Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One Million Classrooms Worldwide Connected By Skype?

It’s a brand new world of education, and Skype is leading the way. No longer simply a software application that allows users to make free voice calls over the Internet, its goal is to sign up a million classrooms and bring them together to share exciting projects and ideas.

Communicating around the world via the Internet is not new. My son, who is now 27, was in sixth grade when he took part in MayaQuest, a program that connected teachers and students with an expedition team in Central America as they explored the mysterious collapse of the ancient Maya civilization. Every day for two weeks, my son and his classmates talked to the experts via email and watched them as they made their way on bikes.

Connecting Classrooms Via The Internet Is Not New

And there are numerous other examples of teachers using the Internet to connect with classrooms around the globe, bring in guest speakers without asking them to travel, and take virtual field trips.
So how is Skype in the Classroom different?

From mashable:

“Skype has been going on for many, many years, and teachers have been finding each other and they’ve been finding ways to use the power of Skype in the educational process for a long time,” said Skype CEO Tony Bates on Wednesday at the Social Good Summit. “We really felt that it was time to take this to the next level…moving from grassroots Skype in the classroom to an initiative driven by Skype.”

Skype Making Global Communication Easier

In other words, what has long been accomplished between teachers using Wikis and individual project websites is now getting some organizational help from Skype.

Using the platform, teachers can create profiles that describe their classes and teaching interests. They can also search a directory of teachers from all over the world by student age range, language and subject.

What is perhaps Skype in the Classroom’s most useful feature is a “project” tab that helps teachers find partner classrooms for projects and ideas. One teacher, for instance, used the platform to coordinate a “weather around the world” unit. A middle school in Massachusetts regularly chats with an Afghan youth peace volunteer group. Another was able to host a virtual visit from Barbara Bush.

More Than 16,000 Teachers Signed On So Far

These will be lucky students who get to take advantage of Skype’s initiative. Very cool!More than 16,000 teachers have signed up on Skype in the Classroom, since a beta version was launched in December. Not only does this sound way more engaging than reading from a thick textbook, it also opens infinite possibilities for global sharing and global understanding.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Einstein the realist - Einstein's 'biggest blunder', his proposal that the universe is not static, was a step towards discovering dark matter.

It was recently discovered that the universe's expansion is accelerating, not slowing, as was previously thought. Light from distant exploding stars revealed that an unknown force (dubbed "dark energy") more than outweighs gravity on cosmological scales.

Unexpected by researchers, such a force had nevertheless been predicted in 1915 by a modification that Albert Einstein proposed to his own theory of gravity, the general theory of relativity. But he later dropped the modification, known as the "cosmological term", calling it the "biggest blunder" of his life.

So the headlines proclaim: "Einstein was right after all", as though scientists should be compared as one would clairvoyants: Who is distinguished from the common herd by knowing the unknowable - such as the outcome of experiments that have yet to be conceived, let alone conducted? Who, with hindsight, has prophesied correctly?

But science is not a competition between scientists; it is a contest of ideas - namely, explanations of what is out there in reality, how it behaves, and why. These explanations are initially tested not by experiment but by criteria of reason, logic, applicability, and uniqueness at solving the mysteries of nature that they address. Predictions are used to test only the tiny minority of explanations that survive these criteria.

The story of why Einstein proposed the cosmological term, why he dropped it, and why cosmologists today have reintroduced it illustrates this process. Einstein sought to avoid the implication of unmodified general relativity that the universe cannot be static - that it can expand (slowing down, against its own gravity), collapse, or be instantaneously at rest, but that it cannot hang unsupported.

This particular prediction cannot be tested (no observation could establish that the universe is at rest, even if it were), but it is impossible to change the equations of general relativity arbitrarily. They are tightly constrained by the explanatory substance of Einstein's theory, which holds that gravity is due to the curvature of spacetime, that light has the same speed for all observers, and so on.

The mystery of accelerating expansion

But Einstein realised that it is possible to add one particular term - the cosmological term - and adjust its magnitude to predict a static universe, without spoiling any other explanation. All other predictions based on the previous theory of gravity - that of Isaac Newton - that were testable at the time were good approximations to those of unmodified general relativity, with that single exception: Newton's space was an unmoving background against which objects move. There was no evidence yet, contradicting Newton's view - no mystery of expansion to explain. Moreover, anything beyond that traditional conception of space required a considerable conceptual leap, while the cosmological term made no measurable difference to other predictions. So Einstein added it.

