Malaysia bans opening of new universities

Malaysia graduates
The high number of educational institutions in Malaysia is producing too many unemployed graduates

In an effort to curb oversupply of educational institutions, Malaysia’s government will not allow the setting up of universities, university colleges and colleges for two years effective February 1, 2013, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin has announced.

“The ministry thinks the number of higher institutions of learning is enough to meet demand. Although applications are still high, there are signs indicating an excess of graduates, as compared to market demand,” the minister said.

Notwithstanding the ban, the government will still review the cases of a handful of schools seeking to upgrade their status, seeking international rankings or considering building new campuses.

Currently, there are 37 private universities, 20 private university colleges, seven foreign university branch campuses and 414 private colleges in the country.

It has been acknowledged by the Malaysian government that all these colleges have created an army of skilled white-collar workers, but also a high number of unemployed graduates who cannot find the well-paid jobs they hoped would be waiting for them when they graduated.

Among prospective employers there are also discussion about the quality of higher education. A substantial part of graduates is apparently lacking skills in the fields they were supposed to be trained in, and also in written and spoken English.

For example, In the nursing field, there are too many teaching hospitals and private colleges, and nurses from some of the private colleges still need training at teaching hospitals before they are fully equipped to work.  The same applies to dentistry and medicine. In the aviation sector, more than 1,000 graduate pilots are jobless.

Critics say it would be necessary to “weed out” poor teaching institutions in Malaysia, and the government has said it will start  to conduct checks to monitor administration, services and programmes of about 10 colleges a year.

The education minister has already named nine learning institutions that will undergo a quality review in 2013. He said they were selected based on weakness or complaints received from the public, related to the university’s services and performance or based on random selection.

The institutions are:

Selangor Industrial University (UNISEL)
Insaniah University College (KUIN)
Malaysian University of Science and Technology
Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST)
Selangor International Islamic University College (KUIS)
Twintech University College of Technology
Linton University College
Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan University College
Lincoln University College