USM strives to become top international student destination
23 Aug 2021
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has recorded more than twofold rise in the number of international student admissions despite the COVID19 pandemic.
Its vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Faisal Rafiq Mahamd Adikan said the number of international student admissions to USM increased to 1,086 students from January to August this year, compared to 338 students in the same period in 2020.
“Various methods have been used by USM to ensure there is an increase in the number of international student admissions, including diversifying promotional activities on a regular basis and facilitating the online registration process for students.
“USM has also improved the efficiency of its application processing method and optimised various digital communication channels as well as interaction with prospective students such as e-mail, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Short Messaging System (SMS), Wechat, Whatsapp and Zoom,” he told Bernama recently.
Faisal Rafiq also attributed the rise in the number of international student admissions to continuous efforts of the university academics and the cooperation of faculties in ensuring that teaching and learning activities can continue even in a relatively challenging pandemic environment.
Among them were the Institute of Postgraduate Studies (IPS); International Mobility and Collaboration Centre (IMCC); Strategic Corporate Development Office; Academic and International Affairs Division; Student Development Affairs and Alumni Division; Usains Holdings Sdn Bhd; Research and Innovation Division; as well as the USM Sustainability and Institutional Development Division.
Also contributing to USM’s success were various external parties including Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) and the Immigration Department, Faisal Rafiq said.
Meanwhile, USM deputy vice-chancellor (Academic and International Affairs) Prof Datuk Dr Narimah Samat said since the pandemic hit the country in March last year, USM has adopted the blended learning approach that involves a combination of offline (face-to-face learning) and online teaching and learning according to the needs as well as suitability of international students.
She said that for higher degree programmes, the highest number of international students was from China, Jordan, Iraq, Nigeria and Pakistan.
“Among the international students’ choices of field of study are Management, Education, Computer Science, English for Professionals, and Arts,” she said.
Narimah said USM had also intensified efforts to promote research-based courses and programmes among international students virtually, especially for Arts, Humanities, Management and other fields that were less affected by the implementation of Movement Control Order.
“The University also took advantage of the ‘lockdown’ period of its science and engineering laboratories in several identified faculties by upgrading the existing space and equipment, in order to provide a conducive and best learning environment as well as to attract international students to continue their studies at USM,” she added.
USM Strategic Corporate Development Office director Sabri Said said the university would ensure that it becomes the choice destination for foreign students seeking higher education through international collaboration with various strategic partners in addition to offering academic programmes abroad.
“This proactive effort is also to ensure that USM remains competitive and becomes the destination of choice for international students to pursue their studies at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels,” he said.