Category Archives: Education

M’sian education sector set for next boom phase

M’sian education sector set for next boom phase
Posted on November 27, 2010, Saturday

KUALA LUMPUR: While the property sector now is in a flurry of consolidation through mergers and acquisitions, kicked off by UEM Land Bhd’s acquisition of Sunrise Bhd, followed swiftly by the just announced mergers of MRCB Bhd with IJM Land Bhd and Sunway Holdings Bhd with Sunway City Bhd, the education sector still remains ‘under the radar’.

MORE STUDENTS: The government is set to intensify its efforts to garner more students from the Middle East, China, Africa and other parts of South East Asia into Malaysia. – Photo from
However, the fast growing private education business in Malaysia, which is currently valued to be worth some RM7.2 billion, seems to be stirring of late.

Ekuiti Nasional Bhd’s (EKUINAS) recent 51 per cent acquisition of APIIT/UCTI Education Group from Sapura Resources Bhd is seen as trailblazer for consolidation in the private education sector.

This is because of more outright acquisitions, mergers and the entry of fresh foreign players in time to come.

“There will be more mergers in the works as education entities that don’t merge may risk being left behind.

“There is urgency for smaller players to bulk up for scale and build up quality as the more renowned and established international players which have made their presence in Malaysia pose healthy competition to the growing market,” said Zakie Ahmad Shariff, chief executive of FA Securities Bhd and a former director of EduCity in Iskandar Malaysia.

This is more so as education has been identified as one of 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs), with private education leading the

charge in catapulting Malaysia into the fastest growing education hub in South East Asia.

Malaysia has already become the 11th largest education exporting country with approximately 90,000 international students from more than 100 countries studying here in various international schools, colleges and universities.

Among the listed educational entities are Sapura Resources, SEG International Bhd, Help International Corp Bhd and Masterskill (M) Education Group Bhd.

Associate Professor Dr Rohaida Mohd Saat of the Faculty of Education, Universiti Malaya, lauded the move by EKUINAS and Sapura, saying, “the time has come for private colleges to merge, so as to gear themselves towards creating scale and meeting the increasing demands of foreign students flocking to Malaysia.”

Professor Dr Saifollah Abdullah from the Faculty of Applied Sciences at Universiti Technologi MARA said the Ekuinas Sapura pact was a perfect example of public-private partnership in the education sector.

The Education NKEA has been targeted to more than double the total gross national income to RM60.7 billion by 2020 from the current RM27.1 million.

Commenting on Malaysia’s attraction as an education destination, Dr Muhammad Azhar Zailani from the Faculty of Education, Universiti Malaya, said this is due to the competitive course fees, wide range of study options, many choices of universities and colleges and the existence of branch overseas university campuses.

“This allows students from different parts of the world to come to Malaysia, acquire prestigious qualifications from well-known universities from the West at an affordable price,” he said.

Aside from quality education, experts cite affordable living expenses, an economically sound and safe country and geographically safe environment as the main factors set to grow the education sector.

The government is set to intensify its efforts to garner more students from the Middle East, China, Africa and other parts of South East Asia into Malaysia.

To further build Malaysia’s participation in the global education sector, the government is also encouraging branch campuses of Malaysian educational institutes to go overseas.

Several Malaysian institutes of higher learning have branches overseas, including UCSI University and Limkokwing University in London.

Dr Muhammad Azhar said educational establishments must look towards merging with other established entities or be part of a larger educational network.

A notable example is INTI Educational Group that was acquired by Laureate International Universities from the United States.

With a presence in 21 countries globally, it has now become a leading educational establishment in the Malaysia as well.

Laureate said the reason why Malaysia was chosen as a preferred destination was its emphasis on infrastructure facilities and the government’s emphasis on developing Malaysia into an education hub.

In recent years, Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya and Nilai have seen the mushrooming of many educational enclaves or precincts, attracting many foreign students in the process.

Malaysian educational players have also acquired smaller players and enlarged their base through listing their business as a way of tapping into greater capital resources as well as increasing student enrolment.

A case in point is HELP International Corporation Bhd and INTI Universal Holdings Bhd.

