PUTRAJAYA: The Higher Education Ministry plans to set up a university that specifically caters for women, which indirectly would increase Malaysia's visibility in higher education and further strengthen its position as an international higher education hub.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad said currently the number of women in local public higher education institutions was more than 350,000 which constitutes 61% of the overall student enrolment, while more than 530,000, which was 53% of female students, were enrolled in local private higher education institutions.
"Malaysia currently hosts 131,000 international students and we target to welcome 250,000 international students by 2025. This increase also includes a significantly larger student body consisting of women.
"The ministry welcomes any proposal for cooperation in the field of higher education that will bring mutual benefit," she said at the networking session with the Lady Heads of Mission in Malaysia here on Thursday (Sept 22).
Noraini added that in the QS World University Rankings (WUR) 2023, there was only one local university listed in the top 100 and four out of five local research universities were in the top 200.
"In total, 24 of our universities have climbed the ranks, making this year one of our most successful years in higher education as far as ranking is concerned. Should we establish a university catering for women, I believe we can help it rise in the QS WUR as well," she said, reported Bernama.
Noraini said the ministry was committed to enhancing cooperation and reducing barriers in education services with its international counterparts.
"We believe that the internationalisation of higher education will increase competitiveness, which is an important driver of quality among our graduates.
"We also aim for our education system to cater to the demands of the job market and society," she said adding that in line with this objective, higher education institutions had launched many initiatives such as forging memorandum of understanding and agreement.
Noraini said this year, she had the privilege to witness the signing of 12 MoU and one MoA in India, Qatar, the United Kingdom, Romania, Turkiye and Canada.
"These partnerships are geared to ease collaborative research and innovation activities, student and staff mobility programs, the organisation of joint seminars and more.
"Another initiative that the ministry has been working on is the establishment of offshore programs by local universities, such as Universiti Sains Malaysia which established its offshore programs in Turkiye last year and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) which will begin its offshore programs in Qatar next month.
"UKM will also be opening its branch campus in Doha in 2025, making it our first public university to have a physical campus abroad.
"Additionally, there are ongoing discussions on the establishment of the Malay Studies Chair at Jawaharlal Nehru University in India and the School of Oriental and African Studies, at the University of London," she said.