These include recognising the private education sector as a key contributor to Malaysia’s economy.
“Currently the (contributing) figure is close to RM40bil of GDP,” said National Association of Private Educational Institutions (Napei) president Assoc Prof Elajsolan Mohan.
Other initiatives of the ministry, said Elajsolan, include the liberalisation of the over-regulated sector starting with the harmonisation of public and private education sectors where there would only be one classification - higher education.
“This initiative would bring about greater public-private partnerships, which would see greater autonomy in the governance of higher education,” he said.
He added that NAPEI and stakeholders have had discussions with the ministry regarding the internationalisation of education that can make Malaysia an education hub.
Noting that there has been tremendous growth in the private and international school education sector, Elajsolan revealed that there are currently 163 schools with an enrolment of nearly 70,000 students taking international curriculums such as IGCSE, International Baccalaureate, Australian, Arabic and more.
“Of this enrolment, only about 25,000 are international students.
“As for local enrolment, operators are faced with challenges from home schooling and tuition centres,” he said, adding that it is affecting the sustainability of schools which have acted according to the regulations and invested in campus facilities.
Elajsolan was speaking at NAPEI’s 32nd anniversary celebration held in conjunction with its Education Excellence Awards Dinner 2019 to recognise and reward private institutions whose high standards promote and enhance Malaysia as a centre of educational excellence.
The ceremony featured a number of performances from the Yamaha Academy of Arts and Music, Erican College and Beaconhouse Sri Inai International School.
Established in 1987, NAPEI represents all levels of private educational institutions in Malaysia.
It seeks to enhance and maintain the quality of education in the private sector, acting as a liaison between the government and statutory bodies, and providing research facilities and information to its members and other organisations.
Elajsolan emphasised that NAPEI is committed to ensuring private education providers here consistently offer quality education and training.
“We are also in regular consultation with the ministry’s private education division to discuss issues and find solutions,” he said.
He shares that recent engagements with the ministry include a review of the Private Higher Education Act, IPTS Constitution template, development of the 12th Malaysian plan, graduate employability and more.
Higher Education department deputy director-general Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Saleh Jaafar represented Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik at the event.
In his opening speech, Mohd Saleh noted that the ministry is working closely with NAPEI to improve the sector in the country and encouraged more partnerships.
“The private education sector is very important. According to our data, the sector is actually contributing more than 50% in the sector,” said Mohd Saleh.
St John’s International School (SJIS) bagged the Best International School Award at the event. Its principal and chief operating officer Suresh Dass received the award from Elajsolan on behalf of the school.
Suresh said SJIS was humbled and proud to win the award and be recognised by its peers.
“NAPEI is an illustrious organisation and we are proud to align with their values and objectives in achieving, maintaining and exceeding excellent standards in education,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sentral College Penang and Erican College bagged the Best Medium Size College award for the second and fourth time respectively.
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