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Post Graduate 21 October 2014

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Post Graduate 21 October 2014
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  THE STAR   Tuesday 21 October 2014 Training the best talents > 6Traits of effective leadership > 8 Star Special Challengingthe ordinary Exploring lessons in diversity.  2   POSTGRADUATE   StarSpecial, Tuesday 21 October 2014 For bookings and further information, contact your advertising agency or the following:   M  O  T  O  R  I  N  G   S  p e c  i  a  l   Y o u r  f  i r s t c a r g  u  i d e   W e l a  y d o  w n t  h e o p t  i o n s f o r y o u r f  i r s t s e t o  f w  h e e  l s .     P O S  T G  R A  D  U A  T  E  S t a r  S p e c  i a  l   T  H  E S  T A  R  T u e s d a y 2 1 J a n u a r y 2 0 1 4    n P A C E > 8 E n g   i n e e r  i n g  y o u r f u t u r e > 1 0   B e  t  h e c  h o s e n o n e   T  h e r i g   h t M B A w i  l  l h e  l p t o  b o o s t y o u r c a r e e r.    S t a r  S p e c i a l  TH E S TA R  Tu es da y 4 Fe br ua ry 2 01 4  s t a t u s > 3 Q u a l i t y, a f f o r d a b l e i n t e r n a t i o n a l e d u c a t i o n > 5  U n l o c k i n g  y o u r p o t e n t i a l  B R I G H T K I D S   u sed ? > 8 L i fe s t y leop t ion s > 10 MO TORING  S t ar  Spec ial  THE STAR  Sunday 12 January 201 4   C h ine se Ne w Ye ar mo tor in g gu ide  T he be s t o f fer s in to wn and the ho t te s t c ar s a v a i la b le t h i s ye ar.   SOUTHERNPROPERTY Star Special  THE STAR  Thursday 30 January 2014 Riseofthesouth   Supplement T eam – Email: supp@thestar .com.my  03-7966 8237  jy chia@thestar.com.my  03-7966 8227 k amariah@thestar.com.my    From bone to satellite BY TINA CARMILLIA I N the quest to understand the history of humankind, it is not surprising that Israel and the West Bank – the site of many biblical events linked to the Old Testament narrative – are the most researched pieces of land in the world. One of the most important archaeologists to have dug there is Dame Kathleen Kenyon, who today is widely recognised as the most influential female archaeologist.Dame Kathleen is best known for her excavations of Jericho in the 1950s and Jerusalem in the 1960s.She and many female researchers and scientists, including physicist and chemist Marie Curie and Google’s head security engineer Parisa Tabriz are some of the handful of “anomalies” in an otherwise male-dominant world, but their roles have certainly shaped the course of our lives.The importance of science in our daily lives may not be obvious – and the role of women in science is even less so. While Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor became Malaysia’s first astronaut, it was leading astrophysicist, Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman, who headed the programme to launch the first Malaysian astronaut to space.Her work as the founding director general of Angkasa, the Malaysian National Space Agency, led to Dr Muszaphar’s successful completion of his space programme and space flight in 2007.So, why do women often end up in the back seat of major breakthroughs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)? Does visual culture play a major role in accurately representing the STEM demography? A picture that spoke a thousand words Recently, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRA) became the fourth space agency to reach Mars, behind the Soviet space programme, the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency. When photos of the Indian space scientists in the command control room were released, many were caught by surprise. Women in brightly coloured saris exploded into applause and  jubilantly congratulated each other after they successfully put a satellite into Mars orbit. Yet, no matter how much women succeed, the focus ultimately falls back on what they are wearing.Instead of lab coats or western business suits, the women were clad in saris, spurring curious discussions on social media.“I love that picture. It’s a stark contrast to the scientists inaccurately portrayed in many Hollywood sci-fi films,” says Bakhtiar Bukari, a biologist and postgraduate candidate in a local university.Biochemist Arianna Ariff adds that to improve the cultural and visual representation of science in the country, public outreach is crucial.“We need good science communicators such as Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Cox and Bill Nye. The media should improve their standards in science communication using proper terms to convey scientific data or risk being misrepresented and misinterpreted by the public,” she says. A throwback to the past Indeed, deGrasse Tyson’s reboot of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos has garnered a lot of attention around the world and reignited conversations and interest in science.The science community is optimistic that the documentary series will improve the severe lack of scientific literacy among the general public.Nevertheless, in Malaysia, a recently published article in a local newspaper titled R&D syok sendiri (self-serving) that claimed that research and development (R&D) efforts have failed to produce profit has irked several Malaysian scientists, including Arianna.