Bukan mudah dapat PhD

Oleh: Dr. Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil

Tulisan Adam Kadir berjudul Pemakaian ‘Dr.’ Perlu Pengiktirafan Rasmi dalam Utusan Malaysia (8 April 2008) ada kebenarannya. Dalam usaha Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi yang meletakkan sasaran 100 ribu pemegang PhD menjelang 2015, maka ramai yang secara tiba-tiba menggunakan gelaran tersebut.

PhD atau Doktor Falsafah mengikut kamus Oxford Advanced Learner‘s Dictionary ialah ijazah tertinggi yang dianugerah oleh sesebuah universiti. Penganugerahan tersebut dibuat setelah calon berjaya membuat penyelidikan yang mencapai standard PhD dalam sesuatu bidang.

Pendek kata, ijazah PhD bukanlah suatu ijazah yang mudah diperoleh. Ia melalui satu proses pembelajaran dan penyelidikan yang tinggi mutunya sesuai dengan status ketinggian ijazah tersebut.

Kebanyakan universiti di Malaysia dan United Kingdom misalnya, tempoh minimum pengajian PhD mengambil masa tiga tahun, dan tempoh maksimum enam tahun sekiranya dibuat secara sepenuh masa. Bagi pengajian separuh masa tempoh yang diberi adalah sehingga lapan tahun bagi sesetengah universiti.

Manakala pengajian PhD secara jarak jauh banyak membawa perdebatan yang bersetuju dan ada yang menentang. Ada yang mendakwa mendapat Ijazah PhD dari sebuah universiti terkemuka di luar negara tetapi malangnya, universiti itu tidak diberi pengiktirafan Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA).

Ini kerana, peranan JPA adalah untuk menjaga ‘taraf dan mutu’ sesuatu ijazah yang dianugerahkan oleh sesebuah universiti. Maka tidak hairanlah JPA tidak mengiktiraf sesetengah ijazah walaupun di peringkat Sarjana Muda dengan alasan ia tidak mencapai mutu dan standard yang dikehendaki dalam satu-satu bidang berkenaan.

Dalam menyahut cabaran Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi yang mahukan ramai pemegang PhD di kalangan pensyarah, sudah tentulah ramai di kalangan kakitangan akademik ‘terpaksa’ menyambung pengajian mereka ke peringkat PhD. Sebagai seorang pensyarah, penulis berpendapat pensyarah yang tidak memiliki Ijazah PhD ‘belum sempurna keilmuannya’ kerana dengan melalui pengajian di peringkat tersebut, seseorang akan didedahkan method pengajian dan penyelidikan yang cukup tinggi nilai, mutu dan standardnya.

Sesebuah tesis yang dihasilkan dalam masa pengajian tiga hingga empat tahun misalnya, akan membuahkan satu teori atau penemuan baru dalam satu-satu bidang. Malah, kalau ia tidak membuahkan satu teori baru, ia tidak dianggap tesis PhD. Begitu juga, kalau ia tidak membuktikan satu hasil penyelidikan yang tidak ada tolok bandingnya.

Sesebuah tesis PhD akan melalui banyak proses – daripada cadangan (proposal) dan mempertahankan cadangan tersebut (defend proposal) di peringkat universiti yang akan dinilai oleh pakar-pakar dalam bidang tersebut, baik dari segi kandungan dan juga pendekatan methodologi.

Seseorang yang telah melalui pengalaman ini, sudah tentu merasai pahit maung dikritik dan ‘dibelasah’ dalam sesi defend proposal.

Terdapat juga pendekatan upgrading dari M. Phil ke PhD yang diamalkan terutama mereka yang membuat pengajian di United Kingdom. Bagi mereka ini, tempoh setahun hingga setahun setengah merupakan tahun getir kerana tanpa berjaya melalui upgrading ke PhD, seseorang itu dianggap gagal memperolehi ijazah PhD.

