The Decline of Students’ Academic Performance: Causes and Impacts to the Country’s Development

In facing the country’s situation that is fast developing, education is not only a necessity extremely important amongst youths, but it is central for the country’s advancement. This is because the standard of education has a close relationship with employment standards, social status, income and a better living standard. Therefore, academic excellence is a major goal of students, parents and educators. The need for skilled human resources and knowledge at the tertiary level, for example, is increasing. New areas relevant to the needs of development and the expanding of current economic and social matters of the country become a priority.

The issue of poor academic performance among students of public and private higher education institutions becomes a serious issue because they are expected to be individuals who are knowledgeable and able to handle problems of the current development of a society. This is because students are the hope of the country because they are the ones who will inherit the reins of leadership that will shape the future of a spectacular Malaysia. The problem of deteriorating student academic performance in public and private higher education institutions should be given serious attention by the authorities including the Ministry of Higher Education, universities, parents and also students.

Decline in academic performance is not supposed to happen because I believe that students in public and private higher education institutions are made up of those who are bright and brilliant. The issue of declining academic performance among students of public and private institutions will have a major impact on the process of producing a world class human capital, and it seems to impair the government’s noble intention of making Malaysia the best centre of learning at an international level. The country will also face problems in dealing with the competition of developed countries at the global level.

Culture shock and a care-less attitude is believed to be the reasons of 112, 132 students failing to obtain the results of the grade point average (GPA) 2.0 until the loan of their study gets ultimately frozen as revealed by Datuk Dr. Mohamad Shahrum Osman when he was still the Chairman of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN).

In my opinion, achieving an average GPA below 2.0 is not acceptable, especially for full-time students, more so at institutions of higher learning. According to statistics conducted by the Enforcement Division and the Inspectorate, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Higher Education, from January to June this year, 17 private institutions were compounded and one of the offences is by taking students under the minimum requirements. Offence to take students under the minimum requirement is also seen as a major factor that has contributed to the decline of academic performance.

Psychologist for Children and Adolescents, School of Psychology and Human Development, National University Malaysia (UKM), Associate Professor Dr. Khaidir Ismail believes culture shock to be a major problem to the students in their search for identity which led to easily accepting changes in the environment. Aggravating the situation more is when there are a handful of public and private university students influenced by foreign culture until they get drifted and eventually forget the responsibility to learn. It turns out that the freedom and convenience given gets misused by students who feel that they do not need to strive to get good results because they are already ‘successfully’ in university.

Among other causes that led to the decline of academic performance is associated with learning through the wrong techniques. Mastery of knowledge can be enhanced by the proper learning techniques. Most students who perform less than satisfactory are not only unable to manage the time to learn well but they are also less prepared before taking examinations. The wrong attitude and mentality plague students when they learn just to pass the examinations. The attitude of students who often take it easy on any matter is also among the contributors to the decline in their academic performance. Complacency and not striving enough in doing learning activities make them forget their responsibilities as a student. In addition, the culture of 'last minute' is also seen affecting their academic performance.

I am concerned if this situation continues, the country will face a shortage of skilled workers, professionals, academics, economists and others. The level of education will face a serious problem in view of the university's products failing to work for the national and public interest. Thus, I would want to suggest for the authorities especially the Ministry of Higher Education to improve monitoring of academic performance at all public and private higher learning institutions throughout the country. Serious monitoring is viewed as able to help improve the academic performance of tertiary education in Malaysia. Studies and research on the dominant source of the problem enables learning and academic achievement to be at the maximum level.

As a student, I would be very pleased to see Malaysian students succeed in the academic aspects as well as personality-wise. A deep awareness of the importance of a student’s role to the country's future is the key to this problem. Therefore, the cooperation and efforts of all parties are essential in order to improve and enhance the performance of the country’s education quality.



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