KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 — Iran is keen to collaborate with Malaysian universities to attract more Malaysians to study in that country, which currently stands at only 15, as compared to some 5,000 Iranian students in Malaysia.
Scientific Counsellor and Director of Iranian Students in East Asia, Dr Abbas Ghanbari said he was ready to facilitate and help connect any Malaysian university to the best universities in Iran, and welcomed proposals for such collaboration.
Speaking to Bernama in an interview at the Iranian Embassy here recently, he said language should not be a problem as the students could take up courses to learn the Persian language.
It was similar to Malaysian students who studied in countries like Yemen and Egypt, for example, who learnt Arabic before starting their courses, he said when asked whether language would be a hindrance to Malaysian students who wanted to study in Iran.
“We need to gather knowledge because of what knowledge stands for. For example, if you need to learn Arabic first, then learn it to get the knowledge.” He said by studying in another country, bilateral relations could also be expanded and this was in line with the Iranian Ministry of Science, Research and Technology’s new diplomacy, the ‘Scientific Diplomacy’ to use science, knowledge, research and technology as a basis to enhance relations between countries.
“We want to use these as basis for relations between nations,” he said.
Ghanbari also noted Malaysia’s aim to become a world-class knowledge economy and a regional education hub, with the launch of the new higher education strategy, The Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education), released in April this year.
In this aspect, he said Iran was ready to fulfil Malaysia’s aspiration to achieve its target of 200,000 international students by 2020, and in return hoped that more Malaysians would also study in Iran.
“Now, we know that Malaysia has 20,000 students in the Middle East, for example 9,000 in Egypt, 600 in Yemen and many more in Arab Saudi and Turkey. So, of course we want more students from Malaysia to facilitate this relationship.” Reports state there are about 80,000 Malaysian students studying abroad, including some 11,000 in Britain and 8,000 in the United States.
He said that Malaysians wanting to study in Iran could take up courses in information technology, medicine, nano technology, satellite, space and environment, among others.
Currently, Iran has a scientific collaboration with some states including Russia, France, and the United Kingdom and he hoped such collaboration could also be established with Malaysia.
He noted there were various memoranda of understanding signed between Iran and Malaysia previously, but these had expired. — Bernama