PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is currently the world’s 11th most preferred study destination.
The conclusion was based on the fact that 69,154 international students from more than 150 countries have chosen Malaysia as the country they wanted to study in.
With the majority of students coming from Indonesia, China and the Middle East, the new figure was a 26.5% increase from the old count of 50,788, which was recorded on March 31 last year. The ranking was obtained from the Institute of International Education.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the rise indicated that the ministry’s target to have 80,000 international students by 2010 was achievable.
“We’re happy to have 2% of the world’s international student population,” he told reporters yesterday after announcing the National Higher Education Strategic Plan’s progress report.
“Malaysia is now regarded as an emerging contender to attract international students and we will improve our efforts as there will be an estimated eight million international students by 2025.”
The percentage was taken from the Unesco Institute for Statistics.
Mohamed Khaled said the ministry’s drive to liberalise higher education would not result in an influx of foreign institutions.
“Liberalisation does not mean any foreign university can come to Malaysia.
“Rather, it is co-ordinated regulation that encourages healthy competition amongst private institutions.”
The ministry has already given the green light for Newcastle University of Medicine to set up a branch campus at Iskandar Malaysia’s Educity in Nusajaya, Johor.
It is understood that local conglomerates are negotiating with the Korean Maritime Univer-sity, Southampton University, Royal Holloway University, King’s College London, the Univer-sity of Birmingham and Murdoch University to set up branch campuses in Malaysia.