Then, in 1929, Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe is expanding, consistently (within the observational accuracy of the day) with unmodified general relativity. So Einstein dropped the cosmological term. His doing so had nothing to do with Hubble being less blunder-prone; nor was Einstein deferring to Hubble's superior prophetic abilities. It was just that the problem that the term was intended to solve no longer existed.

The new observations did not refute the existence of a cosmological term. They merely made it a bad explanation. Then, in 1998, came those new observations of a universe whose expansion is accelerating. As a result, the cosmological term that has been "reinstated" to account for the new observations is not quite the one that Einstein proposed and retracted. It is larger, for it now has to explain not just why the universe isn't collapsing, but why its expansion is accelerating.

Einstein's remark about having "blundered" is as misleading as the idea that he is "right after all." The cosmological term is not something that should never have been proposed. Its introduction represented progress in understanding reality - as did its abandonment in light of Hubble's discovery and its reinstatement in revised form to account for the new observations.

Likewise, the mid-twentieth century "Bohr-Einstein debate" about quantum theory is often misinterpreted as a personal clash between wizards. So counter-intuitive are quantum theory's predictions that, under the leadership of one of its pioneers, Neils Bohr, a myth grew that there is no underlying reality that explains them.

Particles get from A to B without passing through the intervening space, where they have insufficient energy to exist; they briefly "borrow" the energy, because we are "uncertain" about what their energy is. Information gets from A to B without anything passing in between - what Einstein called "spooky action at a distance". And so on.

Abandonment of realism

What these paradoxical interpretations have in common is that they abandon realism, the doctrine that a physical world, existing in reality, accounts for all of our experience. Anti-realism remains popular and appears in various guises in textbooks and popular accounts of quantum theory. But Einstein insisted that physical phenomena have explanations in terms of what he called "elements of reality".

Fortunately, a minority of physicists, myself included, likewise side unequivocally with realism, by adopting Hugh Everett's multiple-universes interpretation of quantum theory. According to this view, no particles exist where they have insufficient energy to be; it is simply that in some universes they have more energy than average, and in others, less. All alleged "paradoxes" of quantum theory are similarly resolved.

So, while most accounts say that Bohr won the debate, my view is that Einstein, as usual, was seeking an explanation of reality, while his rivals were advocating nonsense. Everett's interpretation doesn't make Einstein a demigod. But it does make him right.

David Deutsch is a visiting professor of physics at the Centre for Quantum Computation, the Clarendon Laboratory, University of Oxford, and author of The Fabric of Reality and The Beginning of Infinity.

A version of this article was first published on the Project Syndicate.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Selidik kesilapan fakta sejarah - Pakar IPT diminta kaji persoalan kedatangan Islam di Kepulauan Melayu.

Prof Tan Sri Dr. Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas di dalam buku terbaru beliau bertajuk "Historical Fact and Fiction" mendedahkan bahawa berlaku kekeliruan fakta dalam sejarah tanah air. Sejarah yang ditulis hari ini banyak dipengaruhi oleh penulis barat yang menulis sejarah berdasarkan kepentingan mereka dengan menafikan fakta-fakta sejarah yang menjejaskan kepentingan mereka. Mereka hanya menulis sejarah untuk kepentingan mereka sahaja. Justeru, beliau menyarankan pakar sejarah negara melakukan kajian untuk membetulkan fakta sejarah terutamanya melibatkan kedatangan Islam ke Tanah Melayu.

Prof Tan Sri Dr. Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas menyarankan agar silibus sejarah atau kefahaman sejarah dinilai semula kerana banyak kesilapan fakta dan ia perlu diperbetulkan supaya generasi akan datang memahami sejarah sebenar kedatangan Islam ke Tanah Melayu.

Diantara penyelewengan sejarah ialah asal usul nama Melaka adalah daripada perkataan arab yang membawa makna pelabuhan atau pusat perdagangan BUKAN berkait dengan pohon Melaka. Parameswara adalah Raja Melayu yang berbangsa melayu dengan nama Islamnya Muhammad serta anak seorang Raja Palembang yang dikenali sebagai Sang Aji.

