Time to Reform Public Universities


Last May, Penang Monthly examined the condition of private higher education in the country. Now, we look at the challenges facing public universities.

It does look as if the momentum of reform in Malaysian higher education is gaining pace. The Malaysian Higher Education Blueprint (HEB)1 launched in April last year was quickly followed in September by the University Transformation Programme (UNiTP) Green Book. These provide guidelines for the better governance of public universities2.

Both documents present ideas for higher education in Malaysia to improve quality, increase access and address pressing strategic issues, including more stable finances. While providing an understanding of what the government wants to achieve, these documents also raise many questions, such as what is driving these changes, what are the consequences in terms of the raison d'être for higher education in Malaysia, and what are the financing and policy options available or necessary for fulfilling the new vision?

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