Economics studies, in general, are quite important. This importance has increased at present to the extent that we can safely say that a truly educated person - no matter what his/her job is - cannot be described as such unless he/she possesses knowledge or an awareness of economics which would enable them to keep abreast of local or international events, and to evaluate these events soundly.
What is the progress of Economics programmes in Malaysian universities?
Economics programmes in many universities in Malaysia normally offering an economic degree which is academically-oriented and strong in theory. However, nowadays there are some stumbling blocks to improving the image of local economics programmes. Normally the students have to finish their study in three years, and emphasizing on skills rather than knowledge. Markets want ready-to work graduates whereas universities produce those who are imbued with ideas so that they can help mould society, not to have the market mould them.
We can see that nowadays there was a rise of business and accounting studies in Malaysian University. First, the situations like this happen because the markets demand more on graduates with a business and accounting background. Second, the students thought economic subjects were difficult subjects which require more mathematics, reading, understanding of theories and concepts.
I have attended a meeting between economic and business lecturers from Malaysian Universities with officers from banking and financial sectors at Bank Negara Malaysia. The feedback from the banking and financial sectors shows that they still needs economics graduates with a strong academically-oriented and strong in economics theory. They also want economic graduates with some knowledge of Islamic economics. The development of Islamic banking, Islamic insurance and many other financing products based on Islamic economics shows that University should produce more economics graduates with a strong Islamic economic knowledge. Islamic economics have to play its role and economics programme in university should increase their awareness towards importance of study on Islamic Economics.