Beliau juga menjelaskan bahawa pelopor yang membawa dan menyebarkan Islam di alam melayu pada zaman awal dan kemudian adalah orang Arab keturunan Rasululah, iaitu salasilah Saidina Ali Abi Talib dan Saidina Fatimah bukannya orang barat.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bukit Kepong: Mat Sabu pandai sandiwara, kata Kay Kim

September 09 2011 IPOH — Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim menyifatkan mana-mana pemimpin politik yang menyokong gerakan komunis pada masa sekarang sebagai pihak “cukup bodoh".

Dengan nada menyindir pakar sejarah ini menasihatkan semua pihak agar tidak menyalahkan Timbalan Presiden PAS Mohamad Sabu.

"Tapi dia Mohamad tidak bodoh, dia pandai bersandiwara. Jangan salahkan orang macam Mat Sabu, rakyat sendiri mesti guna akal jangan cepat percaya ” katanya pada “Wacana Peristiwa Bukit Kepong Siapa Wira Sebenar ” di Ipoh, Perak,

Mohamad mencetuskan kontroversi apabila mengiktiraf Mat Indera sebagai pejuang kemerdekaan walaupun beliau bersekongkol dengan Komunis melancarkan serangan di balai polis Bukit Kepong pada tahun 1950 dimana 25 orang terbunuh semasa pemberontakan tersebut.

Tegas Khoo sejarah kemerdekaan negara tidak boleh ditulis semula kerana ia berasaskan fakta dan peristiwa yang benar-benar berlaku.

“Sejarah mesti berasaskan fakta dan sejarah tidak boleh diubah, sejarah adalah perkara yang telah wujud atau yang sudah berlaku, sejarah adalah perkara yang sudah berlaku ” katanya di hadapan kira-kira 500 orang yang menghadiran seminar tersebut.

“Orang yang tidak faham sejarah Malaysia kerana mereka baca buku yang ditulis oleh mereka yang tidak faham, kalau tidak faham macam mana nak tulis sejarah ”

Tambahnya jelas beliau, mana-mana pihak termasuk PAS yang berniat mahu menulis semula sejarah Malaysia perlu tahu tentang sejarah.

“Kalau nak tulis pasal sejarah kita mesti tahu siapa yang nak tulis semula sejarah Malaysia,orang itu perlu tahu tentang masyarakat, sejarah orang Melayu, sejarah orang Cina dan sejarah orang. saya hendak beritahu BAHAWA British tidak pernah menjajah negara kita mereka hanya mengadakan perjanjian untuk jalankan pentadbiran tapi kedaulatan tetap ada pada raja-raja Melayu sebab itu selepas 1957 Tanah Melayu ada sembilan orang raja saya tahu ramai yang tidak tahu mengapa ” katanya.

Menyentuh soal Ahmad Indera yang disanjung pemimpin nombor dua PAS itu Khoo berkata pemimpin komunis Melayu itu tidak layak untuk digelar pejuang kemerdekaan kerana tindakannya dalam tragedi Bukit Kepong bertentangan dengan undang-undang negara “Perlembagaan adalah undang-undang tertinggi negara ini tidak boleh diubah negara kita mahu orang yang patuh pada undang-undang atau tidak Orang yang melanggar undang-undang negara tidak boleh dianggap sebagai wira ” katanya.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

PECIPTA 2011 pamer 450 hasil R&D IPT

BUAT julung kalinya, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) menganjurkan Persidangan dan Ekspo Ciptaan Institusi Pengajian Tinggi Antarabangsa 2011 (PECIPTA 2011), yang bakal mempamerkan 450 hasil penyelidikan dan pembangunan (R&D) institusi pengajian tinggi (IPT) tempatan.

Program tiga hari anjuran bersama Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi dan institut pengajian tinggi awam (IPTA), dijadual berlangsung di Pusat Konvensyen Kuala Lumpur, bermula 13 September ini.

Bertemakan `Menyemarak Inovasi Bersama Model Baru Ekonomi', PECIPTA 2011 bukan saja menjadi medan mempamerkan produk R&D, bahkan muncul sebagai lokasi strategik antara pengamal industri dan produk ciptaan berkualiti daripada penyelidik tempatan.
Naib Canselor UiTM, Prof Datuk Dr Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar, berkata aktiviti adalah satu pelan tindakan yang terkandung dalam Pelan Strategik Pendidikan Negara.

