. The administrators on the other hand perceived
moderate benefit in the autonomy granted to departments / schools, academic
programmes and staff recruitment as a result of the restructuring. Half the
administrators surveyed were of the opinion that the restructuring has brought about no
benefits to the autonomy of academic staff or to the admission procedures. They also

pointed out that the issue of university autonomy is not under the purview of the
restructuring exercise.

              Table 6. Administrators’ opinion on the benefits of restructuring

                                                     Moderate    Significant      Not
   Aspects of Restructuring             No benefit    Benefit      Benefit     applicable
   University autonomy                    16.7%         -             -            83.3%
   Autonomy of departments                16.7%       83.3%           -
   Autonomy of academic staff             50.0%       16.7%           -            33.3%
   University decision making             16.7%       33.3%           -            50.0%
   structures (management structures)
   Academic programs                      33.3%       50.0%         16.7%            -
   Staff recruitment procedures           16.7%       50.0%         16.7%          16.7%
   Staff evaluation procedures            33.3%       33.3%         16.7%          16.7%
   Allocation of budget/resources         33.3%       33.3%           -            33.3%
   Procurement procedures                 33.3%                       -            66.7%
   Income generating activities           16.7%       33.3%           -            50.0%
   Cost saving measures                   33.3%       33.3%           -            33.3%
   Admission procedures                   50.0%       16.7%         16.7%          16.7%
   Student fees                           16.7%         -             -            83.3%
   Student support systems                33.3%       33.3%         33.3%          33.3%

              Table 7. Academic staffs’ opinion on the benefits of restructuring

                                                     Moderate    Significant      Not
   Aspects of Restructuring             No benefit    Benefit      Benefit     applicable
   University autonomy                    35.3%       41.2%          5.9%          17.6%
   Autonomy of departments                50.0%       40.0%         10.0%           0.0
   Autonomy of academic staff             65.0%       30.0%          5.0%           0.0
   University decision-making
   structures (management structures)     36.8%       47.4%         10.5%           5.3%
   Academic programs                      27.3%       27.3%         40.9%           4.5%
   Staff recruitment procedures           33.3%       38.9%         16.7%          11.1%
   Staff evaluation procedures            47.4%       36.8%         10.5%           5.3%
   Allocation of budget / resources       44.4%       38.9%         11.1%           5.6%
   Income generating activities           27.8%       44.4%         11.1%          16.7%
   Cost saving measures                   38.9%       27.8%         22.2%          11.1%
   Admission procedures                   40.0%       13.3%         26.7%          20.0%
   Student fees                           33.3%       13.3%         20.0%          33.3%
   Student support systems                37.5%       18.8%         12.5%          31.3%

     Table 8. Support staffs’ opinion on the benefits of restructuring

                                                           Moderate     Significant      Not
  Aspects of Restructuring                No benefit        Benefit       Benefit     applicable
  University autonomy                        13%             61%           13%           13%
  Autonomy of departments                   17.4%           56.5%         17.4%          8.7%
  Autonomy of academic staff                 13%            52.3%          13%          21.7%
  University decision-making                21.7%           43.6%          13%          21.7%
  structures (management structures)
  Academic programs                         17.4%           47.8%         21.7%          13%
  Staff recruitment procedures              26.1%           39.1%          17.4         17.4%
  Staff evaluation procedures               21.7%            61%           4.3%          13%
  Allocation of budget / resources          18.3%            50%            9%          22.7%
  Procurement procedures                    21.7%           39.2%          4.3%         34.8%
  Income generating activities              21.7%           30.4%         13.1%         34.8%
  Cost saving measures                      17.4%           39.1%         17.4%         26.1%
  Admission procedures                       13%            30.4%         26.2%         30.4%
  Student fees                               13%            34.7%         17.5%         34.8%
  Student support systems                   12.5%           41.7%         20.8%          25%

Students‟ perception of the benefits of restructuring focused on student services and
they were asked to indicate whether there were improvements in various services as a
result of the restructuring.        In general students reported moderate to significant
improvements in most of the areas surveyed except for cafeteria services. A third of the
students surveyed were also of the opinion that the student support services and the
student – staff interaction have not improved. However, the majority felt that there were
moderate to significant improvements. The results are tabulated in Table 9.

