JOHOR BARU: Southern College was officially awarded a university college status by the Higher Education Ministry after a two decade-long wait.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the status upgrade was well deserved as the higher education institute offered quality academic courses, conducive environment and facilities that meets the ministry’s standards.
The institute, now known as Southern University College (Southern UC), applied for University College status three years ago and the ministry offered them a chance to upgrade in January this year.
“Southern UC has proven its track record with its past achievements and in just a few months, the college managed to make changes to meet the criteria required by the ministry,” he said in his speech at the declaration ceremony here recently.
Mohamed Khaled encouraged the university college to not only offer courses for degree and postgraduate studies but also focus on research-based studies.
“Besides that, the university college should look into developing home-grown courses other than just relying on twinning programmes,” he said.
He also believed that the university college had the confidence and is ready to contribute to the nation’s socio-economy especially in producing knowledgeable individuals who can help build the country.
“However, this achievement is not the end but it marks the beginning of more milestones to come,” he said, adding that Southern UC now offers up to 4,500 vacancies for courses including Communications and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Southern UC Board of Directors chairman Datuk Teo Ah Khiang said it was a proud moment especially for the Chinese community in Johor as it was the first college set up by a community.
“We have come a long way since setting up the institution 22 years ago but we are not going to stop here.
“This upgrade is just a stepping stone for us to achieve a university status and eventually an international university status in future,” he said.
Southern UC came from humble beginnings operating in Foon Yew High School in 1975 and in 1986, the school’s Board of Directors formally applied for college status with the Education Ministry, which was later approved in 1990.
Southern UC currently has 1,700 local and foreign students enrolled in 24 courses under four faculties.