JOHOR BARU: After a two-decade wait, Johor's own Southern College has been awarded university college status by the Higher Education Ministry.
The 23-year-old institute, now known as Southern University College (Southern UC), had humble beginnings when it used the classrooms of Foon Yew High School in 1975.
“Its board of directors then applied for college status with the Education Ministry, and it was approved in 1990.
“We moved into the existing 10.1ha campus in 1995 with about 1,000 students. In 2008, we decided to pursue the university college status,” the deputy chairman of its board of directors Datuk Tan Liang Soon said in an interview.
Besides the tremendous backing from its alumni, former lecturers and the Chinese community in Johor, Tan credited MCA for playing an important role in helping the university college achieve its UC status.
“It is with the help of Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Hou Kok Chung that the process of applying for UC status became much smoother as he provided a lot of advice on meeting the requirements to upgrade our status.”
Tan, who is also the chairman for Southern UC's Traditional Chinese Medicine building management centre, said the institute was the only university college offering TCM studies with a TCM clinic on its campus.
Southern UC received its university college status in Aug 10 last year.
It offers about 4,500 seats in courses such as Communications and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
There are about 1,700 local and foreign students enrolled in 24 courses in four faculties.
Tan said students paid about RM8,000 a year in tuition fees unlike their counterparts in Kuala Lumpur who might have to fork out between RM10,000 and RM12,000 a year.
He said with the university college status, they would be able to offer degree courses soon.
He also expects student intake to increase by at least 20%.