 Table 9. Students’ opinion on the improvements brought about by the restructuring

                                          No             Moderate       Significant      Not
     Aspects of Restructuring        improvements      improvements   improvements    applicable
  Infrastructural facilities              8.8              64.7            26.5           -
  Journal and book facilities in         20.0              48.6            28.6          2.9
  the library
  Access to internet facilities          17.1              54.3           28.6             -
  Cafeteria services                     42.9              28.6           20.0            8.6
  Students association activities        28.6              48.6           17.1            5.7
  Teaching facilities                    11.4              61.9           25.7             -
  Cultural activities                     9.4              62.5           15.6           12.5
  Teaching methodology                   17.6              41.2           38.2            2.9
  Lecturers attitude                     11.8              29.4           52.9            5.9
  Student support services               31.4              45.7           20.0            2.9
  Student – staff interaction            31.4              37.1           28.6           2.9

c. Administrators’ opinion on the level of autonomy granted as part of the
institutional restructuring process.

Administrators‟ opinion on the level of autonomy was varied on different aspects of the
restructuring. In other words, there appears to be no consensus among the
administrators with respect to autonomy. Most of the responses range between “high
degrees of autonomy” to “no autonomy”. On the aspect of “student evaluation
procedures” the range of response was from “total autonomy” to “limited autonomy”.

Only on two aspects of restructuring can there be said to be agreement. One is with
respect to the “determination of student fees”, where almost everyone felt that there was
no autonomy granted. Another aspect which most of the administrators agree on is with
regards to the introduction of new programs where almost everyone felt that there was
only “limited autonomy” granted to them. The summary of the result of the perception
of autonomy with respects to particular aspects of restructuring is tabulated in Table 10.

             Table 10. Opinion on the level of autonomy in the restructuring.

                                                          High        Limited         No
         Aspects of Restructuring           Total       degree of    autonomy      autonomy
                                          autonomy      autonomy
   Decision making structure at the            -          16.7%        50.0%         33.3%
   institutional level
   Decision making structure at the            -          33.3%        33.3%         33.3%
   faculty/department level
   Academic staff                             -           33.3%        33.3%         33.3%
   Introducing new study programs             -           16.7%        83.3%
   Staff recruitment                          -           16.7%        50.0%         33.3%
   Allocation of budget to departments        -           16.7%        33.3%         50.0%
   Procurement procedures                     -           33.3%        16.7%         50.0%
   Income generating activities               -           16.7%        33.3%         50.0%
   Student admissions                         -             -          50.0%         33.3%
   Determination of student fees              -             -          16.7%         83.3%
   Student evaluation procedures            33.3%         33.3%        33.3%           -

Administrators also felt that main changes introduced in the area of “decision making at
the university / institutional level” has not been positive. Most felt that the restructuring
created an additional layer of bureaucracy and others felt that the decision making

procedure was essentially similar to those practiced prior to restructuring. Others
commented that decision making at the institution was too dependent on the
committees and also too much top-down, with little consultation or collegiality.
Sometimes, the decision from top is not communicated to the people below.

d. Academic Staffs’ opinion on the academic aspects of restructuring.

Academic staffs were asked specifically to indicate whether they agreed with certain
matters with respect to the academic restructuring at the faculty. A summary of the
responses is presented in Table 11.

 Table 11. Academic Staffs’ opinion on certain aspects of the academic restructuring.
           Aspects of restructuring           Strongly   Disagree   Agree    Strongly
                                              disagree                        agree
   Restructuring enabled development of                   31.8%     59.1%      9.1%
   innovative curriculum.
   Restructuring enabled development of                   45.5%     45.5%      9.1%
   employment-oriented courses.
   Restructuring enabled development of        9.1%       22.7%     50%       18.2%
   multi-disciplinary and multi-skill
   Restructuring has strengthened the links                50%      40.9%      9.1%
   between research and teaching.
   Restructuring has strengthened                         45.5%     54.5%
   academic programs of the university.
   Restructuring has improved interaction      9.1%       59.1%     31.8%
   and collaboration between staff in
   different departments/schools.
   Restructuring has improved access to        9.1%       54.5%     27.3%      9.1%
   and sharing of faculty resources.
   Restructuring has reduced                   18.2%      36.4%     31.8%     13.6%
   administrative costs.
   Restructuring has increased academic                   63.6%     36.4%
   Restructuring has increased                 4.5%       36.4%     50%        9.1%
   administrative workload.
   Restructuring has increased monitoring      4.5%       27.3%     59.1%      9.1%
   and control of resources.
   Restructuring has increased                 13.6%      36.4%     50%
   accountability measures of the staff.

