Dubai: Parents in the Gulf who worry about sending their children to western universities may instead send them to Malaysia, which offers the same quality education but with a friendlier learning environment, a Malaysian education minister said.
“The quality of education that we have in Malaysia and the kind of ecosystem that we have in Malaysia is more friendly to people here rather than in America and the UK. So the level of culture shock is going to be less,” Idris Jusoh, Malaysian Education Minister II, told Gulf News on Saturday during his meeting with UAE residents who have studied in Malaysia.
Malaysia is a multi-ethnic society with three main ethnic groups, Malay, Indian, and Chinese. Some 100,000 higher education students in Malaysia come from about 100 countries. About 30,000 of these come from the Middle East and North Africa region.
The Malaysian government is investing heavily in education to turn the country into a leading study destination in the southeast Asian region. A number of foreign-run universities have campuses in Malaysia such as University of Nottingham, University of Southampton, Newcastle University, and Monash University, Australia, among others.
The cost of education in Malaysia is about one-third of the cost in the UK or in US, said Malaysian Consul-General Dato’ Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin. He added that degrees in Malaysia are also recognised in many countries.
Apart from cost, the adjustment phase in Malaysia for Gulf students is also favourable since Malaysia is a Muslim country.
Dubai-based Pakistani expatriate Sarah Mansour, who graduated with a degree in psychology in Malaysia, testified to this. She said her learning extended beyond the four corners of their classroom.
“I studied most of my life in the Gulf. In Malaysia, it’s an open environment where we learn about a lot of things and about life as well,” Sarah said.
Sarah’s mother, Soofia, said she had no regrets sending Sarah to Malaysia. Currently, two of her four kids have finished their degrees there; two of her daughters will be sent to Malaysia in the future.
“Being from a Muslim background, sending our kids to Canada, US, or the UK, where there are huge cultural differences, is a concern. But when we sent her to Malaysia, not once did I worry about her safety,” Soofia said.