Association impressed with Maszlee’s efforts to reform private colleges, varsities

Education Minister Maszlee Malik.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities (Mapcu) has welcomed an announcement by Education Minister Maszlee Malik to reform private higher education governance frameworks.

Its president, Parmjit Singh, said the minister had announced a raft of initiatives aimed at enhancing stakeholder involvement in developing and charting a roadmap for the private higher education sector during a special engagement session with leaders of such institutions in Putrajaya on Thursday.

“Coming hot on the heels of the minister’s pledge to look into the over-regulation of the sector, as announced during the ‘Open Dialogue on Education’ on Feb 14, Mapcu is impressed with this latest announcement.

“This is a tangible reaffirmation of Maszlee’s commitment in ensuring that the sector is able to play its role meaningfully to complement the government’s role in providing access to higher education and enhancing Malaysia’s position as an international hub of educational excellence.”

Parmjit said Mapcu welcomed the initiatives announced, which include harmonising the Private Higher Education Act (Act 555) and the Universities and University Colleges Act (Auku), improving governance mechanisms, ensuring sustainability of institutions, promoting innovation, and ensuring that all agencies involved work in concert to enhance service delivery.

Parmjit Singh.

He also welcomed the setting up of the Council of Private University Vice-Chancellors, which was also launched yesterday.

“This is a step in the right direction that provides universities with a liaison forum to engage with various agencies, particularly in matters relating to academic quality enhancement, innovation and student development.”

He said Mapcu believed that associations representing the broader spectrum of private universities and colleges should also be represented in this council.

“This is to ensure that aspects related to the sustainability of institutions are also addressed.

“This is particularly important, given the minister’s acknowledgement of the tremendous economic value of the private higher education sector to the country.

“Maszlee had put the value at around RM33 billion — making up 2.5% of Malaysia’s economy.”

Parmjit applauded the leadership of the Department of Higher Education, in particular the Private Higher Education Division, for having already initiated a number of workshops and engagement sessions with the sector in support of the minister’s announcements.

“These are clearly positive signs that bode well for the future of higher education in Malaysia.”