Monday, June 09, 2008

Only Malaysian students should be subsidized

I agree with the Khaled Nordin, the new Minister of Higher Education, that only Malaysians studying at our public universities should be subsidized in terms of school fees and not foreigners. He said this in conjunction with a remark that the school fees of foreigners at our public universities will be reviewed.

Let me say why I think only Malaysian students should be subsidized and not foreigners. The subsidies come from Malaysian taxpayers and hence should be used only for the sons and daughters of Malaysian students. I don't see why foreign students, whose parents have not contributed anything into the system should benefit from these subsidies.

A related argument is the fact that Malaysian students who are educated in our public universities will be able to 'give back' to the country in the form of taxes paid as well as providing a more skilled work force. It is less likely that foreign students in Malaysia will remain in Malaysia and do the same.

Foreign universities in the US, UK, Australia, NZ, Canada, have made it part of their business model to charge more for overseas students partly because of the profit motive, partly because govt subsidies are being reduced and partly because of the principles I discussed above. In the US, state universities charge students who are out of state more also based on some of these principles.

Is it ironic that I advocate for this position at the same time as I'm receiving a scholarship from my US university? Not at all. Duke is a private university and is funded by a combination of fees and endowments, none of which comes from the state or from taxes. If there was a private university in Malaysia who wanted to be as generous to foreigners as they are to Malaysians, I would have no problems with that.

I just have a little bone to pick with the minister. He said that fees in public universities cannot be too high because that would dissuade foreign students from coming. I think he should make it a point to improve the standards of our public universities so that higher fees can be justified and won't dissuade foreigners from coming to our public universities.


Anonymous said...

Then no foreigner will come to study in Malaysia... and you'll lose some good money they spend in Malaysia...

Anonymous said...

Better no foreigner comes to settle hear and make use of subsidised medical facilities, subsidised education, pay no adequate taxes, pollute the environment with diseases like new strains of typhoid, TB, AIDS and illnesses, sleep with Malaysian women and make them pregnant and then run away to make sure the society subsidises their illegitimate children, whatever low rung currency that when exchanged with Ringgit is useless and only leads to a current account deficit and outflow of funds when they work here illegally instead of studying, outrage the modesty of local women and the list goes on. Bring new extremist beliefs and language and foul behavior etc etc.

l藍海 said...


l藍海 said...

抱歉 :P 我不懂英文 所以会错意了,撤除掉我的留言吧。

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Nice. The government's giving other people scholarships as well? I suppose it's horrid to gripe "what about me?" but it's come to that point.

Anonymous said...

In the first place who was the "idiot" who proposed the foreign students education here would be subsidized?

Why only now want to make noise?

Without foreign students the ranking in THES would fall

Ayo....our bolih land is always rich with half cooked ideas and proposals

real pimai pimai tang tu... all the time

Anonymous said...

Tony, I bring you to the US, Canada and Singapore models.

They subsidise foreigners.

Why? Because the qaulity of a University is directly related to the quality of its students. If you attract top quality students, you rank highly.

Our problem is, our Universities attract rubbish. Our own racial quota ensures that the top students go to USA, Canada and Singapore. Our ranking go down, no decent foreign student want to come.

We must first attract good local student first, then start trhowing some money to get foreign students. Once we get fame, then we start cutting back bit by bit.

Did you notice what Singapore did?

They gave a lot of subsidies to foreigners. 10% more fees to pay compare to citizens only, for about 10+years. Suddenly this year, they tier the fees.

Permenat Residents 10% above citizens. Foreigners 50% more than citizens.

And foreigners are still flocking to them. My niece with straight 3 A in A levels cannot get into NUS. They are asking for 4 A and in some courses 5 A!

So before we hit the nationalist tune, let us look at our fundamentals first.

You got ASEAN Scholarship study in Raffles right? I thought you should have deeper understanding of this.

Anonymous said...

It's not as easy as getting students. Ask my nephew why he go to NUS, when he is top in his school. He go to their Engineering.

Why not one of our Malaysian Universities?

Because NUS degree is recognised internationally. Because the NUS degree gives him a job for at least near or more than SGD3,000 a month when he graduates. And the NUS degree means he can go other 1st world countries to work! Not Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh only! And for high pay!

Because the NUS degree lets him get Master course in Ivy League schools easily without many questions!

Because NUS gives him chance to go exchange and stay in overseas countries (USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, Japan, Korea, etc) Ivy league Universities for up to 1 year at no extra costs!

What can our Universities offer locals? RM1,500 a month job? 80% unemployment?

What can foreign students get from our degrees? Petrol subsidies? Heh.

Kian Ming said...

left foot lah,

Don't blame Tony for this post lah. I'm the one who wrote it. And I was also an Asean scholar so I'm relatively familiar with the Sporean system. Yes, NUS is somewhat subsidized for Malaysians. You can quite easily take out scholarships to study there. But there is a catch. You are bonded to work in Spore for 3 years after you graduate. There is no such stipulation for foreigners studying in Malaysia.

On the US system, foreigners are NOT subsidized. You can apply for financial aid. Most of the state schools in the US do not offer much financial aid to foreigners because of squeezes in funding.

