MoE to probe profit-first private colleges

Minister Maszlee to personally look into the complaints


THE Ministry of Education (MoE) is expected to investigate complaints about private colleges that prioritise pro ts at the expense of educational standards.

The ministry said it has received complaints that some private colleges and universities are basically profit-making entities that do not follow guidelines that are provided under the Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996.

Minister Dr Maszlee Malik (picture), responding to a question from The Malaysian Reserve (TMR), said he will personally look into the complaints.

“I’ve taken note of the issue, and I will study and investigate the circumstance,” he said via his official Facebook account.

Sources told TMR that several private colleges are not following the provisions of the Act because corporations make decisions based on profit considerations, including on matters that affect academic quality.

One source said the issue remained “untouchable” for more than two decades, and must be addressed now to ensure academic integrity and excellence under the new administration.

The source said the provisions of the Act ensure that private colleges must put educational standards as the first priority and that academic matters must be decided by a senate chaired by a VC.

“According to the Act, the highest authority in the education institution and academic matters is the senate, which is chaired by the VC,” the source told TMR.

The source claimed that many private colleges were “shell companies without proper staff” and with no official bank accounts or even Employees Provident Fund’s registration numbers. All finances are run by the parent companies and not by the actual universities’ management teams.

“There must be a separation between the two, so that the university could be run efficiently without business interference that would seek revenue by breaking the rules,” the source added.

The MoE Enforcement & Inspectorate Division (private colleges) senior principal assistant director Mohd Ruzeiny Kamaruzzaman told TMR the separation of power is clearly stated by the institutions’ constitution.

He said the regulator does not intend to micromanage the governance of private colleges, as long as it is in accordance with the constitution.

“As for managing the accounts, they can appoint their bursary. The money must be controlled by the university, not at the company level,” one source said. As of February, 478 private education tertiary institutions are currently in operation in the country.