Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sibu In The Blue Ocean - Part 36

Education has been at the core of Sibuians' concern. From pre-school to tertiary levels, Sibuians have never let education be compromised. The flurry of comments/feedback on Tan Kee Hian's "Polytechnic" University Strategy bears testimony to this point.

The first Key Capability for "Sibu In The Blue Ocean" is "Changing Mindset, Values and Beliefs". The critical Blue Ocean Mindset involves the following:

Get out of the comfort zone
-More of the same is not good enough, "Business is not usual"

"Execution and transaction" is not sufficient for breakthrough

Inveast in thinking and innovation

Find and create your own space

Development is about creating economic and social value first......Not just building more houses and shops

Creating exceptional value for customers
-Outside-in, know your customers

Control your own destiny

The picture shows Sibu Lantern Festival 2009. Like what Kee Hian said, Sibu needs to invest in thinking and innovation to bring in tourists. Photo: Wong Meng Lei


Judy said...

Yes. Tony, education definitely is the core of Sibu parents, for many almost their purpose of living.
I am glad we had a chance to talk a little about the present generation's choice of where to go for tertiary education.
10 years ago, the general trend was still parents deciding where the children would go after their sec education. Parents were and still are very sacrificial when it comes to sending their children overseas.I remember Brother Albinus(once principal of SMK Sacred Heart, where I taught for almost 20 years) used to marvel at students who were financially needy students getting fee remissions etc would end up going overseas after Form 5. I had to explain to him about many parents including hawkers,saving their hard earned money and selling their land to send children overseas.
But since the 1997 economic downturn, many private colleges have mushroomed in Malaysia including Sarawak as it was indeed too costly to send children overseas except for those in the upper echelon of the society.
Many of our good students have stayed back to study in Malaysia.
Since joining MPI, a local private institute in Sibu which has been offering professional and semi professional diploma courses, it has been a great concern to me that the brain drain is continuing to happen.
There are a few factors:
1. After Their diploma courses more and more students have gone to KL, Penang etc to continue their studies to get at least a degree.The result is obvious. The majority ended up working in KL, Penang etc.
2. Those who came back were often frustrated. They were offered low pay (Sibu being the lowest in many cases). Many did not last long.
3. WHile studying in KL or other places, many would also end up with life-partners not from Sibu, thus the reluctance to come back.

We at MPI have tried our part in arresting the brain drain by offering more accounting courses so that students can stay back to complete their ACCA or even get an Osford Brookes degree here in Sibu.
However we are having a hard time keeping students back.
Students tend to 'follow'friends and tell their parents they 'have' to go to KL. A very clear example is our CAT and ACCA courses.
We have been offering them for a few years. We also have examples of students who completed the CAT & ACCA (plus the OXford Brookes degree in Applied Accounting)in 3 and half years.
But many students will still talk their parents into sending them to Sunway,Swinburn etc, even though it's much more expensive.
The irony is that 10 years ago I even had some parents who refused to support the children if they studied at MPI (rating MPI as so low) but now there seems to be a reversal, even though MPI already is branded for its accounting courses, many students would insist on wanting to study outside of Sibu.
No doubt there are both pros and cons about studying in bigger and perhaps more established institutions in KL, but as pointed out by some former graduates of MPI (article in Methodist Message and Connction as interviewed and edited by the editor of Connection),there are more advantages in staying back to study in Sibu (MPI) for the same available courses.
Well. I have sort of done an email survey of my former students of 1978 asking them for their opinions regarding the future of Sibu. Majority of those who responded said that it's too late for them. They will not be able to consider coming back. They think something must be done to prevent those who are in Sibu and the younger ones from leaving.
This means more courses have to be offered. Thus the urgent need for the "Polytechnic University"

Tony Hii said...

Judy, you have given an excellent counselling to parents of aspiring students who are looking at colleges outside Sibu. I hope more parents would read your comment.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear All
There are people out there who desire Sibu to improve!
I was once asked how to eat an elephant. I quoted someone and said "One bite at a time."
I think of us who believe in helping Sibu attain a higher realm should start "eating one bite at a time".
And in time like snowballs....there will be a snowballing effect.
Be not afraid if we are seeking the truth.
And I truly believe that as long as we are doing good - we cannot be wrong. Especially if we already have all these strategies spelt out by TKH and many others.

I like to remember a the story of a cold winter when everything seemed to be lost and then a housewife started to break her loaf of bread and gave a small piece of her bread to a poor wood cutter. He gained strength and started to cut wood to help a poor family have a small fire....and every little bit of kindness added some warmth to the village. By Christmas eve every one was happy and warm.

And the village came alive!

How marvellous it is to see a whole village changed in such a way because someone decided to make a difference!!

In 1949 Methodist School started with less than 100 students and teachers. Today it is a big giant of a school. Sacred Heart and St. Elizabeth were likewise. Why not a college of good standing?

If Sibu can build the biggest temple in South East Asia why can't it build a big college? It had the Lau King Hospital and it had supported Christ Hospital of Kapit...why can't it have a grander one?

We must believe in ourselves and in our own creation.

Tan Kee Hian said...

Chang Yi,

You captured the essence of transformation really well.

While we need a plan to guide the execution, everyone could be the "housewife" who started the whole process by giving a piece of her loaf of bread to the wood cutter.

If we implement even a fraction of the ideas I shared, plus those you and others have contributed, Sibu would be well on its way to a "higher plain" and the sun will start to rise and shine on Sibu again.

Kee Hian