DUBAI - The comparatively lower cost but higher quality of tertiary education in Malaysia will attract more students from the Middle East, including those from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Malaysia offered quality education at better and attractive fees, with a considerably much lower cost of living compared with European countries and even the United States.
The wide use of English at Malaysian universities would make it easier for international students to pursue their studies in the country, said Muhyiddin, who is also education minister.
Presently, there are more than 25,000 Middle Eastern students studying in Malaysia, with only 164 from UAE.
"We have been aggressively promoting Malaysia as an education hub in the region and that is why many foreign universities have already opened their branch campuses in our country.
"Malaysia also provides the best tertiary education, which is in line with our policy," he told Malaysian reporters after launching the Education Malaysia pavilion at the Gulf Education and Training Exhibition (Getex) 2014 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre here yesterday.
Muhyiddin was accompanied by UAE Culture, Youth and Social Development Minister Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan and Education Minister Humaid Mohammed Al Qatami. Also present was his wife, Puan Sri Noorainee Abdul Rahman.
Muhyiddin, who had earlier received courtesy calls by Nahyan and Humaid, said UAE leaders had also expressed their intention to have universities in both countries collaborating in various fields, especially science and technology, oil and gas, and languages.
"They also promised to send more students to Malaysia and hoped that Malaysia could do the same.
"We also plan to have an agreement for a long-term relationship in education," he said, adding that most of the UAE students took engineering and information technology courses in Malaysia.
Muhyiddin said the UAE government had expressed its gratitude over Malaysia's participation in Getex.
The Malaysian pavilion showcases 27 public and private institutions of higher learning in the country.
Since 1983, Getex has been the largest and most comprehensive forum for education, corporate training and career development in the Middle East.
Malaysia has been participating in Getex since 2004 to promote its higher education apart from enhancing cooperation with institutions of higher learning in the Middle East.