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Higher Education in Malaysia  >  Universities in Malaysia  >  Transnational Education

Transnational Education (TNE) programmes
Transnational Education (TNE) programmes

UK transnational education (TNE) programmes have been established in Malaysia for close to 30 years.
Popular TNE programmes include 3+0, 2+1, and 1+2 degree programmes.
Monitored by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) in the UK and the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), TNE programmes are trusted internationally.

The establishment of a transnational model for Malaysian private higher education was spurred by the global economic crisis. During the mid-1980s, the global recession caused a major set-back to Malaysia's rapid economic growth. The responsibility of financing students studying abroad became a heavy burden for many families and the government in Malaysia.

Many of the students studying abroad were brought home and placed in local institutions. The sudden inflow of students caused a demand for places in higher education. To resolve this issue, the government started encouraging local private institutions to explore TNE programmes with foreign universities.

Taylor's University as an example
Many Malaysian Higher Education Institutions are now venturing overseas themselves and offering TNE in other countries.

Taylor's University as an example of being a 'Global Hybrid TNE Model’ as the University not only offering their own degrees in Malaysia, but links to TU from overseas, validate degrees offered by institutions in other countries.

Taylor's College was the original TNE pioneer in Malaysia back in 1968. But evolved significantly since then, offering a diverse range of global inbound and outbound TNE programmes.

More about Taylor's University

Early birds
In response to the government's appeal, KDU College joined forces with Middlesex University to offer the first British twinning programme in Malaysia. By the early 1990s the number of private colleges had increased from 20 (in 1985) to 227.

The economic boom in the mid-1990s generated a huge demand for human resources in new industries such as services, trades and the manufacturing sectors. In 1992, polytechnics in the UK were promoted to new university status. Soon after, a consortium of four colleges, namely the Workers Institute of Technology, KBU International College, Megatech Institute and Linton College were formed to offer Higher National Diploma engineering courses in partnership with Nottingham Trent University. All courses were accredited by the Business Technical Education Council (BTEC) in the UK.

Transnational transition
Twinning in Malaysia started with 1 +2 programmes: the first year of the degree studied locally, while the latter two years of studies were completed overseas. By 1993, 2+1 twinning programmes emerged. Colleges also started offering full courses in engineering and business. These courses were known as Graduate Diploma Programmes, as private colleges were not allowed to award full degrees at the time. These catered for students who could not afford twinning programmes that required them to continue their studies overseas.

By the late 1990s, most colleges were developing into comprehensive course delivery institutions, offering academic, professional, semi-professional and internal programmes. New forms of transnational programmes such as credit transfer, twinning and validated courses emerged soon after. Some local colleges started providing internal programmes that were recognized by overseas universities, allowing students to transfer credits to partnering institutions.


Paradigm shift

In 1996, the Private Higher Education Act liberalized and privatized higher education. However in 1997, the country was hit by the Asian financial crisis and the government had to withdraw undergraduate scholarships for overseas studies. Soon there was a surge in student enrolment in local universities. Once again, the government urged private institutions to expand and foreign universities were invited to open local branches.

The price for exit visas was also increased along with the cancellation of tax rebates for parents supporting children studying abroad. To accommodate more students, places in public universities were expanded from 45,000 in 1997 to 84,000 places by 1999 through the franchising of matriculation programmes. 3+0 degree programmes were soon introduced in 19 colleges, allowing students to complete their entire twinning course locally.

By the late 1990s, most of the engineering courses under the 3+0 degree programmes were affiliated to UK universities. British engineering courses became highly popular, taking only three years to complete compared to other local and foreign degrees, which typically took up to four years. To date the Ministry has approved a number of colleges to offer 3+0 degree programmes, with at least 33 of these institutions affiliated to UK universities.

The popularity of 3+0 degree programmes has increased consistently among Malaysian students throughout the years. This is borne out by the fact the UK is the leading provider of TNE programmes in Malaysia, with more than 40,000 students enrolled in more than 800 courses. Such is the popularity that, of the countries that offer TNE programmes, Malaysia has become one of the largest providers.

Thanks in no small part to this, Malaysia is quickly becoming an international education hub, which is tempting a lot of the country's youth to stay and educate themselves at home while encouraging overseas students to come and study here. Then, they can qualify with a UK degree and get their `international' education experience as an added bonus.

Undergraduate Programmes
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There are 5,000 colleges throughout Malaysia offering diploma courses


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