The listed holding companies of these educational establishments have strong collaboration with various overseas universities and attract many overseas students who want to acquire quality education at a reasonable cost.

Sapura Resources, which until recently held 100 per cent of APIT/UCTI Education, decided to divest 51 per cent of its stake to EKUINAS while holding the remaining 49 per cent along with management rights.

Now it appears both SAPURA and Ekuinas are in a better position to take advantage of the growth prospects of the fast-expanding education sector.

While some were quick to point out that Sapura was divesting from education, other observers argue that Sapura had in fact reinforced its commitment to the sector by getting a partner in order to grow its stake in the business. ­­— Bernama

Bakrie Center & Singapore Set Up Think Tank

"We'll grant 1,000 students with fellowship within the next 10 years"

The Bakrie Professorship in Southeast Asia Policy and Bakrie Graduate Fellowship at S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, will be launched today at the Chinese Heritage Center, Singapore, and is hosted by the RSIS. The faculty is named after the first Singaporean Foreign Affairs Minister and Prime Minister between 1980 and 1985 Sinnathamby Rajaratnam.

In the evening, Chairperson of the Functional Group (Golkar) Party, Aburizal Bakrie, will present a speech entitled "The World in Indonesia, Indonesia in the World." In addition, the Dean of RSIS will also hold an address.

The Bakrie Fellowship and Professorship is prepapred by the Bakrie Center Foundation (BCF) - a non-profit organization established by Bakrie Business Group which focuses on education and researches.

Anindya Novyan Bakrie, founder and chairperson, 36, mentioned that the BCF outlines two programs. First is Bakrie Graduate Fellowship, aimed at masteral degrees. The second program is on policy research institute. Cooperating with RSIS, the Bakrie Professorship for Southeast Asian Studies deals mainly with strategic reseach policies in Southeast Asia.

The institute is not only supported financially by Bakrie Center but also by the Singaporean government. Since the beginning, said Anindya, the endowment fund is in the form of matching fund. The Singaporean government supplies the fund by borrowing one-to-one formula. For every dollar that Bakrie Center contributes, the Singaporean government will give away fund of the same value.

Anindya told reporters, "We donate to the endowment fund by Sin$3 million. The Singaporean government will also share with the same amount." The Bakrie Center is financed by the families of Bakrie instead of taking the budget owned by Bakrie business group.

The Bakrie Graduate Fellowship is granted to students willing to take masteral degrees in either domestic or overseas universities. In Indonesia, Bakrie Center has patched up links with University of Indonesia, Bandung Institute of Technology, Bogor Institute of Agriculture, Gadjah Mada University, Stanford University (United States) and Nanyang Technological University (Singapore).

"We'll grant 1,000 students with fellowship within the next 10 years," said Anindya during a press conference in Singapore, Nov 17.

Around Rp 35-45 million per year will be allocated for domestic grant while an amount of US$50 thousand will be set aside for those willing to take further studies abroad.

Anindya offered a condition for any candidate: "They'll return to Indonesia and build the country."

US wants to be RI’s No. 1 trade partner, Obama says

Erwida Maulia, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 11/10/2010 2:19 AM

US President Barack Obama says he’s not happy that the US is Indonesia's third largest trading and investment partner.

"I've informed [President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] that we don't like to be ‘No. 3’. We want to be No. 1," Obama told a press conference after a meeting with Yudhoyono at the State Palace.

After Obama twice cancelled visits to Jakarta, the two leaders launched a comprehensive partnership on Tuesday.

The agreement covers cooperation in trade and investment, education, energy, climate change and environment, security, democracy and civil society. 

Reading Habits & Poverty


Reading Ambassador (Duta Baca Indonesia), television celebrity Tantowi Yahya said at the proclamation event in Pontianak for the "West Kalimantan Reads" movement that Indonesians were not voracious readers for largely reasons of poverty:

"Above all it's based on economic factors, on whether families can afford to buy books and newspapers."

Poor families would naturally prioritise food, school fees, and school textbooks, over the purchase of recreational reading material.