Dalam melihat keaslian dan kesahihan penyelidikan yang dibuat, kebanyakan universiti di Malaysia mahupun luar negara mensyaratkan pemeriksaan melalui viva secara oral. Ini bagi memastikan penyelidik tersebut benar-benar ‘mendalami’ hasil kajian yang dibuat dalam tesis PhDnya.

Ia juga bertujuan untuk melihat kesahihan penyelidik tersebut. Maka tohmahan bahawa sesebuah tesis PhD boleh diperolehi melalui upahan akan terjawab dalam proses viva. Ini kerana, kadang-kadang pemeriksa akan bertanya soalan-soalan sampingan yang tiada kaitan dengan kajian tesis PhD tersebut.

Dalam hal ini, penulis banyak melihat kawan-kawan yang sama-sama berjaya memperolehi PhD dan tidak ketinggalan, ramai juga yang gagal. Kalau diambil tempoh pengajian tiga hingga empat tahun untuk tamat pengajian, agak sedikit mereka yang lulus dalam tempoh ini. Ada yang mengambil sehingga 10 tahun untuk tamat pengajian.

Bagi mereka yang gagal, mungkin kerana nasib tidak menyebelahi mereka. Dalam pengamatan penulis, terdapat kawan-kawan yang rajin dan tekun serta berdisiplin semasa pengajian, tetapi nasib tidak menyebelahi mereka di mana penyelia meninggal dunia atau bertukar tempat. Maka pengajian PhD itu terbengkalai akibat keadaan itu kerana tiada pensyarah lain yang boleh menyelia tesis tersebut justeru kerana bukan bidang kepakaran atau kemahiran mereka.

Maka, persoalannya, bagaimana tergamak seseorang insan itu sanggup menggelarkan dirinya seorang ‘Dr.’ seandainya beliau tidak melalui proses ‘kepenatan’ dan ‘kesengsaraan’ mental, emosi dan fizikal dalam menyiapkan penyelidikan PhD tersebut.

Seperti yang dinukilkan oleh Prof. Dr. Kamil Ibrahim dalam bukunya PhD Kecil Tapi Signifikan, UPENA, UiTM (2005), ijazah PhD ialah suatu keperluan akademik yang sangat perlu di universiti seandainya seseorang itu mahu dianggap sebagai seorang scholar.

Beliau menambah, “PhD merupakan suatu proses unik. Ramai yang mencuba untuk mendapatkannya, tetapi ramai yang kecundang. Mereka yang berjaya pula melalui pelbagai halangan. Ada orang mengatakan ia suatu proses yang cukup perit dan meletihkan.”

Tambahan pula, “terlalu sedikit yang dapat menyiapkan pengajian mereka tepat mengikut jadual. Apatah lagi untuk mencari mereka yang tamat kurang dari tiga tahun. Ia boleh dibilang dengan jari.”

Demi menjaga mutu dan standard sesebuah ijazah PhD yang dianugerahkan oleh sesebuah universiti, sudah tentulah tesis itu akan dinilai oleh peers dalam bidang berkenaan terlebih dahulu sebelum dinilai oleh pihak pemeriksa luar.

Bagi Universiti Malaya sebagai contohnya, amalan sekarang ialah pemeriksa luar bagi tesis PhD mestilah seorang profesor yang memiliki PhD dan disyaratkan mesti dari luar negara. Sudah tentulah proses untuk mendapat ijazah PhD bukannya mudah tetapi semakin susah.

Mengambil kira faktor-faktor di atas, amat wajar saranan Adam Kadir supaya pihak JPA memainkan peranan pengiktirafan sesebuah ijazah PhD walaupun ia datang dari Barat. Ia hendaklah melalui proses pengajian PhD sebenar walaupun ia dibuat secara jarak jauh. Bagi mereka yang suka memakai gelaran ‘Dr.’ walaupun gagal kerana terkandas di tengah jalan, pertanyaan ikhlas penulis ialah, apakah mereka ini tidak merasa malu dan dipandang serong oleh kawan dan orang awam.

