HUNDREDS of colleges have been denied renewal of the Home Affairs Ministry (KDN) licence to recruit international students, dealing a financial blow to these institutions which are dependent on their intake of international students.
I am appalled at the lackadaisical attitude of officers at the Department of Private Higher Education who lack sympathy towards our appeals for reinstatement of the KDN licence, blaming KDN instead for the department’s reluctance to approve our applications for renewal.
During one of the dialogue sessions among the colleges, Department of Private Higher Education, Immigration and Education Management Global Services (EMGS), college heads were told that “cooling-off” periods ranging from six months to two years were being imposed on colleges with missing international students.
Colleges were supposed to use the period to trace the missing students, and it is tied to the rate by which colleges are successful in tracing such students. For example, a six-month cooling off period will be imposed on colleges with an 80% success rate.
Alas, the senior officer who announced the measure did not walk the talk. My college is one of the many that are still being denied the KDN licence despite having been able to trace 90% of missing international students. The goal post has been moved and we are now required to trace 100% of the students despite the lack of resources, unlike EMGS whose charter includes facilitating “an efficient, transparent and auditable process for issuing and tracking student visas”.
The penalty imposed on colleges contradicts the Higher Education Department’s policy as, at another dialogue session with the ministry and KDN, the speaker from Immigration Department announced to the audience that it is the duty of colleges to report their missing students to the KDN, police and the Department of Higher Education, and the responsibility and accountability stop here.
I am indeed disappointed by the utter lack of professionalism shown by officers of the Department of Higher Education and their apathy towards the plight of colleges in this situation, with some having to either stop operation or retrench their staff. If there is evidence of the colleges’ implicit involvement in student trafficking, the full force of the law should be applied instead of denying them their right to recruit international students.
By withholding the KDN licence, the government’s effort in promoting Malaysia as a regional educational hub with 200,000 international students in 2020 and 250,000 by 2025 will be negated.
A VERY DISAPPOINTED COLLEGE ADMINISTRATOR
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