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LIBERALISING EDUCATION: More local students can now enrol
KUALA LUMPUR: MORE Malaysians can now be enrolled in international schools locally as the country moves to further liberalise its education With immediate effect, the Education Ministry has decided to do away with the previous 40 per cent quota for local students in the nearly 100 such schools now operating.
Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong, who confirmed the move, told the New Sunday Times yesterday that “we decided on this as it is in line with the government’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) to make the country a regional education hub”.
He stressed that the lifting of the quota was necessary because “we have to compete with neighbouring countries in the educational field”.
He said Singapore and Thailand had already lifted their quotas and Malaysia needed to follow suit.
“The ministry has endorsed the change and we are implementing the move with immediate effect.”
He said the decision also followed the many requests from Malaysian parents for more places for their children in international schools.
Sri Kuala Lumpur International School chief executive officer Hanif Othman Merican, when contacted, said they had yet to receive the directive from the ministry, but he welcomed the move.
“There is a demand for more places from local students and the decision will open the doors for greater enrolment,” he said.
Asked about plans to increase the number of students in the school, he said there was none at the moment.
Hanif also said there may not be an increase in fees although there would be more local students seeking admission.
Meanwhile, Parent Action Group for Education (Page) president Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim disagreed with the move as she said this would create “a new social divide between communities of different socio-economic levels”.
She added that parents who could afford the fees would send their children to international schools, while the rest of the children would be enrolled in national schools.
Noor Azimah pointed out that this could result in reduced competitiveness among students in national schools because the more brighter ones would be studying in international schools.