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Oman’s Higher Ed Ministry bans 4 Malaysian unis over alleged abuses

International students pose for a photo at the Limkokwing Intenational Cultural Festival 2016. Source: Shutterstock

Four Malaysian private universities have been banned by Oman’s Higher Education Ministry over alleged academic and administrative abuses, says a report.

The varsities comprised Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM), SEGi University, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, and Binary University of Management and Entrepreneurship.

According to the Times of Oman, there are currently 378 students from the Middle Eastern country enrolled in the four institution.

The decision to issue the ban was made by the ministry’s Committee for the Recognition of Non-Omani Higher Education Institutions and the Equivalence of Educational Qualifications recently.

The directive has essentially barred Omani students from attending the educational institutions.

“The decision is due to the various alleged abuses by the universities.”

Oman’s cultural attache to Malaysia Yahya Salam Al Mundhari was quoted as saying the alleged academic and administrative abuses led to the ban.

“Most of these reasons are academic and administrative, including the existence of complaints against these universities by some of the Omani students studying there (in Malaysia),” Yahya said.

“These universities are not complying with some of the laws of the country of scholarship such as registering students, allowing them to study on tourist visas, and most of these universities are unresponsive and not cooperating with the Cultural Mission in solving the challenges facing Omani students,” he said.

USIM deputy vice-chancellor (academic and international) Prof Datuk Dr Zulkiple Abdul Ghani told the New Straits Times the university had yet to receive any official information on the ban.

“The issue was only made aware to us through news reports from Times of Oman,” he said.

“However, an immediate meet-up will be organised by USIM with the Oman embassy to discuss this issue.

“Any problems or issues related with international students, whether it involves student welfare, finance or academics, have always been given the utmost attention by USIM as we believe they (international students) are our stakeholders,” he was quoted as saying.

Zulkiple added the university was ready to make improvements to cater to Omani students.

A SEGi University spokesman said the university had also yet to receive any official word from the ministry or the embassy.

“We view the matter seriously as SEGi is out to achieve the highest education standards to serve the future generations.

“As the decision undertaken by the Cultural Mission involves policy and the bureaucratic processes, SEGi University will obtain further details about the ban from relevant agencies in order to find a solution and resolve the issue immediately,” it said in a statement on Monday.

Limkokwing University, meanwhile, denied the allegations.

Its pro vice-chancellor (International), Professor Cedric D. Bell said the university had not received any complaints from Omani students and that the ministry had never raised related concerns.

“Malaysia in general and Limkokwing University has for many years welcomed students from Oman and extended traditional Malaysian hospitality to them.

“It is a matter of great regret that the (Omani) ministry high-handed a unilateral action against Malaysian institutions will unquestionably sour relations between our both countries,” he said.

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