KUANTAN: A total of 1.6 million places that is what the Government expects to see in public and private institutions of higher learning by 2010.
And it also wants the ratio of undergraduates to diploma and certificate students to stand at 1:2.Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Shafie Mohd Salleh said this capacity building was to give Malaysians easier access to and more opportunities in higher education.
Polytechnics, community colleges and technical and vocational institutions play an important role in contributing towards the ministrys aspiration to create the 'one family, one graduate' concept, he added.
He said this in his speech read by the ministry's deputy secretary-general (development) Dr Mohd Nasir Mohd Ashraf at the Politeknik Sultan Ahmad Shah convocation held at the Sukpa indoor stadium in Indera Mahkota.
When contacted, a ministry official said at present, there were 980,000 students in the 17 to 23 years age group enrolled in institutions of higher learning doing degree, diploma and certificate programmes, representing 29% of those in this age group.
With 1.6 million places, the number will comprise 40% of the age group.
The ministry also wants more Malaysians to take up post-graduate studies so that they can remain competitive in the knowledge-economy.
Deputy Minister Datuk Fu Ah Kiow said the 5% participation rate in public universities now was very low and that the ministry was working to bring it up to 25%.
This is especially important now when we are moving from a production-based economy towards a knowledge-based economy where research and development and innovation are necessary, he said after witnessing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Informatics and Koperasi Serbaguna Malaysia Bhd (KSM) for the offer of scholarships to KSM members and their children.
Organisations offering scholarships, Fu said, should also provide scholarships and funding options for those keen to further their studies after obtaining a first degree.
Just because they have graduated and have started workingdoes not mean that they have the money to finance their education. This group of people also need scholarships and study loans, he said.
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