Foreign students free to leave


INTERNATIONAL students can leave Malaysia.

Unless they’ve committed a crime, foreigners cannot be prevented from returning to their home country, said Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities (Mapcu) president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh.

“The only time they can’t go home is when their border is closed.”

The Malaysian National Security Council’s (NSC) movement control order (MCO) guidelines advised foreign students to return to their home country, while those who choose to remain at their university residence are to report to the education institute’s management.

Institutions, said Parmjit, must ensure that the welfare of international students who do not have family here, are prioritised, and their needs addressed.

They need the support of academic and support staff to ensure that they do not feel isolated and alienated.

And parents must be assured that their children are safe and well cared for here, he said.

“Hotline and mobile numbers must be published and made known to students and staff.

“All contingencies must be anticipated and an emergency response team be put in place to deal with eventualities such as students who report symptoms that require attention.”

Equally important is to step up monitoring processes to ensure that students adhere to the MCO.

Advisories are not enough. It’s the institution’s responsibility to ensure that there is absolutely no mobility of students apart from essential activities, he said.

“Institutions cannot abandon their responsibilities which include supporting the learning needs, and

providing pastoral care and other administrative services like arranging visas for foreigners.”

Education is borderless and institutions should innovate and provide students with seamless online learning whereby academics can teach remotely from wherever they are.

They must quickly adjust to cope with the rescheduling of examinations, semesters, internships and laboratory practical sessions, and other logistical issues, or the impact of the MCO on students will be

amplified.

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