STU­DENTS SET TO FLOCK TO AN ACA­DEMIC HOME FROM HOME

Xi­a­men Univer­sity, one of China’s most-pres­ti­gious schools, is pre­dict­ing a bright fu­ture for its re­cently opened cam­pus in Malaysia, as re­ports.

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA -

As a mem­ber of the first group of stu­dents to at­tend Xi­a­men Univer­sity Malaysia, Ohg Sui Chang ap­pre­ci­ates the feel­ing of hav­ing no pre­de­ces­sors.

“Very few stu­dents have such an ex­pe­ri­ence — there are no pre­vi­ous grad­u­ates and al­most every­thing on cam­pus is new and wait­ing to be ex­plored,” the 20-year-old Kuala Lumpur res­i­dent said, adding that he is ex­cited about the op­por­tu­nity be­cause he is al­ways will­ing to try some­thing new and chal­leng­ing.

In Fe­bru­ary last year, Xi­a­men Univer­sity Malaysia, or XMUM, was of­fi­cially opened, and 200 stu­dents en­rolled. It is lo­cated 45 kilo­me­ters south­west of Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian cap­i­tal, and cov­ers an area of 0.6 square kilo­me­ters. The to­tal planned floor space is 470,000 square me­ters and the school is ex­pected to at­tract investment of 1.3 bil­lion ring­git ($300 mil­lion).

In re­cent years, China has deep­ened in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion on ed­u­ca­tion, and by the end of last year, five uni­ver­si­ties had set up branches or in­sti­tutes over­seas, in­clud­ing Soo­chow Univer­sity (Laos), Beijing Lan­guage and Cul­ture Univer­sity (Ja­pan), and Yun­nan Univer­sity of Finance and Eco­nom­ics (Thai­land).

What makes XMUM dif­fer­ent is that it is the first en­tirely new cam­pus to be es­tab­lished over­seas by a renowned Chi­nese univer­sity.

You have to obey the laws and reg­u­la­tions of the other coun­try, and un­der­stand, re­spect and adapt to the cul­ture and the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.” Zhu Chong­shi, pres­i­dent of Xi­a­men Univer­sity

His­toric re­cip­ro­ca­tion

The idea orig­i­nated in March 2011, when a se­nior Malaysian ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cial met with Hao Ping, a vicem­i­nis­ter of ed­u­ca­tion, and ex­pressed the hope that a Chi­nese univer­sity would es­tab­lish a cam­pus in Malaysia.

Xi­a­men Univer­sity, a lead­ing school in the south­east­ern prov­ince of Fu­jian, was se­lected by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion to turn the dream into a re­al­ity. The prov­ince has a wealth of his­tor­i­cal con­nec­tions with Malaysia; the univer­sity was founded in 1921 by the late phi­lan­thropist Tan Kah Kee, a Chi­nese busi­ness­man who made a for­tune in the rub­ber trade in what was then Malaya.

Af­ter al­most a cen­tury, Xi­a­men Univer­sity, hav­ing gained fame do­mes­ti­cally and broad­ened its hori­zons in an at­tempt to be­come a world-renowned in­sti­tu­tion, ex­pressed its grat­i­tude to Malaysia, ac­cord­ing to Zhu Chong­shi, the pres­i­dent.

“We con­sider it his­toric re­cip­ro­ca­tion, and be­lieve that the es­tab­lish­ment of the cam­pus will def­i­nitely boost fur­ther co­op­er­a­tion and ed­u­ca­tional ex­changes be­tween China and Malaysia,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Zhu, the aim is to build XMUM into one of Malaysia’s best schools, and pro­vide its stu­dents with skills that will en­able them to be­come in­ter­na­tion­ally com­pet­i­tive. More­over, the school in­tends to fol­low in Tan’s foot­steps and sup­port ed­u­ca­tion by en­sur­ing that it re­mains a not­for-profit es­tab­lish­ment.

To that end, it charges some of the low­est tu­ition fees among pri­vate uni­ver­si­ties in Malaysia — 22,000 ring­git to 24,000 ring­git a year — and sur­plus funds will be in­vested in the devel­op­ment of the cam­pus, rather than be­ing brought back to China, ac­cord­ing to Zhu.

Range of op­tions

Malaysia has a pop­u­la­tion of about 30 mil­lion, equiv­a­lent to that of a large Chi­nese city, such as the south­west­ern me­trop­o­lis of Chongqing, but it is home to more than 100 higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions, both pub­lic and pri­vate.

In ad­di­tion, some well­known uni­ver­si­ties in de­vel­oped coun­tries, such as the Univer­sity of Not­ting­ham in the United King­dom, have also es­tab­lished cam­puses in the coun­try.

That has re­sulted in fierce com­pe­ti­tion to re­cruit stu­dents, ac­cord­ing to Zhang Ying, as­sis­tant pres­i­dent of XMUM.

To re­main com­pet­i­tive, the cam­pus of­fers a range of schol­ar­ships, and great ef­forts have been made in the de­sign of cour­ses and the cur­ricu­lum to pro­vide stu­dents with a wide range of study pro­grams.

Some of the most pop­u­lar dis­ci­plines at Xi­a­men Univer­sity, such as chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing , ma­rine biotech­nol­ogy and busi­ness stud­ies, have been brought to the cam­pus in Malaysia.

Mean­while, some ma­jors that are gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity in Malaysia’s pri­vate uni­ver­si­ties, such as new-en­ergy science and engi­neer­ing, have been set up in recog­ni­tion of the coun­try’s nat­u­ral re­sources, em­ploy­ment prospects and the need to train peo­ple in cer­tain skills.

Ohg, the stu­dent from Kuala Lumpur, said the op­por­tu­nity

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