Anonymous said...

Recently, when 4 'top' local universities were given RM50mil additional allocation as part of the 'research university' privilege. If you look at most of these so-called RUs, I know for a fact almost 60-75% of the postgraduate students are made up of foreigners, largely from the middle east. One of the RUs , with loads of money to spend, initiated 'Research Fellowships' scheme awarding up to RM2,300 to 2,800 per month. Having such a large percentage of foreign postgradute students, and the 'need' to spend the allocation within a stipulated timeframe, a whoppping number of foreign students have been awarded and are enjoying the toil of Malaysians taxpayers. This, I personaly feel is very unjust. ON the flip side of the coin, one needs to study the factors that actually contribute to the low numbers of local graduates who actually want to pursue their postgraduate studies....

Anonymous said...

Local U should make an active effort to wooo bright young Malaysians to pursue their postgraduate studies...try to 'catch' good UG students before they leave the U for a job...offfer them a place and a scholarship, and they'd stay...

Anonymous said...

Here's an interesting piece of news. Schools in England are to meet minimum GCSE targets or face closure. I think the English are going a bit too far.

Anonymous said...

But there is a catch. You are bonded to work in Spore for 3 years after you graduate
Kian Ming, this is where compartmentalising kills us, while "big picture" pulled Singapore ahead of us.

The "free money" gets NUS good top students from overseas, and they develop fast to become one of the world's top Universities in just 10+ years.

The bond, I feel, is symbolic. It lets the citizens feel that the foreigners "paid back" by bond.

But what reall the bond does, is give Singapore qualified manpower, trained by their top University, hence attracting investments.

You see, when you chain it up, the overall effect, is pull NUS ahead very fast, PLUS pull their economy ahead very fast too!

We have to relook how we do things here in Malaysia. Our people get emotional too easily and never think ahead. That is why we can never win Singapore, much less compete in the world stage with EU, USA, Australia like NUS now.

Anonymous said...

'Research Fellowships' scheme awarding up to RM2,300 to 2,800 per month.

Kawan, you know research scholarships in NUS pay how much? SGD3,000-SGD3,500 a month.

But of course, they are getting top talents.

Anonymous said...

On the US system, foreigners are NOT subsidized.

Kian Ming, US system, is very different. In US system, specialised Degree courses are mostly Masters level. Like Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, etc.

And they have many research scholarships for Masters. Their Masters courses are so strong, people think their undergraduate degrees are also good, that's why they don't have to subsidise undergraduate degrees that much.

But Masters subsidies are very much more expensive than undergraduate degrees. And our economy now needs quality undergraduate degree holders, not yet Masters. We must really make an effort to improve quality first. Maybe merge UM with NUS. It is time we consider the merging option with Singapore. My personal opinion is, too many big boy Unions out there (like EU). If we still fighting petty wars with Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, or Sarawak fight with Sabah for students, we will forever be 3rd world country.

xenobiologista said...

Is it ironic that I advocate for this position at the same time as I'm receiving a scholarship from my US university? Not at all. Duke is a private university and is funded by a combination of fees and endowments, none of which comes from the state or from taxes.

Err..I have to disagree with you since I'm doing my MS at the University of Wisconsin being funded by state taxes and National Institute of Health grants. =)

Going to go off on a bit of tangent here...

Again, I have to point out that the US is different from Malaysia in several relevant aspects. First, it's a richer country so there's simply more net money to put toward education and research. I don't know what the respective percentages of Gross Domestic Product go to those two things, if someone else knows please inform.

Second, there has been a drastic fall-off in the proportion of domestic students interested in the sciences. I think it's cos they've been a developed country for longer and so have less interest in "practical" fields. Also with the stereotype of spoilt American brats holding true, a lot of college students just want to mess around and don't have the discipline to do science.

The result of this is that a lot of US research is being propped up by foreign scientists and students (my lab is mostly international) so it's justifiable that they fund our labour, since it benefits their country. A lot of scientists who stay here also become naturalized Americans (which then causes brain drain problems for their countries of origin...)

I'm not arguing that Malaysia SHOULD fund foreign students, just that you shouldn't compare here to there.

Anonymous said...

Research Scholars will be given a monthly stipend and a full tuition fee subsidy. For Research Scholars in a Masters/Graduate Programme, the monthly stipend is S$1,500. For Research Scholars in a Ph.D. programme, monthly stipends for Singapore citizens, Singapore Permanent Residents and foreigners are currently S$2,300, S$2,200 and S$2,000 respectively.
Research Scholars in a Ph.D. programme may be eligible for an additional stipend of up to $500 per month upon passing the Ph.D. qualifying examination, which is normally held 12 to 18 months after registration of candidature. The additional stipend is renewable annually subject to good performance and duration of the additional stipend varies among the different faculties and schools.

Anonymous said...

My husband's application for scholarship who is a foreigner was rejected.Even my husband has publication in IEEE with highest impact factor and my husband was one of the IEEE examiner...Time for Malaysia to collapse..Bravo and Kudos to stupid Malay Goverments..