Malaysian Overseas Scholarships Only for Elite Universities

KUALA LUMPUR ~ Malaysian authorities will only hand out overseas scholarships to students who enter elite foreign universities in an effort to raise the quality of graduates entering the workforce, reports said.

Higher Education Minister Mustapa Mohamed said the move from next year was aimed at stopping students from choosing universities that were not recognized, and meeting the demands of government institutions stumping up the funds.

“Sponsors want students to pick among the top 10 overseas universities to qualify for their sponsorships. This means they must be excellent students to go there,” Mustapa was quoted as saying in the New Straits Times.

While the requirement will apply to all students wanting to study overseas, the minister said the emphasis would be on postgraduates, in order to produce quality professionals and university lecturers.

Mustapa said 1.2 billion ringgit (US$334 million) had been allocated to sponsor students to study at doctorate level next year, citing costly courses such as medical training.

“This is a burden we must accept to produce quality graduates,” the Star daily quoted him as saying.

High graduate unemployment is a sore point for the government, with Malaysian graduates criticized for poor English language and communication skills, and pursuing studies irrelevant to the marketplace.

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