KUALA LUMPUR: Several private colleges may soon be upgraded to university-colleges, with three already in the final stages of securing the much sought after status.
Invitations for university status have been offered to Ikram College of Technology, Sedaya International College and L & G Twintech, while Sunway College, Inti College Malaysia, Help Institute, KDU College and Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology have gone through the initial stages of application.
Deputy director-general of education (private education) Datuk Hassan Hashim told The Star Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad would now have to decide if the second group of institutions would be invited to be upgraded.
As university-colleges, the institutions will be able to award their own degrees.
Asked if the education industry could soon expect a surge in the number of private universities, he said this would not be the case as Malaysia had close to the optimum number of universities.
“The trend internationally is to have one university per half million people. That applies for developed countries, so for us it would mean one university for more than half a million people,” he said.
Malaysia’s population of 24.79mil (Statistics Department’s figure for fourth quarter of last year) is currently being served by 16 public and 21 private universities, including foreign university branch campuses, in the country.
“If we look at things literally, it will mean we need 48 universities. But that is not the case. At present, I would say we need less than 10 more universities,” Hassan added.
He said the popularity of local private universities would also be used as a gauge to decide if more such universities were needed as the Government wanted to reduce the number of Malaysians going abroad to further their education.
“We now have 105,000 Malaysians studying abroad. We want this figure to decline. If we open more universities but the figure does not decline, then we will not open anymore,” he said, citing Universiti Kuala Lumpur and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman as new universities with places to be taken up.
To date, two private colleges have been awarded university-college status – Kolej Universiti Teknologi dan Pengurusan Malaysia (formerly known as Kolej PTPL) and Limkokwing University-College of Creative Technology (formerly known as Limkokwing Institute of Creative Technology).
(See StarEducation for more details)