Connecting Asian with Overseas Education
Study in Malaysia
With a unique international flavour, low crime rates and five universities appearing in the QS World University Rankings, Malaysia is becoming an increasingly popular study abroad destination.
An important result of Malaysia's carefully managed modernization is a steadily improving education system that has poured millions into research and development and to encouraging international students into the country. In the 2010 QS World University Rankings, five universities appeared in the QS Top 500. The quality of teaching in institutions like Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Sains Malaysia has improved greatly over recent years, following a government decree that all teachers and lecturers have to possess a degree in the subject that they are teaching, which was not the case before the turn of the century.
On the back of its enduring economic and industrial boom, Malaysia is trying hard to position itself as the Asian destination of choice for international students seeking to study abroad, and with some success. Currently there are around 50,000 students from 100 countries in Malaysian tertiary education and the country wants to promote a multicultural image that reflects the country itself. The governing authority of higher educational institutions is the Ministry of Higher Education which governs:
  • Public Universities: fully funded government universities
  • Polytechnics: which train school leavers to be skilled technical assistants and technicians in various engineering fields or junior and middle level executives
  • Community Colleges: institutions for SPM or SPM(V) school leavers to train, 'reskill' or 'up-skill' themselves
  • Teacher Training Colleges: responsible for producing teachers under the management of Teacher Education Division in the Ministry of Education
  • Technical and Vocational Education: an alternative to academic qualifications. It emphasises hands-on training and new skills
  • Private Universities: privately owned and established by financially sound corporations. They can confer the award of bachelor degrees and other higher qualifications
  • Foreign University Branch Campuses: Universities from foreign countries which provide the option for students in Malaysia to obtain foreign tertiary qualifications locally instead of going abroad
  • Private Colleges: colleges run by the private sector to provide tertiary education to school leavers
Malaysia has also seen support from a number of international universities such as Australia's Monash University and the University of Nottingham in the UK. These have branch campuses offering exactly the same courses as their home country institutions but, of course, at a fraction of the cost.  For example, the tuition fee of a three-year UK engineering degree is priced at about US$7,600 per year in the Malaysian branch compared to US$24,000 per year in the UK main campus. Cost of living is around US$3,000 - $4,000 per year, much cheaper than the US or Europe.
Such courses offer students the chance to study at the overseas campus for one or two semesters and allows students to graduate from two universities at the same time- the Malaysian one and  the overseas host institution. Two degrees for the price of one anybody? There is also a prevalence of courses known as 'Two-plus-one' twinning degrees where you enrol in the Malaysian course and spend a year overseas at a twinned institution, perhaps in Australia, New Zealand or the UK. Great for your learning and cultural understanding of two different parts of the world. 
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