Katanya, ia selaras teras kedua Agenda Pembangunan Negara yang direncanakan dan Model Baru Ekonomi (MBE) yang diumumkan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak dalam usaha menjadikan Malaysia negara berpendapatan tinggi melalui produk inovasi.

"Kita bukan saja menumpukan kepada pameran produk inovasi IPT, bahkan membuka ruang pembabitan peserta dari sekolah menengah. PECIPTA 2011 juga menyediakan ruang kepada pihak industri dan penyelidik melalui sesi Pemadanan Perniagaan," katanya pada sidang media di UiTM, Shah Alam, baru-baru ini.

Hadir sama, Pengarah Bahagian Perancangan Kecemerlangan IPT Jabatan Pengajian Tinggi, Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi, Dr Mohd Jailani Mohd Nor dan Timbalan Naib Canselor (Pendidikan dan Inovasi) UiTM, Prof Dr Zaini Abdullah.

Sahol Hamid berkata, sebanyak 25 IPTA dan 15 sekolah sudah menyatakan persetujuan untuk menyertai pameran kali ini. Katanya, UiTM akan memperkenalkan satu kategori baru pada persidangan kali ini iaitu Newly Marketed Product (NM). "Ia akan menjadi wadah kepada penyelidik untuk mempamerkan hasil ciptaan mereka yang telah dikomersialkan di dalam pasaran tempatan atau luar negara. Syarat untuk kategori ini ialah produk terbabit mesti telah berada di pasaran tidak lebih dua tahun," katanya.

Selain pertandingan dan pameran, katanya, simposium bertajuk `Mencari Ekosistem Utuh Untuk Inovasi' membabitkan panel pakar dari Amerika Syarikat, United Kingdom, Singapura dan Malaysia juga akan diadakan. Pameran dwi tahunan itu turut mendapat pelbagai penajaan daripada beberapa badan korporat seperti Bank Islam dan Pusat Pembangunan Reka Bentuk (DDEC).

Monday, September 5, 2011

UiTM among top 600 varsities worldwide

PETALING JAYA: Universiti Malaya (UM) is the only Malaysian institution that has made it to the top 200 of the QS World University Rankings 2011/12.

It moved up 40 places to 167 this year compared to 207 in 2010.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) have all slid down the rankings (see table).

UKM is ranked 279 this year compared to 263 in 2010; USM at 335 (309), UPM 358 (319) and UTM at between 401 and 450 (365).

For the first time, the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) were included in the rankings at 451-500 and 601+ respectively.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordincongratulated UM on its improvement, saying it was a reflection of the hard work put in by the university staff.

“I am also happy that two more of our institutions, IIUM and UiTM, have made it to the QS World University Rankings,” he said.

However, he said rankings were not the ministry's main objective as it was important to ensure universities contribute to the development process of the country.

QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) Ltd Intelligence Unit head Ben Sowter said QS conducts and compiles the annual World University Rankings, which is an annual league table of the top universities in the world.

The rankings are based on data gathered and measured in academic peer review, employer reputation review, international faculty ratio, international student ratio, student faculty ratio, and citations per faculty.

On UM's improvement, Sowter said it was the only Malaysian institution to have improved in its academic, employer scores and international aspects this year.

He said UKM lost ground in the employer reputation review and citations per faculty but improved in academic reputation.

“IIUM entered directly into the top 500, which is an excellent result for a new entry, while UiTM is lower down but deserves inclusion,” he said.

He said 2,919 institutions were considered for the rankings this year.

UM vice-chancellor Prof Tan Sri Dr Ghauth Jasmon said the policy to have academics and postgraduate students improved their quality of research and to have their output published in the Thomson Institute for Scientific Information indexed journals was paying off.

“This is a key policy that will continue under my administration so the promise of getting UM into the Top 100 in the QS World University Rankings will be achieved by 2015,” he said.

Cambridge University topped the QS World University Rankings this year followed by Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, Oxford University and Imperial College London.

The highest ranked Asian universities are University of Hong Kong at 22, University of Tokyo (25) and the National University of Singapore (28).

