13 March 2012
The first thing that caught my eyes on the front page of Daily Express yesterday was the headline about how a certain organisation in Sabah is going to set up a Kadazandusun University. No further comments were given on the nature of the uni, apart from the fact it is going to be set up in Kaingaran, Tambunan.
At the risk of offending many people, I have to say I cannot see the merits of having a Kadazandusun Uni in Sabah. Of course this reaction is merely based on assumptions, as there are no other known facts on the plan yet. I am imagining a scenario where there is a university that functions like any other univeristy, tucked somewhere in Tambunan, attended by 60% Kadazandusuns. These kids would mostly be from the rural areas whose parents cannot afford to send them elsewhere to study. They would have had attended schools in the localities of Kadazandusun ethnic groups for about 12 years before going to the Kadazandusun Uni. After they have finished their tertiary education, they would come out without much new perspective since all they have been exposed to in their lives were the Kadazandusun things. Would they, I wonder, ever get good employments with such limited experience? If I were an employer, I think one of the things I'd look for would be one's ability to be a team player in a multicultural setting.
I have this nagging doubt about the plan to have this KD Uni. I would even be more sceptical if somebody tries to set up a Kadazandusun Studies programme in the uni. I supposed the people with the big idea wouldn't have much ideas of how difficult it is to come up with grammar books, or any books that describe any of the KD languages. A research takes years to do, even on one dialect of KD. Textbook writings do not happen overnight, that is, if you want quality. Perhaps we shouldn't leap before we look?