On two aspects of academic restructuring, namely development of innovative
curriculum, and the development of multi-disciplinary courses / programmes, a larger
majority of academic staff were of the opinion that the restructuring has managed to
achieve them compared to those who felt otherwise. On several aspects such as the
development of employment oriented courses, strengthening of research and teaching
and strengthening the academic programmes, the academic staff were equally divided
between those who felt that the restructuring has achieved these objectives and those
who felt that the restructuring has not achieved them.           On two aspects, viz.
improvement of interaction and collaboration between schools, and improved access to
faculty resources, more staff felt that these have not been achieved than those who felt
they have been achieved. Interestingly, a larger portion (6:4) disagreed that the
restructuring has increased their academic workload.

e. Support staffs’ opinion on the effect of institutional restructuring.

As with the benefits of restructuring, support staff overwhelmingly felt that the
restructuring has had moderate to significant effects in most aspects of restructuring.
Despite this, there is a small portion of the support staff (ranging from 4.3 % - 17.4 %
depending on the aspect concerned), which felt that the restructuring has had no effect.
The summary of data is presented in Table 12.

     Table 12. Support staffs’ opinion on the effect of institutional restructuring.

          Aspects of restructuring        No        Moderate     Significant       Not
                                          effect     effect         effect     applicable
  University autonomy                       4.3 %    52.2 %        13.0 %        30.4 %
  Autonomy of departments                   8.3 %    62.5 %        20.8 %         8.3 %
  Autonomy of academic staff                  -      65.2 %        13.0 %        21.7 %
  University decision making structures
  (management structures)                   4.3 %      60.9 %      13.0 %        21.7 %
  Academic programs                         8.7 %      47.8 %      26.1 %        17.4 %
  Staff recruitment procedures              9.1 %      50.0 %      22.7 %        18.2 %
  Staff evaluation procedures               9.5 %      66.7 %      19.0 %         4.8 %
  Allocation of budget / resources         13.6 %      54.5 %      13.6 %        18.2 %
  Procurement procedures                   17.4 %      52.2 %       8.7 %        21.7 %

   Income generating activities                 13.0 %        52.2 %        -         34.8 %
   Cost saving measures                          8.7 %        52.2 %     17.4 %       21.7 %
   Admission procedures                         13.0 %        43.5 %     21.7 %       21.7 %
   Student fees                                  4.3 %        43.5 %     17.4 %       34.8 %
   Student support systems                       9.5 %        52.4 %     14.3 %       23.8 %

f. Students’ opinion on certain aspect of institutional restructuring.

Students were also asked us to whether they agreed with certain aspects of the
restructuring that has taken place. In particular, they were asked to respond to five
aspects namely the curriculum and evaluation procedures and changes in the admission
and fee structure (if any).

The responses of the students were mainly enthusiastic about restructuring with a large
majority (over 75 per cent) indicating that they agreed with restructuring the curriculum
and that changes be made to the evaluation procedure. 90.7 per cent agreed that the
curriculum should contain more career or employment oriented courses. They also
overwhelming agreed that changes should be made to the admission procedure, and the
fee structure. The summary of data is provided in Table 13.

             Table 13. Students’ opinion on some aspects of restructuring.
     Aspects of Restructuring        Strongly      Disagree      Agree   Strongly     Not
                                     Disagree                             Agree     Applicable
     Restructuring curriculum          5.9%         11.8%        64.7%    14.7%       2.9%
     Introduction of employment                                  37.1%     60%        2.9%
     oriented courses.
     Changes in the admission                       11.4%        51.4%    22.6%       14.3%
     Changes in the fee structure.    8.6%          25.7%        31.4%    28.6%       5.7%
     Changes in the student                         14.7%        52.9%    26.5%       5.9%
     evaluation procedures

g. Difficulties in the implementation of the restructuring process.

Administrators were specifically asked to identify difficulties in the process of
implementation of the restructuring. Their response however seldom focus on the

process but rather the product of restructuring which they found problematic. Some of
the comments on the organisational structure mentioned included the observation that
structure has remained the same and also that the administrative procedures also appear
to be the same except that the faculty – school – programme structure is more stratified
than the faculty – department structure. This means there is an added layer of
bureaucracy. The additional layer in the organization meant that decision-making now
took longer. However, some were of the opinion that the new structure of the
organization is more realistic in that it allows academician to take control and ownership
of their programmes and thereby be more accountable to the quality of the programmes.
Programmes heads can do this since they are not really bog down by “administrative
duties” which should stop at the Head of Schools and the Deanery. Other comments on
the structure included the observation that the definition of roles at each tier is not clear
and still fuzzy to some administrators.

