Malaysia is working to engage partners around the world to entice international students back to its shores following the global health pandemic.
At an event held at the High Commission in London, Education Malaysia Global Services and the high commissioner of Malaysia to the UK appealed to institutional partners to restart sending exchange students to the Southeast Asian nation.
CEO of EMGS, Mohd Radzlan Bin Jalaludin, highlighted that as of August this year, Malaysian authorities had received some 180 new visa applications from UK students.
Between January 1 and August 31, 2,177 visa applications for mobility had been received in total, with France (388), Indonesia (316), Japan (252) and Germany (205) leading on applications.
Of the UK numbers, Radzlan Bin Jalaludin said they have not yet rebounded to pre-Covid numbers.
“Before Covid, the actual number would be around 280 to 300 new applications from the UK,” he said.
Up to 2019, the number had been rising year-on-year from the UK with 230 applications in 2017, 252 in 2018 and 300 in 2019.
“Our borders are open. Please my friends, come and visit us, any time, any day”
“But during 2021 and 2020, the number was 10 to 12… because most of UK students come to Malaysia for short courses and mobility. So for mobility they need to be in the country,” Radzlan Bin Jalaludin said.
“So now, our borders are open. Please my friends, come and visit us, any time, any day,” he appealed, pointing to the affordability, English-medium courses and lifestyle as attractive reasons to opt for the country as a mobility destination.
Earlier in September, EMGS worked with the Committee for International Directors of Public Universities and Education Malaysia Australia to welcome eight Australian universities to the country.
Australian university representatives visited campuses and top destinations including Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Tioman Island. The countries have long-standing exchange and collaboration education program through Australia’s outbound mobility New Colombo Plan, EMGS noted.
The NCP mobility projects for 2022 allocated some AUS$1.2 million for opportunities for almost 400 Australian students to travel to Malaysia, according to DFAT statistics.
EMGS also launched a Study in Malaysia Australian Student Mobility Programme in April in a bid to provide a “platform for more strategic collaboration between participating Malaysian and Australian higher education institutions”.
At the event in London, vice chancellor of Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia Sharifudin Md Shaarani noted that the UK has been a “great destination” for Malaysian students.
According to HESA statistics from 2020/21, there were 11,510 Malaysian students enrolled at UK institutions.
“It is not a one way traffic, it must be a win-win situation”
“How can we build this network together and give the benefit to the students, not just from Malaysia to the UK, but the UK to Malaysia? You know, it is not a one way traffic, it must be a win-win situation,” he said.
“One of the biggest challenges is funding, the next challenge is how are we going to mobilise the programs? These are the challenges that I think we need to talk about.
“We are thrilled to be here,” Shaarani continued. “You know, we are looking into all sorts of possibilities to work with you, and not just to work with you, but to make it happen.”