Last updated Wednesday, 12 September, 2018 02:42:21 PM


High Schools  Secondary Schools



Higher education in Malaysia is divided into two (2) catagories :

(1) Category One :  Non-University Status  : The first is IPTS (Non-University Status) such as Taylor's, Kolej Damansara Utama (KDU) etc. These outfits are authorized to issue internal certificate and diploma qualifications. They are also authorized to conduct franchised degree programmes (e.g., twinning degrees) as well as other external semi-professional and professional qualification (e.g., ACCA etc.).

(2) Category Two :University Status  : The second category is IPTS (University Status). This category can in turn be split as 3-types:

1) Private Universities
2) University Colleges
3) Foreign University Branch Campuses

Both private universities (e.g., MMU, UTP, UNITAR, UTAR etc.) and University Colleges are authorized to award their own degrees and other qualifications. Foreign Branch campuses (e.g., Nottingham University) on the other hand, will award identical degree programmes as the host university.

Hence the main "change", when say, Limkokwing Institute of Creative Technology gets "upgraded" to University Colleges status is that they no longer need to rely on their foreign franchise partners to award degree certificates. They are now licensed to print their own certificates.


What is University Colleges ?

Many new University Colleges appeared recent years in Malaysia. The public may wonder as to what a "university college" mean.

Out of more than 500 private colleges in Malaysia, there are 10 institutions categorized as "University Colleges" (UC). The first University Colleges was Kolej Universiti Teknologi dan Pengurusan Malaysia in 2001, followed by 4 more in 2003 and the rest in 2004 and 2005. These institutions are:

  • Asia Pacific University College of Technology and Innovation (UCTI)
  • Binary University College of Management & Entrepreneurship (BUCME)
  • International University College of Technology Twintech (IUCTT)
  • University College Antarabangsa Sedaya International (UCSI)
  • HELP University College (HUC)
  • Kuala Lumpur Infrastructure University College (KLIUC)
  • Kolej Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Selangor (KISDAR)
  • Sunway University College (SUC)
  • Kolej Universiti Teknologi dan Pengurusan Malaysia (KUTPM)
  • LimKokWing University College of Creative Technology (LUCCT)

Are these University Colleges degrees any good? To be very fair, it would be wrong to generalize the quality of these degree certificates. Like universities, there are bound to be the "good" ones as well as the "bad" ones.

But University Colleges face additional problems and complications from a different dimension which will add "extra" challenges for them to prove their worth and quality.

  • Track Record : While local public universities have a track record to speak of, which means we can quite safely evaluate them, there is no track record of University Colleges for the purposes of evaluation. Students taking the University Colleges option, are to a certain extent taking a risk as there are no hard evidence to judge the quality and outcome of the UC degree programme.

  • Profit motivated : University Colleges are profit motivated. Compared to other private universities such as MMU and UTAR, where profit may not be the main motivating factor in the provision of higher education, profit is a major element of consideration at University Colleges. Many of these University Colleges are owned by large conglomerates such as Sunway, Selangor Properties, L&G, Sapura etc., who are beholden public shareholders who are only interested in the investment returns. Some of the head of these schools are called CEOs.

    And as we all know, excessive focus on profitability and a management focused on short term performance will result in substantially poorer quality of education. A college overly focused on lowering cost will end up with weaker lecturers who are paid less, and poorer facilities. Conversely, if they are overly aggressive in increasing revenue, students of all shapes and sizes (figuratively speaking) will be admitted and awarded degrees.

In addition, if the candidates are seeking to pursue their education overseas after their first degree, their choice of postgraduate universities is likely to be limited as these University Colleges are unlikely to have their degrees recognized out of Malaysia at this time.