SHAH ALAM: Malaysia’s higher education eco-system is gaining recognition.
The nation, said Higher Education director-general Datuk Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir, has a good reputation as a global education provider and destination.
“In the past year, the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education) was reviewed with recommendations put forward.
“We’ve also come up with initiatives to liberalise higher education by the end of the year.
“And by 2021, we’ll be looking at education as an industry under the 12th Malaysia Plan, ” she said, during the University of Wollongong (UOW) Malaysia KDU inauguration ceremony here yesterday.
There are 1.3 million students in the Malaysian higher education system studying at 20 public universities and 53 private institutions, she said.
“We have 11 branch campuses – four including UOW, are from Australia, ” she said.
As with many other countries, technological disruptions have significantly changed the higher education landscape from the way lessons are delivered, the types of programmes offered, and the research being conducted, to the changing role of lecturers.
“Students have access to knowledge 24/7.
“We aim to produce balanced and holistic global citizens with independent thinking and problem solving skills to lead the nation.
“We need graduates who can create jobs, ” she said, adding that the ministry was working hard to make sure that its curriculum promotes life-long learning and self-learning.
Dan Tehan, who was on his first overseas visit as Australia’s Education Minister, said there are 24,000 Malaysians studying in Australia and in the last decade, over 7,000 Australians visit Malaysia to study.
He said the two countries share a rich history in education dating back to the 1951 Colombo Plan, which allowed Malaysians to study in Australia.
“Since then, Australia has put in place a new Colombo Plan allowing Australians to come here to study.
“A lot of our overseas education is about our universities investing in other countries – 23% of our international students are educated offshore and the partnership we are launching today builds on our historic co-operation, ” he said, adding that more Australian higher education institutions are investing overseas.
He said the partnership meant that students now have an opportunity not only to study here, but in Hong Kong, Dubai or Australia.
“I hope to see more partnerships that give our students the opportunity to study in a business or industrial environment. This is important in a modern, globalised world.
“Producing the students that we need for our businesses and industries will allow our two nations to thrive in the 21st century, ” he said.
The event marked the opening of UOW’s newest offshore campus in Malaysia.
The Australian public university has partnered with KDU University and Colleges to launch UOW Malaysia KDU.
Its campuses are UOW Malaysia KDU University College at Utropolis Glenmarie, UOW Malaysia KDU Penang University College, and UOW Malaysia KDU College, in Damansara Jaya.
A fourth campus is being built at Batu Kawan, Penang.
UOW Malaysia KDU is the result of the Australian university acquiring a 65% majority share of the former KDU University College (KDU).
The acquisition, which was approved by the Education Ministry on April 22, will also see UOW Global Enterprises taking up a 70% stake in KDU College.
Paramount Corporation Bhd remains the minority shareholder.