KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign students in both public and private tertiary institutions now have to pass a course in Bahasa Melayu Communication.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said this was to help them assimilate into local culture and prevent misunderstandings.
“We found that when international students had issues with the authorities or the surrounding community, a main cause was the communication barrier.
“It covers very basic conversational skills in Malay, similar to how Malaysian students learn German or Russian when they study in those countries.
“We will also introduce compulsory subjects on soft skills (for local and foreign students) that are relevant to their field of study or is required in their professional careers,” he said after launching the 25th Star Education Fair here yesterday.
On another matter, Mohamed Khaled said all private higher education institutions (PHEI) would have to place a bond with the ministry.
Effective next year, private universities, university colleges and branch campuses of foreign universities will pay a RM100,000 bond, while private colleges will pay RM10,000.
“PHEIs only have to pay these fees every five years, when they renew their licences.
“If a PHEI suddenly closes down, the money will help students fund their studies elsewhere as we don't want them to pay twice,” he said.
He added that some 33 PHEIs are facing the threat of being closed down this year.
The Star deputy group chief editor 1 David Yeoh said in his speech that the fair aimed to help students and parents be better informed of the available study and career options.
“We are pleased to announce that The Star, together with 30 of our partners-in-education, have pledged 241 scholarship awards valued at over RM10mil to the Star Education Fund, which will be awarded to deserving students to enable them to continue with their studies,” he added.
The two-day fair, which started yesterday, is being held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and is open from 11am to 7pm.
Aside from nearly 200 exhibitors, the fair also features career talks, lucky draws, personality and interest tests, as well as free eye and health screenings.
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