He suggested two methods to ameliorate the problem:

  • libraries; from the national down to the village level, to enable poor people access to books for free
  • parents, especially mothers, should read in front of their children regularly, to sow an interest in reading in their spawn

Tantowi Yahya
Tantowi Yahya extolling the virtues of reading

However on at least the first point - libraries - Tantowi said Indonesia still had very far to go in providing adequate public facilities, and that most regional government heads had little interest in developing library facilities:

How many local politicians campaign on building up library infrastructure?

There was one bright spot, he said, that being the province of Riau, where the Governor had built a very big and comprehensive public library right next door to his own office building: [1]

The example of Riau has to be followed in other regions.

Reading Habits & Poverty is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.

Chelsea Olivia on Virginity Testing

Every few years in less cosmopolitan and globalised areas of the country the thorny issue of whether girls should undergo a check on their virginity before being allowed to enter high school raises itself, most recently in Jambi, Sumatra.

Local MP Bambang Bayu Suseno, who is from the Partai Amanat Nasional (PAN), asked the question:

Why are girls who lose their virginity allowed to go to public school?

He explained further his proposal for the local parliament to enact a law that would require virginity tests for girls:

The idea is simple. Parents are obviously afraid of their daughters being deflowered before the appropriate time, so before they continue their studies they should undergo a virginity test and thereby automatically protect their dignity.

Chelsea Olivia

Among the many, mostly hostile, reactions to the proposal young actress Chelsea Olivia weighed in, asking [1]

If there's a virginity test, how about a bachelorhood test for boys?

Apart from celebrities like Chelsea Olivia, and more seriously and authoritatively, a Women's Affairs ministry official in Jakarta, Wahyu Hartomo, who is a man, said such tests would violate basic human rights and potentially harm the mental stability of young women. [2]

Chelsea Olivia on Virginity Testing is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book domestic flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesia hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.

Anti-corruption Teaching Materials At Indonesian Schools

Antara News, Tuesday, October 5, 2010 01:51 WIB

Sidoarjo, E Java (ANTARA News) - Education Minister Muhammad Nuh said anti-corruption teaching materials would have officially been taught at Indonesian schools by 2011.

Speaking to newsmen here Sunday, he said these anti-corruption teaching materials were not taught in a special subject but would be inserted into all subjects.

"These anti-corruption teaching materials are like oxygen. They are badly needed though they are not observable. They will exist in all subjects, including mathematics, history, and physics," he said.

Muhammad Nuh said corruption was mainly related to two causing factors, namely human and system.

"Therefore, we must enable our children or our students to avoid any act of corruption since their early ages and save them from the corruption culture," he said.

In the educational field, the facts of corruption culture were noticeable, such as the bad habits of asking friends to do classroom absentees or write theses for their favors, he said.

"All these bad things must be eradicated from our educational life. May the anti-corruption teaching materials will help our generation get rid themselves of corruption and combat it," he said.

Considering the great impacts of corruption on a country, it has then been perceived as an unforgivable extradordinary crime by Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) advisory council leader KH Masdar Farid Mas`udi.

"The impacts of corruption on a country are so extraordinary. Corruption is a big crime that can threaten a country`s life," Mas`udi recently said.

Muhammadiyah Chairman Din Syamsuddin had even urged the government not to give remissions or pardon to convicted corruptors.

"The government must be sensitive to and consider its people`s sufferings. Don`t hurt the people`s sense of justice," he said in response to the release of some convicted corruptors.

The Indonesian people consider corruption as an extraordinary crime against the state and nation.

One of the convicted corruptors who had enjoyed a remission and pardon from the Indonesian president was Syaukani Hassan Rais.

The ailing former head of Kutai Kertanegara district, East Kalimantan Province, had been released.

Related Article:

Indonesian Student Wins International Award for Laser Plasma Research

Ali Khumaeni, an Indonesian student currently studying at Fukui University in Japan, received the highest honor at an international conference on Sept. 17 for his breakthrough in the field of laser plasma spectroscopy.

He accepted the award for the best paper at the 6th International Conference on Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy held in Memphis, Tennessee.

The conference is the biggest in the field of laser plasma spectroscopy, and is held every two years.