“People have to understand the role and purpose of R&D. Even the works of many Nobel Prize winners have not been commercialised but have impacted humankind in many ways such as with the discovery of DNA,” she says.Bakhtiar, too, was none too pleased with the report. “It says a lot about what is expected from the science community – that universities and research centres are supposed to be factories chugging out vaccines or new breed of mangoes or whatever that can be sold for billions at the end. It doesn’t work that way,” he says.He cautions that it is a dangerous idea to make the public feel as though the Malaysian scientific community has been doing nothing of value. “We need our own home-grown science communicators. In the UK, they have painters, astronomers, mathematicians, historians, authors and quantum physicists as prime time TV celebrities. It would be nice if we could move in that direction, too,” he continues.Science portrayal in mass media is nothing new, whether it is in TV documentaries, series or sci-fi films. Stanley Kubrick’s 1958 film  2001: A Space Odyssey was one of the earliest depictions of space exploration on film. The film opens with a tribe of herbivorous early hominids who discovers and uses the first man-made tool – a bone that was used as the weapon to kill the leader and claim control over another tribe. The new leader, in triumph, throws his weapon-tool into the air before the scene cuts to four million years ahead to a far more modern tool – a satellite in space. The transition in the scenes became one of the most infamous illustrations drawing the connection between two objects – a primitive and a modern tool respectively – and captures humanity’s technological progress up to that point, before becoming one of the most famous and oft-copied tropes in cinema.Although hailed as one of the most accurate depictions of science on film at that time, the film also received criticism for its lack of female characters. But the fact is, the film was not far from the truth – women only became commonly involved in space programmes in the 1980s and beyond. Challenging the limits In 1960, Dr Randolph Lovelace, the chairman at that time of NASA’s Special Advisory Committee on Life Sciences, was one of the few scientists who tried to convince NASA that women were superior candidates for space travel.Dr Lovelace’s arguments included the fact that the smaller-sized women would require less oxygen, could withstand longer amounts of time in sensory deprivation simulations and were proven to perform better in cramped spaces.Their lighter weight would also require less fuel to propel the same distance, reducing the cost of the mission.Dr Lovelace’s reasoning came from extensive physical and psychological testing, which 32 men and 19 women underwent. Of this number, 13 women passed, in comparison to 18 men.How much better did the women fare, precisely? One sensory deprivation test shows a striking result. “Based on previous experiments in several hundred subjects, it was thought that six hours was the absolute limit of tolerance for this experience before the onset of hallucinations,” wrote Donald Kilgore, the doctor who evaluated both male and female space flight candidates at Lovelace’s clinic.However, Jerrie Cobb, one of the female candidates, spent nine hours and 40 minutes in the experiment before it was terminated by the staff. Subsequently, two other women underwent the test and each spent more than 10 hours in the sensory isolation tank before termination by the staff. Yet, the women’s involvement in the programme was short-lived. In an article by Wired , “Right Stuff, Wrong Sex”, the writer pointed out that the women in the programme “were held to a different standard than men”. Citing John Glenn’s memoirs, the article goes on to describe how women were “being forced to sit in cold isolation tanks for much longer” than Glenn – a male astronaut – had to. During the sensory deprivation tests, the women were immersed in a lightless tank of cold water whereas Glenn’s memoirs recounts being tested in a dimly-lit room where he was also provided with a pen and paper. He lasted just three hours. A bone of contentionno more? The fact that women are held to a different standard compared to men is true even in other industries.As reported by consulting firm McKinsey, men are typically hired for their potential while women for their experience and track record.“Women who actually make it in any male-dominant workplace are in fact much better than their male counterparts because they are not expected to meet the minimum requirements for the role – they have to surpass these requirements in order to even be considered for the job,” explains Mien Ly, activist and independent filmmaker.Nonetheless, the film and TV industry may be catching up. Films such as Edge of Tomorrow  (2014) and Gravity  (2013) depict lead characters who are more than capable in making do on their own and who also happen to be female.But according to Bakhtiar, it is not just important to make science more approachable but also for film and TV series to move away from depicting the science community as an exclusive club of men in lab coats.“To sell the idea that everyone is a scientist – providing that they are inquisitive, have an open mind and willing to give ideas stern tests – is the greater objective and I believe will give a far reaching impact to the society. “It seems innocuous but it helps to understand that unlike claims by PAS Youth leader Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman, Iranian Islamic authority Kazem Seddiqi, and PAS assemblyman Hasan Mahmood, tight kebayas do not cause plane crashes, cleavage does not cause earthquakes and unIslamic governance does not cause the spread of dengue,” says Bakhtiar.Until everyone embraces their inner scientists regardless of gender (or anything else, for that matter), we may get from primitive tools to advanced technology in the material world but will continue to suffer from social and economic inequality that will bog down the progressof civilisation. Women should be recognised for their roles in scientific breakthroughs.  