(Sources - http://thestar.com.my)

Iceland says it was 'bullied' over bank debt

REYKJAVIK (Sept 4, 2011): Iceland's president accused European countries on Sunday of having bullied it into agreeing to guarantee repayment of the debts of a failed bank, reviving a dispute with Britain and the Netherlands whose citizens are owed billions.

When Iceland's banking sector collapsed in the 2008 global financial crisis, accounts were frozen at the bank Landsbanki, which had accepted deposits from British and Dutch savers through online funds called Icesave.

Iceland says the estate of the failed bank will be enough to repay about US$5 billion (RM15 billion) of debt to the British and the Dutch. The two countries had wanted the government in Reykjavik to give a state guarantee to the repayment.

In a referendum earlier this year, Icelanders rejected for a second time giving a guarantee.

"People (in the government) bowed to the bullying of the Europeans ...," President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson told RUV public radio. He said the British and Dutch demand that the government guarantee the debt had been "absurd".

"So, what is happening now is proving that if the issue had been handled sensibly here from the beginning, it would have been totally unnecessary to put the people of Iceland and our cooperation with Europe into this straightjacket," he said.

"The EU should investigate and face up to how in the world it was possible that EU member states agreed to support this absurd claim against Iceland," he said.

The British and Dutch, with the support of other EU nations, had also persuaded the International Monetary Fund to pressure Iceland, Grimsson said, adding that former IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn told him in January 2010 he was unhappy that the Fund was being used as a "fist" against Iceland.

Since the 2008 global financial crisis, Iceland had to accept a bailout led by the IMF, accompanied by a programme of economic reforms which have just been completed.

The administrators of Landsbanki have said the estate of the bank can more than repay the British and Dutch. They have said the payments can begin later this year after final domestic legal action is out of the way. – Reuters

(Sources - http://www.thesundaily.my)


Posted on 7 July, 2011 04:35 by Saifuddin Abdullah in The Malaysian Insider

6 JULAI — Perkembangan politik mutakhir, sama ada di tanah air ataupun di seberang laut, menimbulkan beberapa persoalan tentang demokrasi. Ada yang mengungkapkan fenomena defisit demokrasi, iaitu perihal terhadnya partisipasi rakyat. Ada yang mengatakan dunia berada di zaman pasca-demokrasi, iaitu natijah daripada kecanggihan masyarakat moden. Manakala ada yang menyifatkannya sebagai krisis politik egalitarian.

Adakah zaman keemasan demokrasi telah berakhir, iaitu akibat arus globalisasi dan terhakisnya fungsi negara-bangsa?

Demokrasi masih sistem politik yang terbaik. Tetapi, untuk menambahkan kekuatannya dan mengurangkan kelemahannya, maka, kita perlu melakukan pemikiran-semula tentang demokrasi, iaitu cara kita berfikir dan berbuat atas nama demokrasi, malahan, tentang gagasan demokrasi itu sendiri.

Dalam konteks ini, saya telah menyarankan agar kita melakukan sesuatu untuk mematangkan demokrasi negara ini. Ia selaras dengan salah satu daripada cabaran Wawasan 2020, iaitu mewujudkan masyarakat demokratik yang matang.

Saya telah mencadangkan pendekatan politik baru, yang antara lain, meliputi ‘kerangka governans baru’ dan ‘inovasi demokrasi’. Kedua-duanya merujuk kepentingan untuk meningkatkan partisipasi rakyat dalam struktur dan proses membuat keputusan.

Pada masa yang sama, sebenarnya, kita sedang berhadapan dengan ‘transformasi ketiga demokrasi’, iaitu frasa yang digunakan Robert Dahl (1994), dalam tulisannya, “A Democratic Dilemma: Systems Effectiveness vs Citizen Participation”.

Menurut Dahl, ‘transformasi pertama demokrasi’ telah berlaku pada separuh pertama abad kelima sebelum Masehi, di Greece, di mana wilayah-wilayah yang tidak mengamalkan demokrasi, iaitu mengamalkan aristokrasi, oligarki, monarki, atau campuran antara ketiga-tiganya, telah berubah lalu mengamalkan demokrasi.