Sebagai contoh, memang terdapat mereka yang membuat pengajian PhD di luar negara secara jarak jauh dan tiba-tiba meletakkan nama ‘Dr.’ Apakah mereka ini memang melalui pengajian PhD dalam erti kata sebenar?

Terdapat pensyarah yang gagal memperoleh PhD setelah melalui pengajian sepenuh masa dan kemudian berusaha lagi dengan membuatnya secara jarak jauh. Namun ia tidak diiktiraf oleh universiti berkenaan, maka dengan sendirinya dia rela menerima ‘pelucutan’ penggunaan gelaran ‘Dr.’

Maka penulis mencadangkan supaya pengiktirafan penggunaan gelaran ‘Dr.’ hendaklah diperketatkan. Pihak JPA hendaklah diberi peranan dalam memberi pengiktirafan tersebut.

Bagi pensyarah di universiti, pengiktirafan ini boleh diturun kuasa oleh JPA kepada Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi yang kemudian akan memberi pengiktirafan tersebut.

Masalahnya ialah bagi mereka yang bekerja sendiri atau di sektor swasta, gelaran ‘Dr.’ juga mesti dibuat pengiktirafan oleh pihak JPA. Selagi mana pengiktirafan tersebut tidak diperoleh, seseorang individu dilarang sama sekali mengguna gelaran tersebut.

Bagi mereka yang mendapat ijazah PhD dari universiti bagus dan menggunakan gelaran tersebut tanpa pengiktirafan oleh pihak JPA, adalah dicadangkan supaya satu undang-undang mengenai salah laku penggunaan gelaran ‘Dr.’ hendaklah dibuat demi menjaga kemurnian dan kesarjanaan seseorang yang bergelar ‘Dr.’

Sumber: Dr. Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil

Prophet Muhammad PBUH is “Kalki Avatar” in Hindu Scripture

by: Ahamad Yanuana Samantho

A phamplet containing the following was distributed at a mosque in Chicago recently. Pundit Vedaprakash Upadhyai, a Hindu Professor, in his stunning book claims that the description of the ‘AVATAR”  found in the Holy Books of the Hindu religion, matches the Holy Prophet Muhammed (P.B.U.H.).

Recently in India, a fact-revealing book has been published. The book has been the topic of discussion and gossip all over the country.If the author of this were a Muslim he probably would have been arrested or murdered.

Perhaps all copies of this book would have been confiscated. Maybe, even  a ban would have been extended.  A riot and violence would have broken out against the innocent Muslims and their blood would been shed.

Amazingly the author of this book, Pundit Vedaprakash Upadhyai, is a learned and famous Hindu Professor. The book is called ‘KALKI AVATAR”.  Pundit Vedaprakash Upadhyai is a Hindu Brahmin of Bengali origin. He is a research scholar at the  Allahabad University in India.

After years of research, he published this book and no less than eight pundits have endorsed and certified his points of arguments as authentic.
According to the Hindu belief, the Hindu world awaits “the guide and leader” named “Kalki Avatar”. However, the description as given in the Holy scriptures of the Hinduspoints only to Prophet Muhammed (P.B.U.H.) of Arabia. Therefore, the Hindus of the world should not wait any longer for the arrival of “Kalki Avatar” (the spirit) and should readily accept Prophet
Muhammed (P.B.U.H.) as “Kalki Avatar”.  These are his facts verified and supported by eight other prominent pundits.

What the author says is that Hindus, who are still anxiously awaiting the arrival of Kalki Avatar are simply subjecting themselves to never ending pain. Because, such a great messenger has already arrived and departed from
this world fourteen centuries years ago. The author produces sound evidences from the Vedas and other Holy books of the Hindu religion in support of his claim:-

1. In the Puranas (Hindu Scriptures), it is stated that Kalki Avatar would be the last messenger of God in this world. He would be for the guidance of the whole world and allhuman beings;

2. According to the Hindu religion prediction the birth of Kalki Avatar would take place in an isle, which again according to Hindu religion is Arab region;

3. In the books of the Hindus, the names of the father and the mother of Kalki Avatar are given as VISHNUBHAGAT and SUMAANI respectively.  If we examine the meaning of these names we shall come to some very interesting conclusion.

