KUALA LUMPUR: Academicians welcome the government’s move to place five per cent of foreign students in public universities to pursue courses in medicine, dentistry and pharmacy.
The National Council of Professors (MPN) President and CEO Professor Datuk Raduan Che Rose said although not much income could be generated from the five per cent placement but it would provide a more dynamic classroom experiences for local students.
“It is a good move for public universities’ international outlook as the indicator of the world’s top university, The QS World University Rankings, requires a certain percentage of foreign students in a university for it to be qualified to enlist in its ranking,” he said.
He said universities prioritise the knowledge and cultural value foreign students could bring in, not monetary.
Universiti Putra Malaysia Faculty of Economics and Management Associate Professor Azmawani Abd Rahman lauded the move as it has been one of the agendas of Higher Education Ministry to internationalise the country’s higher education system.
“The enrolment rate of foreign students has been increasing in the past few years in UPM’s Faculty of Economics and Management. Public universities in the country are offering courses with international accreditation which are on par with international standard.
“For example, our faculty is accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and with international accreditation, the programmes are in demand by foreign students. There are more than 10 per cent foreign students studying in our faculty as full-time undergraduates,” said Azmawani, who is also the deputy dean for research and graduate studies.
She said the enrolment of foreign students was a bridge for public universities to establish professional networks overseas with their graduates who would return to their countries to work.
“Also, it creates an international environment in a classroom which improves English and communication skills of local students when they interact with people of different nationalities,” she said, adding that this will also spur intercultural interaction between local and foreign students.
Universiti Putra Malaysia vice-chancellor Prof Datin Paduka Dr Aini Ideris said the tuition fees from foreign students would not be sufficient for the university to cover expenses but the university has been working on many things to ensure financial sustainability.
She said the university plans to meet 30 per cent of its management costs through internally generated funds by diversifying its sources of income, one of which is the commercialisation of intellectual property (IP).
Dr Aini pointed out that the university’s Innohub programme is all about nurturing entrepreneurs to create and deliver new technologies for the market. This includes start-ups to commercialise UPM’s technologies and researches.
“Another source of income is through the commercial arm of UPM, UPM Holdings Sdn Bhd, which was set up to generate funds through business activities with various stakeholders,” she said.