It attracts hundreds of postgraduate students, LIBS experts, professors and corporate representatives from the fields of optics, lasers and imaging.

Ali, 27, told the Jakarta Globe in a telephone interview that it had taken two years of research before he was able to finish the winning paper.

“My professor in Fukui suggested that I do a powder analysis.
"We progressed gradually and finally we found the technique on how to use a laser to analyze powder plasma, the first known technique in the world,” Ali said.

He added that many industries had difficulties using laser plasma technology for powder analysis.

“Once powder is exposed to a laser, the material will be ruined, hence the atom cannot be analyzed, but my research has found a way to use the laser properly without ruining the atomic material,” Ali said.
“Now we can analyze, for example, the calcium content in powdered milk or the tiniest particle in face powder.”

Born in Kendal, Central Java, Ali said he that never imagined he would have the opportunity to study in Japan.

“I am a village boy, always have been. My village, Kendal, is a remote area in Central Java. I lived there until I graduated from senior high school because I had to help my parents work. We're not a rich family,” he said.

He first left home to study at state-owned Diponegoro University in Semarang, Central Java's capital.

“I studied physics and I was blessed to have been taught by amazing professors who inspired me to pursue a higher education here [in Japan],” he said.

In 2007, he received a scholarship from the Japanese government to study at Fukui University.

Ali said he would stay in Japan for another three to four years until he received his PhD in physics.

“As soon as I finish my PhD program, I will come back home to Indonesia and see my parents again in the village before deciding what to do next,” he said.

Indonesian Universities Finally Reach the Big League

Two Indonesian universities have finally broken into the top 100 of the best universities in the world in certain subjects, but none have made it into the top 200 overall.

The University of Indonesia is ranked 95th in the Social Sciences category of the 2010 QS World University Rankings, one of the leading lists of schools.

Yogyakarta’s Gadjah Mada University (UGM) is the next best Indonesian school in the category, at number 131, followed by the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Surabaya’s Airlangga University, and the University of Brawijaya in Malang.

In the Technology and Engineering category, ITB made it into the top 100, coming in at 93. ITB was also the highest-ranked Indonesian university in the Natural Sciences category, while UI led the others in the Arts and Humanities, as well as Life Sciences and Medicine.

The QS World University Rankings’ subject-based tables are based on an academic survey completed by more than 15,000 academics, including 700 university leaders.

Harvard University, which topped last year’s rankings, is second this year, pipped by Cambridge, last year’s runner-up.

Yale University is third, while the University College London and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology round out the top five.

University of Indonesia will have the world largest library

University of Indonesia (UI) Rector Prof Gumilar Rusliwa Somantri said that his campus will have the world largest library earlier next year. ‘’The library which build in 33,000 m2 of land will have six millions books.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will inaugurate the library next May 2, 2011, in commemorate of the Educations Days,’’ he said.Gumilar said, the cost to build the library about Rp 200 billion (US$ 220 million). ‘’We build the library with the University mission smart education for smart society, " Gumilar added.

‘Women Can Be Nice With You’

The woeful English speaking skills of Indonesian beauty pageant contestants.

Miss Indonesia 2009 (Putri Indonesia) Qory Sandioriva, during the "Get to know" interview stage of the Miss Universe 2010 grand final being held in Las Vegas, Nevada, was asked what wise womanly advice she had for men, in general it seems, responding:

I think that when you down the women can make you up, and I think that women can be said that "I have advice for you" that if you way up, you have to be nice to people, include the women, so when you down, women can be nice with you

Her words have raised painful memories of 2006 Miss Universe contestant Nadine Chandrawinata's "Indonesia is a beautiful city" fiasco, and again caused concerned commentators to wonder at the consistently poor standard of English among Indonesian beauty pageant winners.

Watch the rest of her stammering, confusing responses:

And Nadine in 2006:

Qory is no stranger to beat-up, storm in a teacup controversy, having been said to have caused anger among Acehnese Muslims in October 2009 when she won the Miss Indonesia contest representing the Verandah of Mecca, shamelessly unbejilbabed.

‘Women Can Be Nice With You’ is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book domestic flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesia hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.