VISHNU (Meaning GOD) + BHAGAT (Meaning SLAVE) = SLAVE of GOD  = ABDULLAH (In Arabic) is the name of Prophet’s Muhammed’s (P.B.U.H.) father.

SUMAANI (Meaning PEACE and CALMNESS)  =  AMEENAH (Meaning PEACE in Arabic) is the name of the Prophet Muhammed’s (P.B.U.H.) mother.

4. In the religious books of the Hindus, it is mentioned that the staple food of  Kalki Avatar would be dates and olives and he would be the most honest and trustful person in the region.  Without any doubt, Prophet Muhammed is acclaimed to possess these qualities;

5. It is stated in the Vedas (Holy Boook of the Hindu religion) that the birth of Kalki Avatar would take place in an Honourable clan.  This perfectly fits the Quraysh where Prophet Muhammed (P.B.U.H.) belonged to;

6.  God would teach Kalki Avatar through His Messenger (Angel) in a cave. Allah taught Prophet Muhammed (P.B.U.H.) through His Messenger (Angel Gabriel) in a cave known as Ghaar-e-Hira.

7.  God would provide Kalki Avatar with a very speedy horse to ride and travel the world and the seven skies.  Indication of Burraq (the horse)  and Mee’raj (the night when Prophet Muhammed(P.B. U.H.) travelled the seven skies;

8. God would provide Kalki Avatar with Divine Help. This was particularly proved in the “Battle of Uhud”.

9.  Another dazzling account given about Kalki Avatar was that he would be born on the 12th of a month. Prophet Muhammed was born on the 12th of Rabbi-Ul -Awwal  (Hijra Calendar;

10.Kalki Avatar would be an excellent horse rider and swordsman.  The author here draws the attention of the Hindus that the real days of the horses and swords have gone and the present time of guns and missiles.  So it would be foolish on the part of those who still expect Kalki Avatar, who should be an excellent rider and swordsman to come.  In fact, the Divine Book, the Holy Quran, contains qualities and signs attributed to Kalki Avatar reflecting on the Prophet Muhammed (P.B.U.H.).  The Author has given numerous arguments in favour of his claim that Kalki Avatar is in fact  Prophet Muhammed (P.B.U.H.) and those who still await the arrival of Kalki Avatar should not waste time.

Source: https://ahmadsamantho.wordpress.com (2010)

12 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Eat Eggs

Why we need ‘useless’ knowledge

by: Mohamad Firdaus Raih

The research Nur Adlyka Annuar (sitting from left) and her colleagues are doing is curiosity driven and therefore, it is considered as basic research

ON April 4, Nur Adlyka Annuar, an astronomy PhD candidate at Durham University, received a congratulatory letter from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for her part in the discovery of a supermassive black hole. Like many other Malaysians, I take pride in her achievement and wish her the best for the future. I am not going to elaborate on the subject of black holes, but I would like to centre our discussion on the nature of Adlyka’s topic of study.

In Malaysia, research being carried out in the universities and research institutes can generally be divided into fundamental or basic research, and applied research. So what are the differences between these two streams of research?

Basic research, as the name implies, is the acquisition of knowledge about the fundamental workings of our natural world. It aims to answer questions that are usually curiosity driven, such as, “Why is our sky blue?; How do we get a disease?; What are those twinkling lights we see in the night sky?; Why/How does a firefly flash/glow?; How does the body turn food into energy?” and others like it. The questions that can stem from our curiosity are perhaps endless and there will always be new questions as we understand new things.

Applied research on the other hand takes on the knowledge that is acquired from basic research and develops that knowledge into a useful application such as a technology or a technique. But let’s not dwell on definitions and instead look at some real-world examples.

