PUTRAJAYA: Malaysian students abroad who are facing financial issues due to the weakening ringgit could opt to study in local universities – thanks to a decision by the Higher Education Ministry.
Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh (pic) said the ministry decided to allow the horizontal credit transfer system after receiving numerous calls from concerned parents asking if it was possible to do a credit transfer for their children.
“The current economic situation has had an impact on many parents who sent their children overseas to study, especially to the United States and Britain,” he said.
Idris said the ministry would allow the students to apply to continue their studies in higher education institutions (IPTs) of their choice based on the approval of their senates.
However, Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) chief executive officer Prof Datuk Dr Rujhan Mustafa said students must spend at least one residential year in the local institution in order to receive their scroll.
There are about 80,000 Malaysian students studying abroad with about 11,000 in Britain and 8,000 in the United States.
Prof Rujhan said students could apply directly to the local higher education institutions for the horizontal credit transfer but it would depend on the availability of places in the course.
He explained that previously students had to obtain written permission in advance from MQA before approaching the institution to ensure the course was accredited.
“To facilitate the transfer of credits, students must obtain written permission from the overseas institutions to withdraw from the respective programmes,” said Prof Rujhan.
He said the institutions’ senates would have to carry out subject-to-subject mapping to determine if the credit transfer was in line with conditions set by MQA.
He said students must satisfy conditions such as obtaining a minimum Grade C in the course, ensuring the credit value of the courses are the same as the programmes offered by the receiving institution and the courses are accredited or recognised by MQA.
“This policy does not limit the credits that can be transferred to the local IPT programmes,” he said.
UCSI University senate member Prof Datuk Dr Ahmad Zainuddin said the university was ready to help in any manner and would provide affected students with consequential solutions and alternatives.
He said UCSI did the same in 1997 and 1998 in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis.
“We will not hesitate to do so again,” he said.
Taylor’s University vice-chancellor and president Prof Datuk Dr Hassan Said said he strongly supported the decision by the minister as this would ease the financial burden of the parents.
“We can support the students. We feel that our quality is at par with the higher education institutions overseas,” he said.
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