Students Perceptions on Patriotism in Higher Education Institutions
Keywords:Patriotism; National symbols; Higher education
Patriotism can be easily defined as “love of one’s country” but it is not easily quantified. Patriotism is neither constant through space nor time. However, what constitutes patriotism depends on who is defining it. After, 57 years of independence, patriotism among Malaysians continues to be debatable. When someone thinks of patriotism and what it means, it might be conjured up with national symbols such as the national anthem, national flag, national ideology or even national car. After all, national identity is embodied in the history of its citizens and what Malaysia has accomplished in just five decades is truly amazing. Due to the high regards and importance for national symbols, this study seeks to understand the thoughts and feelings of undergraduates towards national symbols and the relationship between such symbols and patriotism. The T-test result showed that the feelings of love towards national symbols are high among the Malay undergraduates M=(4.158), followed by Indian undergraduates M=(3.726) and Chinese undergraduates M=(2.985). Pearson correlation analysis showed a strong relationship between national symbols and patriotism at (0.825**). This revealed that the elements of national symbols play a big part in shaping and forming the feeling of patriotism among the undergraduates. In view of that, this study strongly recommends the relevant authorities and agencies to use national symbols in an effective way to foster patriotic spirit among undergraduates in higher education institutions in Malaysia.