Global awareness of undergraduates in private higher educational institutions in Malaysia

K Rajanthran, Subashini (2023) Global awareness of undergraduates in private higher educational institutions in Malaysia. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The purpose of this study is to investigate global awareness (GA) among undergraduates in private higher educational institutions (PHEIs) in Malaysia. This mixed-methods study examines GA among undergraduates in PHEIs, compares GA between the local and international undergraduates, identifies their source of GA and finally, assesses their perspectives on the inclusion of GA in the higher education curriculum. Using surveys and focus groups interviews, the study finds low GA amongst the students participating in the study, that their main sources of GA are from outside their PHEIs, and that both local and international undergraduates support the inclusion of GA in the curriculum.

Participants in this study were final-year undergraduates at two PHEIs. The survey developed for the quantitative element of the study was adapted from Czarra’s (2003) GA Checklist, and data from 378 participants were collected. Correlation and regressive analysis using Pearson and Spearman correlational methods were used to analyse the quantitative data. The qualitative study was conducted after receiving all the responses for the questionnaire. The qualitative element of the study were eight focus-groups each consisting of seven to eight participants, with a total of 29 participants. The focus-group interviews were conducted after receiving all the responses for the questionnaire and the participants were selected from those who gave their written consent in the questionnaire. Coding and thematic analysis were used to analyse the qualitative data.

The data showed that the undergraduates lacked GA and wished that the higher education curriculum would provide more opportunities for them to increase their GA. The findings of the quantitative study revealed that there is a positive relationship between GA and age, but that there is little significance in the case of GA and nationality. A positive correlation was also identified between ’skills’ and ’participation’, but no relationship was identified between ‘knowledge’ and ‘participation’ or between ‘knowledge’ and ‘skills’ with respect to GA. As for the ranking of the sources that raised GA, both local and international undergraduates identified the same sources: self-reading, peer interaction and the situation in their home country were reported as the top three sources of GA among undergraduates. The findings of the qualitative study suggest that GA should be included in the curriculum. The thematic analysis identified knowledge, skills, and attitudes, as well as sub-themes such as culture, critical thinking, self-cultivation, respect, and openness, as critical areas of GA. While international undergraduates perceive that their GA is higher than that of their local peers, both groups of undergraduates want GA to be included in the curriculum.

Recommendations for PHEIs regarding GA among undergraduates were then developed based on the relevant literature and findings of this study. Some of the recommendations include replacing the current General Studies or Matapelajaran Pengajian Umum (MPU) course with a course that includes GA elements, employing global-minded lecturers, conducting more globally-oriented student activities and forming a committee within the Ministry of Higher Education to explore the possibility of GA as a compulsory course in the higher education curriculum. Recommendations for future research include exploring GA among academic staff which includes recruitment and training, assessing GA of undergraduates in public universities, conducting a comparative study of GA between the private and public higher educational institutions, and designing the curriculum for a GA course that can be used by higher educational institutions.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Subramaniam, Ganakumaran
Bailey, Lucy
Hall, Michael
Keywords: global awareness (GA), private higher educational institutions (PHEIs), higher education curriculum, international undergraduates, Malaysian undergraduates, mixed-methods research
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Faculties/Schools: University of Nottingham, Malaysia > Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Education
Item ID: 71581
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2023 04:40
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2023 04:40

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