KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) proposed today that universities provide full or partial scholarships for international students to boost their numbers here.
EMGS chief executive officer Datuk Prof Rujhan Mustafa said this was an idea he discussed with the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) during their meeting at Ilham Tower today.
“We encourage Malaysian tertiary institutions to offer these scholarships by waiving their tuition fees, among others,” he told the media outside Ilham Tower.
The suggestion was one of several methods discussed to achieve institutional reforms for Malaysia to remain a global education hub.
“To do this, we also suggested to the council that the strategising process for these reforms, which involves various different ministries and agencies, be streamlined into one,” he said.
However, the head of the centre for international student services said Malaysia still remains competitive when it comes to attracting international students.
“Overall, in terms of numbers, Malaysia still remains one of the best choices, given our affordability, the recognition of our quality by ranking bodies, and our multicultural nature.
“As of March this year, some 171,000 international students have enrolled into Malaysian tertiary institutions. We are targeting 200,000 by 2020,” he said.
Rujhan noted that Malaysia faced new competition from other nations who aimed at becoming global education hubs, such as China.
“They are currently granting more scholarships to international students to come and study in China. Almost a month ago the United Arab Emirates also followed suit,” he said.
When asked if the scholarships for international students would result in higher tuition fees for local students, Ruhjan said there was no comparison.
“You cannot look at local and international fees in the same way, such as for critical programmes including engineering, medicine, pharmaceuticals or nursing.
“We would recommend the institutions charge higher for international students, as is the practice in other countries,” he said.
According to EMGS, the biggest number of international students come from China, Indonesia, the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia and Central Asia.