STUDENTS in foreign universities in Johor Baru, Johor, are glad that they can get an international degree in Malaysia without having to travel too far from home, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ho Tze Ning, who enrolled in a real estate degree programme at University of Reading Malaysia in EduCity, Iskandar Puteri, said the syllabus taught at the Malaysia campus was exactly the same as the one in the United Kingdom.
“In that sense, I am glad that I can further my studies here while staying with my family, as opposed to being overseas alone, especially since the global Covid-19 situation is not improving.
“My secondary schoolmate, who left Johor to study in the UK two weeks ago, told me that students there were also not allowed on campus and had to stay home for online classes, ” she told StarMetro.
Her father Ho Chin Hua, 46, said the international universities in EduCity were a relief for parents in terms of cost and distance.
The property firm director said sending his daughter to the UK would cost an average of RM180,000 a year, compared to the RM40,000 a year for her to study the same course at a local campus.
Diala Kahil, 24, an Australian student studying medicine in Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed Malaysia) here, said she opted to study in Malaysia due to the shorter distance from her hometown in Sydney, as opposed to travelling all the way to the UK.
She decided to get a UK degree at NUMed’s Johor Baru campus as the certification was recognised by Australian healthcare institutions.
“Previously, I could travel home every two months but due to the pandemic, I returned to Sydney from March to September last year, as advised by the university, ” said Diala.
“The pandemic is a challenge for me as a Year Three medical student, because I am unable to do my practical training in hospitals.”
She said clinical exposure was substituted with patient simulations via online classes.
Meanwhile, NUMed Malaysia provost and chief executive officer Prof Chris Baldwin said the enrolment for its MBBS programme for the 2020/2021 academic year was the highest recorded since it was set up in Johor Baru in 2009.
“We think this may be due to the fact that students and their parents, in particular, are worried about sending their children overseas in the midst of the global pandemic.
“They prefer to have their children closer while pursuing a UK degree, ” he said.
He added that its fee structure was significantly lower than the UK. It is nearly 50% lower for Malaysian students studying medicine, 66% lower for students studying biomedical sciences and 75% lower for a foundation programme.
University of Southampton Malaysia chief executive officer Prof Rebecca Taylor said some of its new students who joined in October had originally planned to study overseas.
But they later opted to study locally due to the movement control order and travel restrictions.
She added that the university, which would be moving to a new campus in EcoBotanic, Iskandar Puteri in September, allowed students to save up to 70% in tuition fees here compared to an equivalent programme in Southampton in the UK.