Demokrasi dilaksanakan dalam ruang lingkup negara-kota yang kecil. Institusi demokrasi yang utama ialah dewan perhimpunan di mana semua rakyat dapat berpartisipasi secara langsung. Ini dapat dilakukan kerana jumlah rakyatnya kecil sahaja.

Dalam ‘transformasi kedua demokrasi’, demokrasi telah bertukar daripada negara-kota yang kecil kepada peringkat negara-bangsa yang lebih besar. Partisipasi semua rakyat secara langsung tidak lagi praktikal kerana jumlahnya sudah besar. Apa yang menyebabkan transformasi kedua ini berjaya ialah idea dan amalan yang kini dianggap amat penting bagi demokrasi, iaitu perwakilan.

Akibat transformasi yang meliputi saiz dan bentuk demokrasi ini, maka, wujudlah institusi-institusi dan amalan-amalan demokrasi yang sedang kita laksanakan hari ini, seperti pilihan raya dan parlimen. Rakyat berpartisipasi dalam pilihan raya dengan memilih wakilnya untuk berhimpun di parlimen.

Kini, ‘transformasi ketiga demokrasi’ sedang berjalan. Modelnya belum begitu jelas. Tetapi, apa yang jelas ialah dua perkara. Pertama, rakyat, termasuk belia/mahasiswa dan wanita, mahu partisipasinya ditingkatkan dan diluaskan. Ini memerlukan inovasi demokrasi. Dan kedua, kerajaan tidak boleh lagi menggunakan kerangka lama, iaitu memerintah, tetapi perlu menggunakan kerangka baru, iaitu governans. Ini memerlukan kerangka governans baru.

Untuk membicarakan transformasi ketiga ini, Hubert Heinelt (2010) menulis buku Governing Modern Societies: Towards participatory governance. Ia menyorot keperluan diwujudkan sistem dan amalan demokrasi yang melampaui struktur kerajaan yang sedia ada. Ia menekankan soal governans yang bersifat partisipatori.

Heinelt mengemukakan lima perspektif. Pertama, governans bersifat partisipatori beroperasi dalam satu model yang terdiri daripada dunia-dunia demokrasi yang berbeza-beza, iaitu yang pelbagai norma governans dan makna demokrasinya.

Kedua, governans beroperasi di tengah-tengah sektor-sektor kepentingan yang berbeza-beza dan saling lengkap melengkapi, yang memerlukan legitimasi yang berbeza-beza juga, iaitu mengikut keperluan masing-masing sektor.

Ketiga, perlu digalakkan banyak diskusi dan debat tentang reformasi, inovasi dan transformasi demokrasi dan governans, iaitu berhubung soal legitimasi, keberkesanan, akauntabiliti dan sebagainya. Kita tidak sepatutnya menonjolkan perbezaan-perbezaan dalam perbincangan dan pendekatan tersebut atau menolaknya semata-mata kerana ketiadaan kata sepakat. Sebaliknya, kita patut menggunakan apa-apa yang baik dalam setiap perbincangan dan pendekatan tersebut sebagai saling lengkap melengkapi.

Keempat, perlu diwujudkan model baru geometri politik yang anjal. Mengikut model ini, struktur governans yang vertikal diapit oleh peranan masyarakat sivil yang diiktiraf. Ini menambahkan peluang yang luas untuk menyelesaikan masalah dengan berkesan dan meningkatkan partisipasi rakyat di pelbagai peringkat melalui pelbagai amalan demokrasi.

Dan kelima, walaupun untuk mencapai matlamat bermasyarakat, beberapa peraturan dan norma diperlukan, tetapi, kewujudan kepelbagaian dan perbezaan perlu diraikan dan keseragaman politik dalam semua hal perlu dipersoalkan. Ini kerana matlamat dan keberhasilan politik ditentukan sendiri oleh mereka yang berpartisipasi dalamnya dan oleh orang lain yang menerima kesan daripadanya, manakala keputusan boleh berubah mengikut ruang dan masa yang bergantung pada konteksnya yang khusus.

Kesimpulannya, sistem-sistem demokrasi perlu dilihat sebagai bentuk-bentuk artikulasi, intermediasi dan pembuatan keputusan yang kompleks dan pelbagai.

