Quality British education
THE United Kingdom and Malaysia have long- standing bilateral relationships in the area of politics, trade and education.
Many leading figures in Malaysian society have graduated from the UK, starting their early education in the local school system and following through to university.
While they will enthusiastically acknowledge the value of such experience in their personal and professional development, they are also aware that it was an opportunity available only to a small number of individuals.
In the past 20 years, however, British education has become more accessible to students across the world as more and more institutions offer programmes overseas.
The presence of branch campuses, in particular, offers an excellent opportunity for students to gain a quality higher education at an affordable fee without having to move abroad.
In the current economic climate with the recent depreciation of the ringgit, the opportunity to gain an international education locally is proving to be particularly attractive to Malaysian students.
When branch campuses were initially established in Malaysia, they tended to focus on what most people believed were the subjects that would ensure a good career and repay an investment in education – subjects such as business, engineering, pharmacy and information technology.
However, they have diversified over time to offer a broader range of study opportunities and become more comprehensive.
Compared with five years ago, the number of Malaysian students pursuing courses at branch campuses in the arts, social sciences and science has increased significantly.
Some will attribute this development to the emergence of Gen Y students, individuals who are thought to be more drawn towards building a career around their personal interests and passions. High on their agendas are global grand challenges such as food security, sustainability, climate change, justice and human rights.
Those with a love of nature may pursue courses in environmental science or ecology while those concerned about food security may take up a degree in plant biotechnology.
English literature or cultural studies may attract those with a passion for reading while politics or international relations engage students who wish to understand more about the challenges of global justice and security.
There is much to be said for studying something that you are truly passionate about – whether it is engineering, business, psychology or politics.
Studying in an institution that has a broad range of subjects results in a much richer student experience, particularly outside the classroom where one may find engineers performing Shakespeare with literature students or accountancy students collaborating with environmental science students on conservation projects.
There are ample career opportunities available if students choose to pursue the more traditional courses in business, engineering, pharmacy and information technology.
Those who pursue science, social sciences and the arts will also find themselves in demand from employers.
The private sector, government and nongovernmental organisations need graduates in these areas for their specialist knowledge and broad, transferable skills.
School- leavers who have completed their SPM or STPM can be resourceful as well and look around for scholarships.
The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus offers close to RM3mil worth of scholarships for each academic year.
To help ease the financial burden facing parents, the university’s tuition fees have been frozen this year and students are able to enjoy the fees offered last year.
– By Prof Christine Ennew, chief executive officer and provost of The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
For more information, visit www. nottingham. edu. my.