Feb 2, 2009


It won't take too long before the number of students in private colleges and universities (IPTS) in Malaysia outnumbers those in the public universities. The ratio is approaching 1:1, according to a statistic. What are some of the implications? What are some of the challenges? Is it creating a huge impact on national education standard? How about job opportunities?

With as many students entering IPTS compared to the IPTA importance will only grow and will have a big impact on the job generate potential in the education sector the skill levels of the work force and the research activities in our universities.

There are another layer of IPTS who don't have research aspirations but will be known for offering good facilities, courses and teaching. In addition, I suspect that there will also be some specialized IPTS which focus on certain types of courses – design (LimKokWing) or IT (Informatics). And then there will be a scattering of smaller IPTS which offer 'value for money' courses. These colleges have been growing rapidly since decades ago.

There will be a different in the quality and reputation of private colleges and universities. In fact some of this is already happening. There will emerge a handful of IPTS which will challenge the IPTA as research universities. Sunway Monash and Nottingham are obvious candidates. There will be other 'home grown' IPTS which will want to or be pushed to the direction of being research universities. This is another good move by private colleges and universities to competing each other in various sectors.

But there are also many concern associated with the rapid development of the IPTS, including: Generally, I think the quality of lecturers must be equal standard with IPTA. The types of courses being offered are commercially viable. The growing number of foreign students is the problems associated with this are above the limit.

The development of the IPTS has more positives than negatives, in my opinion. It provides another avenue of job creation for the country, it gives different options to Malaysians who want to earn a degree, it earns foreign exchange for the country and it can contribute towards human capital development as nations agenda that we searching for.

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