Untuk menilai sejauhmana sesebuah kerajaan mengamalkan governans bersifat partisipatori, lima elemen perlu diambil kira, iaitu: keterbukaan dan mudah akses; mutu perbincangan yang diadakan; keberkesanan mencapai objektif yang dibincang bersama; saluran dengan ruang awam; dan kebersamaan dalam membuat dan melaksanakan keputusan dan tindakan.

Proses pembentukan model demokrasi terkini hasil daripada transformasi ketiga ini kelihatan bergerak dengan pantas. Sebahagian daripada kepantasannya itu disebabkan oleh faktor yang berada di luar domain demokrasi, tetapi memberikan dampak besar yang saling lengkap melengkapi, iaitu teknologi media baru.

Menurut Leah A. Lierouw (2011) dalam bukunya, Alternative and Activist New Media, media baru ditandai oleh tiga komponen utama, iaitu ‘artifak’ atau peralatan yang membolehkan dan memanjangkan kapasiti rakyat untuk berkomunikasi dan berkongsi; ‘amalan’ dan aktiviti komunikasi yang dilakukan rakyat dengan menggunakan artifak itu; dan ‘aturan’ sosial dan organisasi yang lebih luas yang bentuk oleh rakyat dengan mengoptimumkan artifak dan amalan tersebut.

Apabila aktivis demokrasi menggunakan media baru, terutamanya dengan mengintegrasikan artifak, amalan dan aturan itu hingga menjadi ‘gelanggang’ baru, seperti e-demokrasi, maka kepantasan transformasi ini menjadi semakin memuncak.

Transformasi ketiga demokrasi bergerak umpama sebuah keretapi laju. Kita ada empat pilihan. Pilihan pertama, ialah segera menaikinya dan mengemudinya ke arah dan dengan kelajuan yang kita ingini. Pilihan kedua, ialah lambat menaikinya lalu hanya sempat sekadar menjadi penumpang sahaja. Pilihan ketiga, ialah terlalu lambat menaikinya hingga ditinggalkannya. Dan pilihan keempat, ialah menghalangnya lalu mati dilanggarnya.

* Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah is deputy minister for higher education and Umno supreme council member.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Harapan tinggi kepada UiTM

KUALA LUMPUR 2 Sept. - Kerajaan meletakkan harapan tinggi kepada Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) untuk membantu meningkatkan keupayaan pelajar bumiputera menerusi pendidikan dan seterusnya berjaya dalam kerjaya.

Menteri Pengajian Tinggi, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin berkata, UiTM kini menjadi satu-satunya institusi yang menyediakan tempat kepada 200,000 pelajar untuk mengikuti pelbagai program yang ditawarkan.

Kata beliau, harapan kementerian itu adalah selaras dengan hasrat negara untuk melahirkan modal insan berpengetahuan tinggi selain berkemahiran tinggi.

"Kita sekarang mengharapkan UiTM dapat melaksanakan peranan itu untuk membantu memajukan orang Melayu bagi membolehkan mereka menguasai ilmu dan pengetahuan.

"Kerajaan percaya UiTM mampu mencapai matlamat itu berikutan kedudukan dan lokasi kampus UiTM terletak di seluruh negara berbanding universiti lain," katanya kepada Utusan Malaysia di sini hari ini.

Dalam usaha mengangkat peranan UiTM lebih tinggi, Mohamed Khaled berkata, universiti berkenaan telah menyediakan 'Program Destini Anak Bangsa' iaitu pelajar lemah diberi peluang membangunkan keupayaan masing-masing untuk mendapat peluang kedua.

Selain itu, beliau berkata, UiTM juga diminta memberi tumpuan terhadap pembangunan bagi melahirkan tenaga teknikal di kalangan pelajar kerana antara lain ia selari dengan matlamat kerajaan mengarusperdanakan Institut Pendidikan Teknikal dan Latihan Vokasional (TEVT).

Katanya, kerajaan kini memberi tumpuan untuk melahirkan tenaga profesional dan separa profesional dalam kemahiran teknikal kerana semua teknologi yang diwujudkan dalam negara perlu digerakkan oleh kalangan mereka yang terlibat secara langsung dalam teknikal.

"Pada masa ini, negara-negara maju juga telah menetapkan 60 nisbah 40 iaitu tenaga teknikal 60 dan bukan teknikal 40," kata beliau

(Sumber - http://www.utusan.com.my)