DURING a special engagement session with leaders of Malaysian private higher education institutions in Putrajaya, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik announced a raft of initiatives aimed at enhancing stakeholder involvement in developing and charting a roadmap for the private higher education sector.
Coming hot on the heels of the minister’s pledge to look into the over-regulation of the sector as announced during the “Open Dialogue on Education” Feb 14, Mapcu is impressed with this latest announcement.
This is a tangible reaffirmation of the minister’s commitment to ensuring that the sector is able to play its role meaningfully to complement the Government’s in providing access to higher education and enhancing Malaysia’s position as an international hub of educational excellence.
In this regard, Mapcu welcomes the initiatives announced, which include harmonising the Private Higher Education Act (Act 555) and the Universities and University Colleges Act (AUKU) 1971, enhancing internationalisation, improving governance mechanisms, ensuring sustainability of institutions, promoting innovation and ensuring that all agencies involved work in concert to enhance service delivery, particularly in facilitating the sector.
The Council of Private University Vice-Chancellors, which was also launched, is a step in the right direction that provides universities with a liaison forum to engage with various agencies, particularly in matters relating to academic quality enhancement, innovation and student development.
At the same time, Mapcu believes that associations representing the broader spectrum of private universities and colleges should also be represented in this council to ensure that aspects related to the sustainability of institutions are also addressed.
This is particularly important, given the minister’s acknowledgement of the tremendous economic value of the private higher education sector to the country, which Dr Maszlee had put at around RM33bil, making up 2.5% of Malaysia’s economy.
Mapcu would like to applaud the leadership of the Department of Higher Education, in particular the Private Higher Education Division, for having already initiated a number of workshops and engagement sessions with the sector in support of the minister’s announcements. These are clearly positive signs that bode well for the future of higher education in Malaysia.
DATUK DR PARMJIT SINGH
Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities