Putrajaya (The Star/ANN) - There has been a 10-fold increase in the number of Malaysian higher education institutions recognised by China, enabling the country to attract more Chinese students.
Deputy Higher Education Minister Dr Hou Kok Chung said that China had formally approved 71 local institutions.
"Previously, only around five or six of our universities were recognised by China.
"There are now about 10,000 Chinese students here. Hopefully, this number will grow by at least 50 per cent, if not 100 per cent, in the future," he said yesterday.
Dr Hou said the recognition was based on the Malaysia-China Mutual Recognition Agreement signed by both countries on April 28, 2011.
"The agreement only covers institutions that offer degree courses. It is up to China's Education Ministry if they want to recognise other local colleges or institutions.
"We submitted the list of qualified institutions in July last year. We will send them an updated list of institutions that have since been upgraded to universities or university colleges by end of this month," he said.
Malaysia has recognised 820 higher education institutions in China under the agreement. There are now about 3,000 to 4,000 Malaysian students studying in China.
On another matter, Dr Hou said it was up to the Cabinet to decide whether the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) will be recognised.
Bernama reported on Wednesday that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had proposed that the UEC should meet certain criteria, such as having more Malaysian content, before it could be recognised.
Najib had reportedly made this proposal during a meeting with leaders from the Federation of Chinese Associations of Malaysia (Hua Zong) and Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia in Putrajaya.
The UEC is conducted by Chinese independent schools and cannot be used as entry qualification for Malaysian public institutions of higher learning.