Nur Adlyka’s research into black holes appears to have no apparent use except in terms of knowledge value — so now you know that there is a huge black hole a few million light years away. Many of us are not even concerned with what goes on in our own neighbourhoods, this makes a place that is not even reachable within our lifetime as hardly something that would spark our interest. The research Adlyka and her colleagues are doing is curiosity driven and therefore it is considered as basic research. Nevertheless, such knowledge may have uses that we may not yet be aware of.

The most expensive scientific infrastructure (I dare not call it an instrument) ever constructed, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), basically just accelerates very, very small objects of matter called particles and crashes them into each other in order to see what happens. Again, there appears to be nothing that can be gained commercially in return for the tens of billions of dollars invested in the LHC except furthering our understanding of the world around us. But yet, developed nations and funding agencies are spending millions and billions of dollars to support fundamental research that has no apparent use.

One of my favourite stories on basic research and applied research is the one about the discovery of antibiotics. Sir Alexander Fleming, the biologist who is credited with the discovery of antibiotics, observed that bacteria he was trying to culture were not able to grow near a mould that had contaminated his culture plates. He translated this to mean that the mould was producing something that was preventing bacterial growth. However, it was Lord Howard Florey and Sir Ernst Chain who took that knowledge and developed it into the application of antibiotics that we know of today. All three were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945.

Another story that has had a large impact on humankind is the discovery of Röntgen radiation. Wilhelm Röntgen was the first winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1901. He was experimenting with vacuum tubes when he chanced upon the discovery of the rays named after him. A few weeks after his discovery of the mysterious rays emanating from the vacuum tubes, he was able to take a photograph using them. The photograph was that of his wife’s hand, or specifically, an image of the bones in his wife’s hand. Not knowing what these rays were, he had named them X-rays, the X in reference to it being something unknown. X-rays and antibiotics have probably saved hundreds of millions of lives since their first use in medicine until the present day.

Basic research contributes to the foundation of our collective knowledge as a species.

Despite what may seem like a waste of funds, knowledge from basic research is the cornerstone that has enabled numerous disruptive innovations that we use in our daily lives. However, is our approach to science and research funding in Malaysia duly considering the impact that fundamental research can bring forth? Or are we arrogant enough to think that we can know which knowledge is going to be useless and which ones will be useful and thus only fund those that will be of perceived future use?

I do not disagree that applied research is necessary. The story about the discovery and following deployment of antibiotics for treating bacterial infections clearly demonstrates how applied research is necessary to capitalise on the fundamental knowledge gained from basic research. But are we just focusing too much on applied research for what we think are quick return of investments for R&D?

Malaysia is definitely not lacking in the talent to carry out world class research, even in areas of basic research that are at the boundaries and forefront of human knowledge. Adlyka and many others like her are testament to this fact. It is our responsibility as Malaysians to support such endeavours, be it in the financial sense or in the form of infrastructure and moral support. Basic research has the potential to bring pride and riches to the nation. But we must first have the humility to accept how little we know and as a result, strive to understand more.

The Nobel laureate and physicist Richard Feynman once wrote on a blackboard: “What I cannot create, I do not understand”. It is time for us to want to understand, and from there we can hope to create great and wonderful things. It is from basic research that we can bring about revolutionary innovation. We must aim to create new machines and applications, and not forever be doomed to incrementally make improvements to an old machine.

The writer is a bioinformatician and molecular biologist with the Faculty of Science and Technology and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Systems Biology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Source: NSTonline (12th April 2017)

26 time-management tricks

by: Shana Lebowitz

Most people learn time management the hard way: by trial and error.

Étienne Garbugli, a Montreal-based product and marketing consultant and the author of “Lean B2B: Build Products Businesses Want,” distilled the lessons he wishes he’d known when he was 20.

He created the following presentation, posted to SlideShare, which we’ve shared here with his permission.

This is an update of an article originally posted by Max Nisen and Jenna Goudreau.

Source: The Business Insider (6th July 2016)