KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 -- The academia community in the country are reminded not to be mere intellectuals but also play a role as public intellectuals by going down to the ground to help and build society.
Education Minister, Dr Maszlee Malik said this was in line with the aspiration of the Education Ministry which wanted institutions of higher education to be close to the people.
‘’Usman Awang had chiselled words about the role of great authors who actually have a greater function in developing civilisation, namely, (despite) all the incomparable wisdom, the author’s pen is sharper than the king’s kris.
‘’..our responsibility (academia community) is not confined to the ivory tower but we inject moral principles, supply ideas and thoughts and are cultural pioneers. More than that we are the seat of truth for the society and nation,’’ he said.
He said this in his speech when launching the Academia Day at Universiti Malaya (UM) today themed ‘’Academia With Society’’. Also present was his deputy Teo Nie Ching and UM Vice Chancellor Datuk Ir Dr Abdul Rahim Hashim.
Meanwhile, Maszlee, who was met after the event, said Oct 5 was picked as national Academia Day in keeping with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Global Teachers Day which was recognised in 1997 and also accompanied the recognition of higher education academics.
He said this matter was itself agreed to by the Cabinet meeting on Sept 18 which also decided to turn October into an Academia Month in appreciation of the contribution and deed of all post school educators.
It encompassed academics at the public and private higher education institutions, teacher training institutions (IPG), polytechnics, community colleges, matriculation colleges and skills and training institutes in technical and vocational education training (TVET).
‘’Maybe, many will ask why Academia Day is not celebrated together with Teachers Day. Normally, Teachers day is synonymous with the teachers at school, so the academicians were of the opinion that they must have a special day for themselves.
In this regards, he said, it was a new history in the national education sector and this month would be filled with numerous activities at all higher education institutions to fete academia other than the group (academia) itself approaching the people.