An influx of Yemeni and other Middle Eastern students is on the cards.
Higher Education Minister Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin is due to travel to Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Turkey in the coming weeks to sign memorandums of understanding (MoA) with the ministries and other institutions, including universities and polytechnics.
“Students in Yemen and some other Middle Eastern countries may not have the avenue to further their education and Malaysia could provide opportunities for them to do so”- DATO’ SERI MOHAMED KHALED NORDIN.
The MoA will see government sponsored students of the respective countries furthering their studies in Malaysia.
“Students in Yemen and some other Middle Eastern countries may not have the avenue to further their education and Malaysia could provide avenues for them to do so,” said Mohamed Khaled at Universiti Kuala Lumpur’s (UniKL) official briefing at the university’s main campus.
“Local universities like UniKL offer niche and reputable programmes that can attract those students.
“It would be good to build on this and establish links with foreign institutions to make Malaysia the preferred destination for further studies.”
On a working visit to the university, Khaled said that he hoped UniKL would keep up their efforts in offering more courses and expanding the existing faculties.
He assured that the ministry would support any expansion plans.
By virtue of its connections to Mara, UniKL is the only private university in Malaysia that falls under the ministry’s jurisdiction.
“As a private institution, we will give great autonomy to UniKL,” said Mohamed Khaled.
“However, the key performance index will be implemented to keep track of the performance of the university and its vice-chancellor.”
Earlier last week, Mohamed Khaled said the ministry will be keeping an eye on private institutions of higher learning (IPTS) to ensure the quality of local tertiary education.
He said that the ministry will set up a more efficient and stringent system of monitoring IPTS standards.
“This is so we can help these colleges improve and achieve excellence,” he said after launching the online portal for the ministry’s Career and Entrepreneur Fair (K3G) in Putrajaya last week.
“The private sector is a key complement to higher education here, so we need to make sure that they are in good health.”
In line with raising the standards, he hoped that IPTS will take part in the Rating System for Malaysian Higher Education Institutions (Setara) so that they may determine their strengths and weaknesses.
“Setara should not be seen as a “punishment” or a ranking system like the Times Higher Education (THE)-QS World University Ranking.
“It’s more of a guide to see how well an institution is performing.”
He added that participation in Setara is voluntary and it will not be forced upon IPTS.
While aiming to be vigilant about quality control, the ministry also seeks to internationalise higher education in Malaysia.
“This means attracting more foreign students as well as helping our institutions ‘export’ their services to other countries,” said Mohamed Khaled, adding that the ministry will help Malaysian higher education providers who wish to set up branches overseas.
On the issue of 66 private colleges facing dire student shortages and financial problems, Mohamed Khaled said that the ministry is looking into the matter and suggested that they consider other options.
“Maybe these small colleges should merge under one umbrella, like how Universiti Kuala Lumpur consists of a few smaller institutes.”
When asked when the ministry would announce the entry into public universities for students with STPM and matriculation qualifications, he said that it would be in June.
Source: The Star (May 10th, 2009)