In the decision making process, administrators commented that there are too few people
vested with the power to make decision at the university level with respect to the faculty
and thus the validity and reliability of these decisions will be in question. For instance,
there is only one representative for six schools at the Senate (in contrast to three Deans
for the Social Sciences and Humanities, Language Studies and Development Science
faculties previously. Academic staff line of accountability to Chairs of Schools and
Program Heads also need to be further clarified. Some felt that the dependency on
committees have slowed them down in the decision making process.

On support staff      related matters, some commented that the support staff were
marginalised in the process. They were not consulted on the process and only met with
management twice during the entire process. Although support staff understood that
the restructuring was essentially an „academic restructuring‟, the entire administrative
and support system was affected and thus they should have provided some input. For
instance, the Schools (compared to Departments) carries too heavy a burden, being
accountable for a larger number of staff. However, the Chairs are not assisted by an

Assistant Registrar. Programme Heads too, appears to have no administrative power
over their staff and this could lead to problems.

In relation to the students, some respondents observed that the students were never
consulted nor were they informed of the restructuring. However, in the rethinking of
new programmes, students survey and opinions were sought.

On budget related matters, respondents were of the opinion that the budget allocation
should take into account the size and the needs of the various schools. Some lamented
the fact that the budget is still under a central system (bursar) and urged that the Schools
be given certain autonomy when it comes to the budget.


The external influences for institutional restructuring, in the case of UKM, came from
various directions. These included the various challenges of globalisation and the
growth of ICT. At the same time, the imperative for quality and accountability in the
public institutions of higher learning also meant that the public universities need to
reexamine their structures and their ways of doing things. UKM has taken steps toward
meeting these challenges from as early as 1996. One of the strategies is that of
institutional restructuring.

The institutional restructuring undertaken at the faculty was essentially an driven by
academic consideration as highlighted in Part II of this report. However, the supporting
areas (such as governance and resource allocation) were also revamped to some extend.
This study has identified that the academic restructuring of the social sciences at UKM
were felt, on the whole to have made an impact on different aspects of the faculty from
autonomy, decision making process to the student evaluation procedures. On the whole,
the objectives of the institutional restructuring as laid out in the principles and rationale
for restructuring have been met and must surely have some impact on the mission and
function of UKM in meeting the challenges that necessitated institutional restructuring
in the first place.

Based on the feedback of the respondents in the study the following recommendations
should be given due consideration:

On decision-making processes:
       Certain autonomy be given and responsibility devolved to the schools.
       The demarcation of powers and responsibility of Program Heads and Chairs of
        School should be elaborated on. Program Head should focus on decision relating
        to the program and academic curriculum.
       A sense of ownership of programmes be inculcated among those who teach the

      Important decisions made at the Faculty Management Meetings should be
       discussed and reviewed at Faculty Meetings to avoid only routine and mundane
       matters being the purview and agenda of faculty meetings.
      More use of ICT in the dissemination of decision and consultation with faculty

On budget allocation system at the school level:

      More involvement of faculty members in budget preparation.
      More autonomy at the school level in making decision to spend allocation

On staff recruitment at the school level:

      More autonomy in the recruitment of support staff – currently the views and
       opinion of the Schools are sometimes sort in the recruitment of staff but final
       decisions rest with a committee.

It has only been two years since the new Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities has
been established. During that time, the new Faculty has made significant progress in
terms of research and publication (personal communications of the founding Dean and
report from the retreat of the new faculty) . Much remains to be done, including a blue-
print for the long term plans of the faculty, commitment of the management, as well as
enhanced communication and information dispersal. Awareness and performance
enhancement as well as “sustained” performance of the staff to the new faculty‟s
mission and vision and commitment to quality are crucial to the continual improvement
and strive towards excellence.


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    globalization. 3rd. UKM-UC Conference 14-15 April 2003.
Hassan Said. 2003. Pengkorporatan institusi pendidikan tinggi awam. Prosiding Seminar
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    Society of Asia Conference. Bandung
Nirwan Idrus. 2003. Educational reforms and institutional research. 3rd. SEAAIR Forum,
        Bangkok, 15-17 October 2003.
Shaharir Mohamad Zain (ed.) 1994. Falsafah Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Bangi: UKM.
Panduan Prasiswazah Fakulti Sains Sosial dan Kemanusiaan 2002-2003
Panduan Prasiswazah Fakulti Sains Kemasyarakatan & Kemanusiaan 2000-2001
Panduan Prasiswazah Fakulti Pengajian Bahasa 2000-2001
Panduan Prasiswazah Fakulti Sains Pembangunan 2000-2001

The study had been made possible via a research grant from UKM (11JQ2003) and
UNESCO on Institutional Restructuring in Asia. We would also like to thank all who
participated in the study.


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