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UK degrees in Malaysia meet both local employment needs and UK standards

Date: April 20 - 2020

A review by the UK's Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), working with the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), has found that UK degrees offered in Malaysia are generally both relevant to the local market and employment needs, and meet the expectations of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education.

Malaysia is the second-largest host country for UK transnational education (TNE), and UK degree-awarding bodies are the main TNE providers in the country as a whole, with over 50% of all non-local programmes leading to a UK degree.

Vicki Stott, Executive Director of Operations, QAA, said: 'This is really positive news for the sector and highlights how UK TNE provision in Malaysia provides students with a high-quality experience. It's been achieved through an investment in staff development; effective communication and partnership relations; and recognition of the local context. These qualities will support UK TNE provision as it moves into a post-pandemic world.'

UK higher education in Malaysia is a success story for UK universities, for Malaysia as a country, and most importantly, for students taking UK degrees in the country. As the largest provider of non-local education, UK universities have shown that it is possible to deliver for Malaysian employment needs and meet the rigorous standards of the UK Quality Code.

Our review identified a number of themes for reflection - such as the inclusion of the student voice - across the branch campus, franchise and validated dual awards provision.

As higher education globally adjusts to the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining the UK's commitment to high-quality TNE is important in order to continue delivering for students. We are developing advice to support the sector's response.

Prabha Sundram, Head Education (Malaysia), British Council, said: 'This review of UK TNE in Malaysia undertaken by QAA provided an excellent platform to engage and collaborate with key stakeholders in the higher education and quality assurance sectors in Malaysia, and gather salient information on how quality and standards are maintained at every level of UK TNE delivery. The information in this comprehensive report provides valuable baseline data that needs to be jointly considered when analysing the post-COVID-19 implications on UK TNE provision in Malaysia, and will subsequently aid us in co-creating mutually beneficial ways of supporting the TNE sector throughout this rapidly evolving situation, and beyond.'

Khairul Salleh bin Mohamed Sahari, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Malaysian Qualifications Agency, said: 'This engagement marks another significant milestone for the long-standing partnership between the two agencies in the area of external quality assurance of higher education since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in 2012. Both agencies are fully committed to strategically work together towards enhancing the quality of higher education in Malaysia and the UK within respective legal mandates, quality assurance policies and frameworks.'

As the UK's quality experts, QAA has conducted over 45 country reviews of the UK's transnational education. This successful review in Malaysia is the most recent example. Between October 2019 and January 2020, QAA, working together with UUK and GuildHE, carried out a joint consultation to help inform our future TNE work - Future Approaches to the External Quality Enhancement of UK Higher Education Transnational Education. Following publication of the results and analysis this year, there will be further consultation with the sector on the proposals arising from the survey.

How to access the outputs from this work

There are three parts to the analysis we conducted in Malaysia:

Our assessment of TNE in Malaysia, alongside 12 institutional reviews. This is publicly available on the QAA website, in the Transnational Education Review section.

An in-depth country analysis, looking at key policy drivers, the Malaysian higher education landscape, the regulatory framework, and a broad look at the transnational education picture in country. This is available exclusively for QAA Members in our Membership Resources site.

Seven case studies led by providers themselves. These are available exclusively for QAA International Insights Members in our Membership Resources site.

Read our blog

QAA’s Accreditation and International Services Delivery Officer, Piers Wall, talks more about TNE in Malaysia and the challenge ahead for UK TNE providers in our blog.