Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Malaysia is not a dumping ground for problem foreign students

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is not a "dumping ground" for foreign students who have problems and are not qualified to study here, Parliament was told today.

Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Dr Hou Kok Chung, said the government does not compromise on the quality of foreign students it allows to study in institutes of higher education here.

"In that regard, the government encourages institutes of higher education to
take in foreign students who are under government sponsorship or are being sponsored by an organisation.

"This is because such students are committed and have quality," he said when replying to a supplementary question by Datuk Ismail Abd Muttalib (BN-Maran) in Parliament today.

Ismail had asked the Minister of Higher Education to state the number of foreign students who were studying here, including in international schools.
Ismail also wanted to know the number of offences committed by foreign students over the last five years.

Hou said that as of Dec 31, 2009, Malaysia took in 80,700 foreign students from more than 150 countries and that of that number 22,400 were in public institutes of higher education and 58,300 were in private institutes.

"This means that the Ministry of Higher Education has overtaken its target of 80,000 foreign students in 2010. The data from the Education Ministry shows that the enrollment of foreign students in 51 international schools was 16,600," he said.

He said, in general, the number of cases of crime committied by foreign students was low.

Based on Royal Malaysian Police statistics for 2009, the number of serious crime cases involving foreign students was 17, namely six cases of criminal threat, four cases of rioting, three cases of theft, two cases of molestation, one case of rape and one case of causing hurt.

On another question, Hou said the ministry had taken several steps to address matters related to foreign students like updating criteria related to applications of foreign students into private institutes of higher education.

"Besides that, up till Nov 30, 2009, 29 private institutes of higher education have had their licences revoked by the Home Ministry for taking in students like for courses that were not professionally accredited, those who were not operating in registered premises, and which did not have a foreign students affairs unit," he said.

He said private institutes of higher education should also inform the Immigration Department and the ministry about students who did not attend classes for three consecutive days; or had less than 80 per cent attedance; a CPGA of less than two; or failed examinations; as well as ended their education and returned home.

He said the ministry was also in the process of using the "no objection certificate" or NOC, a support certificate that established a student's nationality.

"The ministry will also place new conditions that private students would be obliged to place a deposit as guarantee that the said student was capable of doing his or her studies here," he said.
Replying to Datuk Dr Mohd Hayati Othman (PAS-Pendang), Hou said all foreign students needed to be adjusted to Malaysian culture.

He said the ministry had also ensured that all private institutes of higher education stuck to the 20:80 ratio to ensure a truly "Malaysian" atmosphere to allow foreign students to rapidly adjust to this country. - NST

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