Forget outsourcing, get our varsity students in

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JAN 28 — It was an interesting Friday night in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

Petaling Street, or better known as Chinatown, was brightly lit ahead of the Lunar New Year as locals and tourists enjoyed meals by the roadside. Just a stone’s throw away at the Olympic Hotel, there were some 50-odd varsity students who were hungry to learn about the media.

These students were volunteers for the upcoming Higher Learning Institution Games (Sukipt). I was invited, yet again, to speak to them. My previous encounter with Sukipt volunteers was just before the previous edition in 2012.

It was always fun learning from our young and bright students. While I had, in the past, mostly addressed journalism students, this time around I had the opportunity to engage with students from various backgrounds — from aeronautical engineering undergraduates to a bio-technology student.

There were in-house bulletins promoting the Games that were designed and produced by science students.

It was evident the volunteers were not just journalism students eager to score extra credit points. They were enthusiasts from various backgrounds and faculties, wanting to learn how to run and manage a multi-sport event.

The students were a motivated bunch, as evident in their facial expression and body language. The handful of photography students were inspired to snap the best pictures of potential world No.1s while those who were updating the official website and social media accounts were eager to know how best to deliver updates to their audience.

Most of them would form the secretariat during the Sukipt scheduled Feb 3 to 16 at UiTM, Shah Alam. Getting them involved in such a scale was a fantastic effort.

Sukipt was a national-level competition featuring 24 sports participated by student-athletes.

Unlike most events where organisers were often quick to outsource experts, the Education Ministry found it right to utilise talents within to help run the show at a minimal cost.

And such minimal cost goes a long way as it formed part of the students’ learning process beyond the four walls of a classroom.

The 2012 edition saw the participation of 65 polytechnics, community colleges, private and public universities. This year will see a contingent of 110 consisting 8,000 athletes and 2,500 officials. Sukipt is as big, if not bigger than the national schools meet (MSSM) or even the Malaysia Games.

The experience gained running the secretariat and dealing with the Press will prove valuable to these students. They would be able to beef up their resumes with more than just the pretty Cumulative Grade Point Average  they score at the end of each semester.

They would learn how to work in a team and manage personalities. The students would need to grow up quickly and learn from mistakes made. They would realise every job tasked to them had to be done right and every decision made had its consequences.

Our students would start thinking maturely, graduating from the ability of merely memorising facts to dish out text-book answers.

It all starts with the simple act of getting involved.

As their four-day session of learning how to engage the press ended yesterday, I wish these young Sukipt volunteers, some only in their first semester, all the best.

I would like to spend more interesting sessions with our undergraduates and learn from them. I also hope they would be given an opportunity to showcase their talents and capabilities in other bigger events.

One would be surprised with what our young varsity students would have to offer. Forget about outsourcing, let’s get our varsity students in.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malay Mail Online.

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