Get­ting a sound foun­da­tion

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - HIGHER EDUCATION -

WHAT is holis­tic education? How does holis­tic education con­nect peo­ple to the world? Dean of the Fac­ulty of Univer­sity Foun­da­tion Stud­ies Dhanesh Balakr­ish­nan shares his thoughts: “There is no sin­gle method or tech­nique for prac­tis­ing holis­tic education.”

Holis­tic education does not sim­ply in­struct young peo­ple about what is true and what is false, what is cor­rect and what is wrong, holis­tic education en­ables the learner to en­quire “What does it mean?”

“This phi­los­o­phy of pro­vid­ing a holis­tic education forms the premise for the Foun­da­tion pro­grammes at HELP Ma­tric­u­la­tion Cen­tre ( HMC).

“The foun­da­tion pro­gramme, which con­sists of Arts and Sci­ence streams, is a com­pre­hen­sive, in­ten­sive and prag­matic one- year course de­signed by ex­pe­ri­enced and dy­namic ed­u­ca­tion­ists who are mind­ful of the im­por­tance of pro­vid­ing stu­dents with a well- rounded education.

“A lot of em­pha­sis is given to crit­i­cal think­ing skills where we teach stu­dents how to think rather than what to think,” said Dhanesh.

To con­nect the stu­dents to the global chal­lenges, the lec­tur­ers at HMC are aware and sen­si­tive to the needs of the stu­dents and they take pride in equip­ping them with the nec­es­sary tools to meet the job re­quire­ments.

The Foun­da­tion in Arts and the Foun­da­tion in Sci­ence ad­dress two im­por­tant aspects of pre­par­ing stu­dents for un­der­grad­u­ate study.

The first aim of the foun­da­tion pro­gramme is to pro­vide stu­dents with the fun­da­men­tal aca­demic sub­jects that will be cru­cial in en­abling them to be ac­cepted by top- notch univer­si­ties lo­cally and abroad.

Sub­jects such as English, Math­e­mat­ics, Crit­i­cal Think­ing Skills, Per­sonal De­vel­op­ment and Lead­er­ship pro­vide the stu­dents with a good foun­da­tion to progress into var­i­ous dis­ci­plines at the un­der­grad­u­ate level.

For sci­ence stu­dents, it is up to them to choose the sci­ence sub­jects suited to the de­gree they wish to take.

The nu­mer­ous elec­tives of­fered in the foun­da­tion pro­gramme al­low them to choose dif­fer­ent sub­jects to gauge the dis­ci­pline of their choice.

The se­cond as­pect, which is equally im­por­tant, is to nur­ture them into be­com­ing well- rounded and prin­ci­pled stu­dents.

One of the big­gest griev­ances ex­pe­ri­enced by em­ploy­ers is that they are starved of com­pe­tent and hon­est em­ploy­ees.

Many lament that staff rarely show ini­tia­tive and do not have good work ethics. Hence, the Cen­tre for Per­sonal De­vel­op­ment and Lead­er­ship was set up in 2013 to nur­ture the stu­dents into be­com­ing eth­i­cal lead­ers.

Ev­ery stu­dent is re­quired to com­plete a mod­ule on Per­sonal De­vel­op­ment and Lead­er­ship, which also en­com­passes a lead­er­ship train­ing course for ev­ery foun­da­tion stu­dent.

The mod­ule looks into de­vel­op­ing their con­fi­dence, deal­ing with change, im­por­tance of team­work and cul­ti­vat­ing pos­i­tive val­ues.

Stu­dents who joined the Foun­da­tion pro­gramme shy and re­served are trans­formed into dy­namic and con­fi­dent stu­dents at the end of the course.

The var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties planned through­out the year pro­vide them with an ex­cel­lent plat­form to un­leash their po­ten­tial.

The holis­tic cur­ricu­lum has also at­tracted many top univer­si­ties in Aus­tralia, the United King­dom, New Zealand, and many other coun­tries to ac­cept the Foun­da­tion stu­dents at HELP into var­i­ous un­der­grad­u­ate pro­grammes.

Low Pei Zhen, HELP Foun­da­tion in Arts stu­dent, se­cured 11 high dis­tinc­tions and two dis­tinc­tions and was awarded the Univer­sity of Queens­land In­ter­na­tional Eco­nom­ics Schol­ar­ship to pur­sue her Bach­e­lor of Eco­nom­ics at the Univer­sity of Queens­land, Aus­tralia.

She said, “HELP Univer­sity’s Foun­da­tion pro­gramme is a well- struc­tured pro­gramme that has al­lowed me to en­hance my re­search skills and an­a­lyt­i­cal skills.

“The pro­gramme pro­motes aca­demic ex­cel­lence and in­volve­ment in ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties. It has al­lowed me to be an all- rounder.”

An­other ex- foun­da­tion stu­dent, Rachel Lai Suet Leng, said she was grate­ful to HELP for struc­tur­ing the foun­da­tion pro­gramme in a way that fo­cused not only on IQ, but also the de­vel­op­ment of the stu­dents’ EQ.

Lai just com­pleted her Masters of Phi­los­o­phy at Cam­bridge Univer­sity and is now em­bark­ing on her Phd at Cam­bridge with a full schol­ar­ship.

Be­sides for­eign univer­si­ties, many foun­da­tion stu­dents can also opt to progress into the var­i­ous de­grees at HELP such as the busi­ness, psy­chol­ogy, law, in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, early child­hood and other arts- re­lated de­grees.

Stu­dents who are in­ter­ested in medicine, en­gi­neer­ing or other sci­ence- re­lated dis­ci­plines can opt to do the Foun­da­tion in Sci­ence at HELP.

Upon com­ple­tion they can ei­ther go over­seas or join lo­cal univer­si­ties of­fer­ing sci­ence de­grees. At­trac­tive schol­ar­ships are of­fered to SPM / O- Lev­els school- leavers who do well in their SPM / O- Lev­els.

For more in­for­ma­tion, look out for the ad­ver­tise­ment in this StarSpe­cial.

dhanesh with Low Pei Zhen, who be­lieves the Foun­da­tion pro­gramme groomed her to be an achiever.

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