Communicative competence is one of the most highly sought after skills of prospective graduates among employers. In spite of its importance, the notion of communicative competence has been deemed fuzzy in Communication and Engineering studies. This fuzziness has undoubtedly led to tensions among stakeholders like educators and professional engineers across disciplinary tenures in interpreting the said notion. The study seeks to investigate the perceptions and understanding of educators and professional engineers of the notion in terms of two main elements of communicative competence: linguistic and rhetorical competence. The educators are language lecturers who conduct a speaking course for final-year Engineering-project students while the professional engineers are engineers from various Oil Producing Units (OPU) of the national oil company, PETRONAS, who have been selected as examiners to assess the said students’ technical oral presentation. The professional engineers have been chosen by the university selection committee based on their years of working experience and professional expertise in engineering. Both language lecturers and the professional engineers were interviewed to gauge their perceptions on linguistic and rhetorical features deemed necessary to enhance communicative competence for the workplace. Both groups articulated awareness of the similarities and differences between the sub-sets of communicative competence, namely, technical, disciplinary, rhetorical style, interactive and interpersonal competence. Sublime differences in the way educators and professionals from different disciplines perceive communicative competence indicate possible reference to learning theory. Despite such disparity, pedagogical efforts are required to enhance communicative competence on such opportune platforms prior to the graduates’ entry to the workplace.
This paper presents a study conducted in aprivate university in Malaysiaspecialisingin Engineering and Technology studies. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the preliminary findings of a study which examined to what extent the soft skills are being integrated in the teaching of Engineering courses by addressing the teaching approaches and examining the soft skills that are being emphasisedby lecturers. This study employed a mixed-method approach in data gathering, using questionnaire survey, group interviews and review of documents. The results show that the lecturersemphasised the following skills the most: communication skills, critical thinking and problem-solving skills and lifelong learning ability. The results also reveal that the teaching approaches most employed are cooperative learning, followed by problem-based learning and the teacher-centered approach. This paper concludes with recommendations on enhancing the effectiveness of teaching delivery in integrating soft skills in the teaching of Engineering courses.
Soft skills, hard sciences, engineering, technical skills
The boarding school is perceived to be a springboard for success. Public boarding school students in Malaysia are mostly selected based on outstanding academic performance and co-curricular achievements. They will eventually join higher learning institutions and be groomed as future leaders and employees. In today’s competitive global arena, it is critical for leaders and employees to internalise good moral values and display commitment towards excellence to achieve organisational effectiveness and sustainability. Substantial studies on ethical values and employee commitment have been conducted from organisational behaviour perspectives. However, there are limited studies that link the importance of ethics with commitment towards excellence in a school environment, pertinent for leadership development. To address the gap, this study was conducted to assess the ethical level of students at three established public boarding schools in Malaysia. A structured questionnaire was developed to measure three universally accepted moral values: integrity, self-control and courage. The study also examined students’ commitment towards striving for excellence. Correlation tests were conducted to investigate whether there was a significant relationship between ethical values and commitment to excellence. Overall,the results show that the boarding school students studied in this research possessed high self-control, moderately high courage and moderately high integrity.The students’ overall commitment to excellence was high. The study also found a consistent and significant correlation between ethical values and students’ level of commitment to strive for excellence.Higher levels of integrity, self-control and courage will lead to higher commitment to excellence.
Ethics, commitment, excellence, Malaysia, public boarding schools, integrity, self-control, courage
This paper proposes how aspiring non-CSE secondary schools can be on a par with CSE secondary schools through implementing school-based management (SBM). Though Malaysia aims to provide quality education for all children and produce quality human capital for the nation as envisioned in its Education Development Master Plan (EDMP) 2006-2010 through the CSE merit system, of date, only 1 % of Malaysian schools have been identified as holding CSE status (Ismail & Abdullah, 2011; Malaklolunthu & Shamsudin, 2011). The percentage of CSE schools can be increased if more non-CSE secondary schools are groomed to meet the CSE requirements. For the purpose of this study, the researchers reviewed journal articles on SBM, and provide some insights on the challenges of implementing SBM. The research identified that non-CSE secondary schools have to overcome three challenges of SBM, namely, programme, participation and support to achieve CSE status.
School-based management, cluster school of excellence, secondary school, Malaysia
The element of justice or al-‘adl in the context of Islamic critical thinking deals with the concept of justice as informing the thought process that critically rationalises the truth in a fair and objective manner with no irrelevant interference that can jeopardise a sound judgment. This Islamic axiological element is vital in technological decision-making as it addresses the issues of religious values and ethics that are primarily set to fulfill the purpose of human life on earth. The main objective of this study is to reveal the distinguished element of al-‘adl in Islamic critical thinking and determine the significance of the perception to Muslim engineering students from different Malaysian universities. This comparative study looks into the factors that lead to a better comprehension among the undergraduates of the concept of al-‘adl in critical thinking. The study employed the survey method and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) technique involving 549 Muslim engineering undergraduates from six Malaysian universities. The results generally indicate that undergraduates who have been exposed to the Islamic perspective of critical thinking possess a significantly clearer idea of the concept of al-‘adl. The study also suggests that faculties of engineering in Malaysian universities should reconsider the current concept of critical thinking and embed in it elements of Islamic critical thinking.
