by ZAKIAH KOYA
Published: 18 August 2014
Public universities. such as Universiti Malaya. are allegedly seeking more foreign students to help raise its international ranking, says a lawmaker. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, August 18, 2014.
The Higher Education Advisory and Complaint Portal (HEAP) received a total of 130 complaints, just two days after its launch, says Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin, indicating the need to push for reforms in the Education Ministry's selection process into public universities.
"We only started the portal and the complaints are coming from all races, including from quite a number of Bumiputras," he said.
HEAP was set up by PKR to collect complaints from students who failed to get the courses they had applied for or places in public universities despite having the qualification.
Sim, who highlighted that the acceptance rate has experienced a “drastic drop” despite the increase of public university applications, has also urged the ministry to be transparent and to address the matter immediately.
He said that compared with 70% of applicants making it into public universities last year, only 55% made it this year.
"There were 41,573 placed from 57,802 applicants last year. This year, there were 67,388 applicants but only 37,467 were placed.
"I have presented these statistics last week but the ministry has yet to dispute the numbers," said Sim.
In the meantime, Sim reminded that students, whose applications have been rejected, were required to submit an appeal with the ministry first before filing a complaint with HEAP.
This, he said was because the ministry has opened the applications for appeal from those who were rejected or wanting to change their courses. The deadline for the appeal is this Friday.
Sim also slammed public universities for actively promoting themselves to attract foreign students thus affecting the intake of local students.
"There are websites advertising our public universities' openings to foreign students. Private web trackers have shown that public universities have actively been promoting places for foreign students.
"Attracting foreign students is not a bad thing, but we question their priority. If they need to get more foreign students, the ministry must explain this to the local students," said Sim.
He said the rising intake of foreign students was "probably part of the government's effort to better the world ranking of the Malaysian public universities."
He added that the decline in the undergraduate intake this year could also be the government's strategy to better the ratio between the number of undergraduates and postgraduates.
"A better ratio on this will also increase our ranking among world universities," said Sim.
Malaysian public universities have come under public scrutiny in recent years for the drop in their world rankings in recent years.
At present, Universiti Malaya (UM) is reported to be the the highest-ranked Malaysian institution in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s 2014 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).
It is ranked at 377 this year and has improved from its position of 401 to 500 in 2012 and 2013. – August 18, 2014.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/complaints-pouring-in-on-varsity-application-rejections#sthash.GXaszgY5.dpuf