StarSpecial 3 Tuesday 21 October 2014  VC COLUMN By PROF CHRISTINE ENNEW 4   POSTGRADUATE   StarSpecial, Tuesday 21 October 2014 The importance of language learning T HE debate about the standards of English in Malaysia and strategies for improvement is often talked about on the news – whether in the context of the growth of international schools, the employability of graduates or the enactment of new policies and regulations by government.When I went to school in the United Kingdom, language learning was simply not a big deal. Indeed the only language I learnt to any standard was Latin and while I can still read some Latin poetry, it is not a language that I have found particularly useful in my working life. I picked up a smattering of French and German, which makes visits to countries speaking those languages a little easier as I can at least, manage rudimentary conversations. The failure to acquire a second language is one of my greatest regrets. And while I am trying to learn Bahasa Malaysia, a combination of age and work commitments makes this increasingly challenging.Of course, I do have the advantage of being a native English speaker and that has probably made me (and many others) lazy. English is so widely spoken as a second or third language that communication internationally is rarely difficult and in my own profession (academia), English is the working language. The reality of our increasingly globalised world is that English is probably the most widely used medium for international communication and that proficiency in the language is, and will continue to be, a highly valued skill throughout the workforce.So, concerns about falling standards of English language in Malaysia are well founded.Remedies are more difficult to identify and implement. The growing popularity of English-medium international schools among the more affluent sectors of society is, at least in part, due to the perceptions that schooling in English will confer longer term benefits to the children who receive it. But a national language is a key component of national identity and gives rise to a perfectly understandable desire to resist the widespread implementation of English-medium schooling.Academics have debated the relative merits of national language schooling versus English language schooling and will continue to do so. What is much less debateable is the importance of learning a language at an early age – and not  just learning in the classroom but being encouraged to practise and to use the language to embed that learning.Regular testing is an important element of the learning process, but test performance must be seen, not as an end in itself, but rather as a means to an end – to help learners develop and enhance language acquisition.Of course, all this depends on the availability of appropriately qualified teachers to ensure that the capacity exists across all schools to give children the opportunity to acquire English.And it is perhaps of particular importance to ensure that this applies to rural as well as urban schools – to schools that serve the poorer sections of society as well as those serving the middle and upper classes. If education underpins social mobility, then ensuring that children from lower socio-economic backgrounds gain the opportunity to acquire English language skills must be a particular focus of attention.In all of this, the tertiary sector has a key role to play – partly through the further enhancement of the language skills of individual students but perhaps more importantly, through its role in educating the individuals who will teach the English language and those who will teach the teachers of English language. Unfortunately, it is still the case that careers in teaching are less valued than careers in banking, accounting or engineering. Such professions are characterised by greater prestige and greater financial reward and as a result, they typically attract the country’s brightest and best. While it might be difficult to change the financial rewards associated with different professions, we all have a responsibility to ensure that those who aspire to a career in teaching receive the status and recognition that go with such an important and potentially transformational career. n   Prof Christine Ennew is the chief executive officer and provost of The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. Premier MBA withleading UK university SUNWAY University’s dual-award MBA is a premier programme and is delivered in collaboration with a leading United Kingdom business school – Lancaster University Management School. Lancaster University’s MBAs is consistently ranked among the best in the world.Upon completion of the MBA, graduates will be awarded with two certificates – one from Sunway University and one from Lancaster University.Sunway University is a renowned business education provider in Malaysia and has been awarded the SETARA 5 (Excellent) rating by the Malaysian Ministry of Education while Lancaster University is a UK-based university that is ranked in the world’s top 1% of universities. The MBA dual-award programme focuses on transforming aspiring managers by helping them discover the leader within.Students hone their cognitive and collaborative skills, judgment and decision-making abilities through application and reflection. The flexible two-year part-time modular format is designed to suit busy working adults.While maintaining their jobs, participants become part of an intellectually engaging learning community and are able to apply what they have learnt effectively at work. This is why the programme is perfect for Loo Hoey Theen. Currently a senior marketing manager at a retail mall, Loo says that the programme exceeds her expectations. “Apart from an accessible online research database, the facilities here are fantastic. Classes are delivered in the state-of-the-art Loo Hoey Theen is an MBA student at Sunway University. purpose-built graduate centre.“The university even provides access to a nursing room to ensure my nursing needs are met,” says Loo, who has a newborn baby. The design and delivery of this programme involves a faculty of some of the best management consultants, educators and research scholars to provide comprehensive support in completion of the programme. Despite the premier nature of the MBA dual-award programme, it is financially accessible. Candidates joining this programme will also receive financial aid of up to RM25,000 per student. n   For more information, call 03-7491 8701 or visit www.sunway.edu.my/MBA   Educators play an important role in the English language development of students in Malaysia.

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