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High foreign student intake is not a prime factor to achieve world-class university

foreign student chart

I was bewildered by news that some public research universities intend to increase foreign student intake to achieve so-called world-class university status. This policy indeed is a misguided strategy at the expense of local students especially non-bumi who have to give away places in the public universities to foreigners.

Let’s benchmark National University of Singapore, a top-10 university in Asia and top-50 in the world with only 8-10% foreign students against 20% in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. My pertinent point is more foreign student intake above 10% is not a must requirement to attain world-class university status.

I do not deny that a developing nation like Malaysia still needs to import foreign talents, but they must be brilliant people, and not the average Joe. Reduce the intake percentage and tighten the screening process to accept smart foreign students only.

The focus to drive public university to world-class status should be on research and development, journal citation rate, teaching staff and facilities, academic freedom, etc. Let stop using short-cut to score full marks in the foreign student category.

I strongly urge public universities and the Education Ministry to review and fix the foreign student quota to no more than 10% and re-allocate precious tertiary education resources to local people who are paying tax to government. Besides it also can reduce local talent exodus chronic problem.