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Friday, 13 December 2013

University must foster space for intellectual discussion

Proham calls on all Vice Chancellors of Universities and the Ministry of Education officials to foster a creative and conducive environment for public discussions in institutions of higher learning.

The university is a centre for learning, students and academic faculty must be given the democratic freedom to host discussions and have an opportunity for intellectual discussions on any area of public, community, national or academic interest.
Proham expresses concerns over recent incidents of high handed curtailment of students discussions at both University Malaya and University Putra Malaysia. The experience of a well reputed public intellectual Wan Saiful Wan Jan, the CEO of IDEAS is a matter of great concern. Both these incidents are documented in the social media.

Early this year on Feb 6, 2013 Proham hosted a discussion with University student leaders so as to provide the space for young intellectuals from local universities to article their issues and concerns from a human rights framework. In the discussion we learnt of the restrictive space and undemocratic actions of university officials on student activism.
Proham recognises that dialogue is important and that formal spaces must be provided especially to foster young critical minds. We note that the young have an important role and contribution to make for nation building. The space for public reasoning is very important for this process.

Furthermore Universities should democratise the intellectual environment and not to restrict and curtail rational discussions.  They should however reason out with young thinkers via rational, open discussions to win the public opinion through well thought out thoughts. High-hand ways of blocking building, switching off lights, sending security personal is not the way for institutions of learning to conduct discussions.
It is the responsibility for academic institutions to fostering a conducive environment of learning to nurture creative minds as young people are the future of this land

Therefore Proham calls on the UPM, University Malaya officials and the Ministry of Education authorities to provide a formal public explanation on these two incidents and ensure similar incidents do not reoccur again.

Issued on behalf of Proham by
Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, Proham Secretary General

Dec 14, 2013

Please refer to Proham press release on this event -

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