Private university students enrolment may pick up amid recovery

Monash University sees encouraging student intake in October 2021


PRIVATE university enrolment experienced a decline due to Covid-19, but is expected to chart a recovery due to the country’s reopening.

Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh observed a drop of between 5% and 13% among universities during the pandemic.

“It could be attributed to a number of factors including monetary issues as the pandemic affected everyone financially; visa issues because of travel restrictions; or the lack of interest in online classes,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

Commenting on whether students are losing interest to travel abroad for studies due to the pandemic, Parmjit said that was irrelevant.

“No, no it would not happen. Plans might be delayed, but those who want to go overseas to pursue their studies would go for it and would not change their mind,” he said.

As such, academicians expect the enrolment among foreign students to pick up as Malaysia heads towards recovery.

For example, Monash University Malaysia saw an encouraging student intake in October 2021.

Its VP (Education) Prof Beverly Webster said as Malaysia and the world head towards the recovery stage, students will soon resume their studies.

“We are grateful that students and parents have continued to place their confidence and trust in us, as we can see with the promising numbers,” she told TMR.

Webster said the university has made great use of virtual classrooms to engage students in synchronous learning, teaching and assessment during the pandemic.

“We have built staff and student capabilities (using) a range of educational technologies for communication and collaboration.

“Monash has developed and implemented an e-Assessment platform, enabling the use of e-Vigilation for exams,” she added.

As students are returning for physical lessons after a long period of online classrooms, Webster said the university is preparing to welcome them with a rich learning experience and on-campus experience, as well as co-curricular activities.

“Besides academics, Monash University has also recognised the importance of equipping students with the range of skills that working and collaborating in a virtual environment requires.

“Having digital literacy skills positions our graduates well as they embark on their careers, therefore these virtual experiences will be part of the portfolio of offerings for students enrolled at Monash Malaysia,” she added.

The National Association of Private Educational Institutions (Napei) reported that international students already accepted for enrolments are experiencing problems getting their visas approved by the Immigration Department of Malaysia.

Earlier this year, Napei president Assoc Prof Elajsolan Mohan told TMR that the visa approval delay is another hurdle for local colleges that are already suffering a drop in enrolment numbers this year, due to travel restrictions as well as pandemic concerns.

Elajsolan said large private higher learning institutions could see such enrolments down by between 500 and 1,000 new students.

He said private universities are looking at a 50% reduction in international students this year and even the intake for local students is uncertain whether they can match the previous year’s numbers.