Former Lecturer Finds Newfound Passion in Qualitative Research on Rural Areas
BY: Michelle Liew
With a passion in the field of qualitative research, this lecturer from the Faculty of Education Studies (FPP), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) made a decision to delve deeper into rural communities as the focus of her studies.
Resigning from the Malaysian Ministry of Education (KPM) after 13 years, Dr. Siti Salina Mustakim became a lecturer at UPM in 2018. While at UPM, the 49-year-old lecturer made up her mind to delve deeper into rural communities in her studies.
She started off with the UPM-sponsored research, Young Researchers (Geran Putra-IPM), and continued with the Graduate Study Grant (Geran Putra-IPS).
Siti Salina has also received research grants from the MoE (FRGS), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Hamburg and UNESCO Malaysia.
"My path in choosing rural studies made me an individual who is more grateful for the environment bestowed by Allah.
"Apart from that, I aspire to contribute knowledge and energy to this selected community," she stated.
She explained that, as one who always refers to alternative education, she is confident that the efforts implemented for the community can foster national unity and increase their economic growth.
One of Siti Salina’s recent success was a programme implemented in Denawan Island, Semporna, Sabah. The programme aims to improve the development of cognitive and psychomotor skills of the local community.
She further stated that the programme is also to ensure the sustainability of the community through lifelong learning, enriching the use of existing resources towards agricultural development.
Siti Salina is active with internationalization collaboratives through research grants from Yogyakarta State University and Malang State University (UM), Indonesia.
She has also been appointed Adjunct Professor at UM.
"I want more people to learn what life is like in rural areas, which is not the same as what is seen on television and social media.
"This qualitative research is actually able to increase self-confidence when faced with various challenging situations, thus making us more grateful and humble," she said.
Siti Salina added that she had also been offered to undergo a qualitative study during a fellowship program at Nagoya University, Japan in 2014.