African students blamed the hostile Malaysian environment

African students blamed the

hostile Malaysian environment

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s efforts to be an international education hub by first attracting African students has hit a snag.

The Botswana government will reduce the number of students sent to study in Malaysian universities and colleges next year.

Its Education and Skills Develop-ment Minister, Jacob Nkate, said Botswana students who accounted for over 20% of the African students here had trouble acclimatising to the Malaysian culture.

He was quoted in a Botswana English daily Mmegi during a function soon after returning from a visit to Malaysia following the death of three students from the country.

Last month, two Botswana students died after falling from apartment balconies while the third died in a road accident.

It was reported that the students blamed the hostile environment they encountered in Malaysia that forced many of them to turn to alcoholism and other anti-social behaviour.

There are more than ,7000 African students here and of that number, 1,635 are from Botswana.

Nkate said some of the students had been given too much liberty by the local institutions.

He added that universities and colleges should not allow Botswana students to sit for examinations unless they had attended 80% of their classes.

Multimedia University (MMU) president Prof Dr Zaharin Yusoff expressed surprise at Nkate’s announcement.

“He visited MMU with his team recently and seemed happy with what we’re doing. He said that things would continue as normal.”

Prof Zaharin admitted that MMU’s requirements for those taking examinations were not very strict, but the university was willing to change the rules for Botswana students should the minister insist upon that.

UCSI University president Peter Ng welcomed the minister’s comments and said this was an opportunity to analyse the current situation.

“Local institutions and our Ministry of Higher Education should take stock of where we have failed and see this as a learning opportunity.

“The ministry should have a built-in system to help international students acclimatise socially, such as arranging host families to look after them,” Ng said.

Sunway University College (SUC) executive director Elizabeth Lee gave the assurance that SUC paid “special attention” to Botswana students, such as arranging additional mathematics classes for them. 

 

Africans have problems acclimatising, says minister, By SARAH CHEW in the Star online 

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