"STUDY ABROAD: Where the action is" by New Straits Times

November 11, 2017

EasyUni Staff

Education Hub: China’s breakneck economic growth has far outstripped the supply of talents making now the best time for Malaysians to study there


NAEIMAH Mohd Aziz, 19, has less than a week to finish her Science foundation course at Universiti Teknologi Mara, Puncak Alam campus.

She could barely wait to apply to a university of her choice to study Medicine after she receives her results.

The aspiring gynaecologist has spent the past few weeks shopping around for the best medical programme amid preparing for her final examinations which will end on Friday.
She has narrowed down her list to medical schools in Bangladesh, Indonesia and China, as all of them charge affordable fees.
But a recent talk that she attended has tipped the scales in China‘s favour.

“I was impressed with the modern facilities on campuses in China. It seems like a welcoming place,” she says.

The presentation on educational opportunities in China was the highlight of an event jointly organised by easyuni.com, GIST International College and Global Education Management Ltd.
China was touted as “the next hottest education destination” and the function attracted parents and potential students who were looking to pursue higher education opportunities in the area of Business, Culinary Arts and Medicine, among others, in the republic.

The speakers’ message to the audience was clear — now is the best time to study in China.

Its international students’ statistics speak for themselves. Just two years ago, China lured 265,090 foreign students to its shores.

The Chinese government hopes to raise the figure to 500,000 by 2020, a feasible target seeing that Chinese universities are aggressively pursuing tie-ups with foreign partners to get a steady flow of students into their institutions.
Malaysia and China inked a mutual recognition agreement on higher education last year during Chinese Premier  Wen Jiabao’s visit here and that is expected to “become a catalyst for increasing student exchanges between the two countries”.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak told Bernama: “Premier Wen proposed that (this year) 100 Malaysian students visit China and 100 Chinese students visit Malaysia. We’re in full support of his proposal.”
Even so, Malaysians are generally sceptical of the educational and employment opportunities that the world’s second largest economy has to offer.

GIST International College marketing director Danny Chan says: “People still hold on to the old perception of China — that it is underdeveloped, dirty and have poor toilets despite many parts of China being transformed into megacities.
Chan, a Malaysian, compares Malaysian parents’ attitude towards China with that of those from Kazakhstan.

“It is hard to get Malaysians to stop by our booth at education fairs. But Kazakhstan parents walk up to us without hesitation,” he says.

The top 10 international students’ list published in China Daily recently reflects Kazakhstan parents’ receptivity to the idea of sending their children to China.
Kazakhstan occupies the ninth spot just above Pakistan.

South Korea tops the list with over 70,000 students, followed by America, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Russia, Indonesia and India.
Chan thinks that it is high time Malaysians received “the right information about China”.

There are compelling reasons to study there.

The China 2030 report by The World Bank and China‘s Development Research Center predicted that “its economy could grow by about 8 per cent a year for the next few years and could sustain annual average growth of about 6.6 per cent for nearly 20 years”.

That China‘s foreign investment remains solid at between US$55 (RM165) and US$60 billion a year means that it will continue to attract foreign firms which want a piece of the action for a long time to come.
 Experts, however, note that China’s breakneck economic growth has far outstripped the supply of talents — so much so that foreign companies are having problems hiring workers with the right skills for management positions.
According to Chan, Suzhou alone houses 2,900 multinational organisations, of which 100 are Fortune 500 companies.

“Foreign firms need staff members who speak English no matter where they are based. If you are multilingual and you understand the way to do business in China, you have the upper hand,” he adds.
Edwin Tay, chief executive officer of easyuni.com, an online portal that offers a comprehensive platform for college and university applications, believes Malaysians have an edge over other citizens in terms of finding employment in China as they are “multilingual and come from a multicultural environment.”

Several international education institutions with campuses in China have done well by “marrying up insights into how China works with an international perspective”, attracting students from China and the world.
Many master’s courses in China are already being taught in English. The Southern Medical University, in Guangzhou, for example, expects local and foreign students pursuing its Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) programme to have a good command of English.

Watson Low, who recruits Malaysian students to study at the university, claims that its medical programmes are “among the best products that China can offer to the world”.
The MBBS course at Southern Medical University is recognised worldwide and offered at a fraction of the cost of the same programme in Europe, America or Australia.
Most tertiary institutions bundle  Mandarin classes with degrees offered in English.

“The module is to make you gradually proficient in spoken and written Mandarin. That is why even students from India, which is known for its medical schools, go to China to learn medicine,” says Low.
Naeimah, like other Malaysian students, has discovered that studying medicine locally is not necessarily cheaper than going abroad.

For example, registering as a medical student at a local private university in Petaling Jaya could set her back about RM250,000 — excluding living expenses.
“A five-year medical course in Bangladesh costs only RM150,000 as opposed to RM300,000 in Russia,” says the Kuala Lumpur lass.
Although her father prefers that she goes to Bangladesh, Naeimah admits that China is “looking very attractive”.

After all, a student can survive on RM900 a month, which includes food and lodging, in Suzhou — an amount that barely covers a private college student’s living expenses in Kuala Lumpur.
 She is undaunted by the prospect of studying in China as she speaks Mandarin.

“I went to a Chinese primary school so language is not a problem for me. Besides, I am a sociable person and China is an Asian country so I will feel at home there. But I’m keeping my options open,” she says.
 Perhaps Tay’s message might help her make up her mind.

“Malaysian parents and students should not pass up the opportunity to study in China as that is where the need for human resources is the greatest and where all the multinationals congregate”.
“It is said that London was the place to be in the 1800s. Now China is where the action is,” he says.

Read more: STUDY ABROAD: Where the action is - Learning Curve - New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/channels/learning-curve/study-abroad-where-the-action-is-1.62044#ixzz1poln2ms1

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