Sunday, December 12, 2010

Back at Monash - Ancora Imparo

So, after a lapse of more than 24 years, I was back at Monash, this time with the two boys in tow, and received a very warm welcome.

Albeit this being at the Sunway campus.

Everything is so well organized, from the welcome to chatting with the individuals representing the two faculties that we were interested in. No waiting period, no rush talk. We sat back, and chat and gather information. The visit to the open day was basically to open up Akmal's eyes on the many opportunity around him beyond the local IPTA and IPTS, and to encourage him to start thinking beyond the SPM exams that he will be taking late next year.

Eventhough I had never won any award in my four years at Monash, at last I was able to win a book during the open day by answering one of the quizzes during their presentation. Just let's say I have an unfair advantage when it comes to the motto of Monash.

Ancora Imparo - I am still learning.

So we sat through what's available at Monash, why we should consider Monash, why should we consider Engineering (for Arif) and why we should consider IT for Akmal. Beyond the quality and the brand the Monash's name carries, I think being able to go on an exchange program in the main campus and yet only pays the local fees sound attractive for me.

And the idea of being overseas obviously sounds appealing to Akmal, and who can blame him!

So what does it take for him to follow the footsteps of his dad about 30 years ago when he (the dad) was roaming the campus from very early in the morning until the closing hours of the library?

Here are the numbers.

1. Monash Uni Foundation Year ~ RM20,000.00 (too lazy to add up the numbers)
2. Three years study in computer science at RM31,000 per year = RM93,000.00.

You will get a Monash degree at RM113,000.00, excluding your cost of living etc.

How is this compared say to the local private universities such as UTP, Uniten etc? A survey of their website reveals the fees for similar course:

UTP              RM63,000.00
Uniten           RM53,000.00
Nottingham  RM102,000.00

Local private universities cost as much as half of the fees of Monash. They are not cheap either, I have to say and their ranking, if they matter to you, are nowhere in THES. Would it be worth the money that you have worked for the past twenty years in order to give a distinct advantage to your child in his later years? Or is that distinct advantage only in the mind of the writer? Should I still try and get Akmal to a public uni here in Malaysia? Or fight to get a scholarship that we Malays never seems to want to get away from, despite the fact that many of the Malays are sons of datuk2 and tan sris and are multimillionaires?

Shall we all keep our monies in ASB so that when we die, our kids would spend it like there is no tomorrow? Or if you wish, save all your monies so that you could marry another?

Or shall I be like my bapak and tell Akmal that I can give him nothing but a good education?

On second thought, I wonder if Monash has special discounts for their alumni? ;-)


I had a good chat with one Dr Wong, the IT Faculty Industrial Coordinator. Dr Wong apparently was at Monash from 1981 to 1986, so we overlapped quite a bit (I was there from 1982-1985). Obviously he was with the electrical & computer system engineering then, while I was at the chemical engineering department. Apparently he and Dr Zahar are working for Microsoft Malaysia after years under the same supervisor for their PhD programs at Monash.

Reminiscing about our days at Monash, I told him that if not for Dr Zahar, I would not have graduated as a Monash engineer. He arranged for my extra classes in Physical Chemistry and physics, and it is with his help, I managed to get through my first year (I was struggling to find my footing then.)