Studying the Digital Gender Divide in African countries, including Egypt, is considered vital for social and economic development. It is an established fact that one of the UN Millennium Development Goals is gender equality and the empowerment of women. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can be the vehicle to achieve this goal. This study applies econometric techniques to shed some light on the impact of ICT ownership on the gender divide, and how ICT can play an effective role in empowering women in Egypt. Furthermore, the effect of ICT on women’s lives in relation to other relevant factors such as education, income and geographic location is also investigated. Finally, recommendations are provided to the policy maker to enhance gender equality in Egypt through increasing the role of ICT in empowering women. The contribution of this paper is the introduction of an ICT ownership index from the sample data ELMPS06, as well as the introduction of a women’s empowerment index. Results reveal that the ICT ownership index is largely influenced by education and gender, while the ICT ownership index has a significant impact on women’s empowerment in Egypt. However in the obtained results, controlling for other individual characteristics like women’s occupation and economic activity, the ICT ownership index becomes statistically insignificant.
Social capital is the fourth pillar of sustainable development. Whereas natural, physical and human capital constitute the “wealth of the nations”, it is social capital that contributes to harmonious growth. Using the framework of New Institutional Economics, both social capital and sustainable development are explored by their casual impact on informal institutions. Values, habits and beliefs which define social cohesion and impact future generations are the source of continuous development and therefore implicate the egalitarian redistribution of wealth. By taking into consideration the growing number of research in the aforementioned fields of study, this article hopes to introduce a potential research programme where social capital is the main source of sustainable development. The article also seeks to point out the importance of preserving other forms of capital.
Human capital, social capital, sustainable development, trust, New Institutional Economics
This paper reports the findings of a study on the rationale for the provision of health services projects implemented by the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC), Sudan. The study was based on interviews with the related personnel in GNPOC, community leaders and patients. The interviews are complemented by observations made during field work on the various community development projects that have been implemented. It highlights the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives that have been over-shadowed by asset security mitigation concerns. While maintaining conventional security based on the use of paramilitary and security forces, GNPOC also initiated community development projects in the host communities. The objective was to foster a positive perspective among host communities of the company’s effort on wealth sharing and to “win the hearts and minds” of the communities in order that they might protect the company’s assets as their own. The paper concludes that the CSR initiatives by GNPOC are ‘security driven’ rather than spreading the benefits to other communities away from the oil pipeline.
Asset security, Corporate Social Responsibility, health services projects, Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC), Republic of Sudan
Moral standing is acknowledging the moral significance that an entity possesses so that its interests and welfare are considered when we discuss ethics. The history of ethics is often associated with discussions on extending moral standing. Recent literature in ethics tries to extend moral standing beyond the human species. Concerns have been raised by moral thinkers like Peter Singer and others, who consider certain actions by human beings on animals as being unethical. Peter Singer in his work Animal Liberation, In Defense of Animals, Practical Ethics and in many other works as well argues that like human beings, animals also possess moral standing and some or most of our actions towards animals leads to an unequal treatment on those beings. He justifies extending ethical considerations to animals on the principle of sentience. Sentience is the capacity of the being to experience pain or suffering. The objective of this study is to see if Singer’s principle of sentience does really extend moral standing. In this paper, we critically analyse the logical outcome of applying his principle to humans and animals. Based on the results of our study, we claim that instead of extending moral standing, Singer’s principle limits the scope of moral consideration. Singer’s theory may inevitably result in limiting moral standing only to living members of the human species and may set aside from moral consideration potential human beings such as the human fetus.
Ethics, moral standing, Singer, suffering, animals, fetus
This paper is the third in a series exploring the strengths and weaknesses of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Objectives. The first paper (Cracks in Bloom’s Taxonomy at 60) looked at ambiguities. My other paper (What is the ‘Whole Thing”…?) looked at potential upgrades and room for improvement. This article looks at the current damage being done in the hard sciences for lack of an adequate template of systematic learning. Two articles on Darwin’s Theory of Evolution are scrutinised for the same ambiguities, vagueness and gaps in logic as are found in Bloom’s Taxonomy. How, where and why the gaps should be filled in is presented in this article, and potential upgrades for Bloom’s Taxonomy are illustrated with suggested examples and illustrations. The centerpiece of our article is a pair of articles from mainstream, accomplished and credible sources, National Geographic and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Our argument is launched upon the equivocation and conflation between “descent with modification” and “natural selection.”