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Internationalising higher education: comparing the challenges of different higher education institutions in Malaysia

Internationalising higher education: comparing the challenges of different higher education institutions in Malaysia


Internationalisation of higher education in Malaysia is seen as a means for improving and empowering higher education so that the higher education institutions in the country can become comparable to the best in the world. While the government has spelt out the directions as well as some of the targets for internationalisation, higher education institutions in the country have been internationalising for different reasons and with different levels of priority and intensity. Public universities, especially the older ones, have been engaged in internationalisation as part of their academic growth and development. Concurrently, a variety of private institutions of higher learning has evolved since the opening up of private higher education from the 1980s. These include private universities that have been established by large corporations, smaller private colleges that have been elevated to the status of degree-conferring institutions as well as branch campuses of foreign universities. The objective of this paper is to examine the different concepts and challenges of internationalisation faced by the different types of higher education institutions in the country, using the case study approach. It was found that in each of these cases, the concept of internationalisation and the challenges faced are different, although funding is raised as a problem in three of the four cases. These different challenges imply that current policies may have to be fine-tuned in order to address the different needs of these institutions in their respective efforts to internationalise.
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