Despite rankings, foreign students make beeline for Malaysian unis
Students post outside a private university in Malaysia. Source: Monash University Malaysia

MALAYSIA is not known for having tertiary education institutions that are very high up global rankings, but that factor did not deter tens of thousands of foreigners from studying in the Southeast Asian country.

Higher Education Minister Idris Jusoh recently said the country is a leading destination for higher education, thanks to its “credible” education system and “excellent” facilities.

According to the New Straits Times, the minister said Malaysia was currently home to some 100,000 foreign students from 34 countries.

“Coupled with (Malaysia’s) political and economic stability, foreign students find studying here very comfortable and suitable,” he was quoted as saying.

“Our universities also provide credible courses which further boost their confidence.”

Malaysian universities didn’t fare too well in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2018.

The best performance came from University of Malaya (UM), and that was at the 351-400th spot.

The other top 4 research universities in the country: National University of Science, Malaysia (USM), National University of Malaysia (UKM), University Putra Malaysia (UPM) and University of Technology, Malaysia (UTM) only managed to make it to the 601-800th spots.

However, this was in stark contrast to the 2018 QS World University Rankings – where these universities were all in the top 300 – UM even rose to 114th place, a few hundred places off where it placed in Time’s 2018 list.

malaysia university

Kuala Lumpur’s Universiti Malaya is the oldest and most prestigious university in Malaysia. Source: amirraizat/Shutterstock.

Despite the average global rankings, Idris said Malaysia was a favoured destination among foreign students owing to the peace and harmony that prevailed in the country, adding its higher education institutions are among the most reputable in the region.

“We should be blessed that our country is safe and sound,”

“I am told that (out of Asean’s top) eight universities, five… are in Malaysia,” he said.

The minister said the number of foreign students studying at public and private learning institutions in Malaysia is expected to reach 200,000 by 2020, the Malay Mail Online (via Bernama) reported.

“The feeling of trust of foreign students towards our higher learning education system has changed, especially with the recent increase in performance of several local higher learning institutions which have become on par with certain world-renowned universities.”

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