Until September, a total of 16,991 international students have enrolled in public institutions of higher learning (IPTAs) to pursue their first degree and post-graduate courses in the country, the Dewan Rakyat was told Wednesday.

Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Hou Kok Chung said 11,376 of them were post-graduate students while 5,615 were pursuing their bachelors degree.

“The international students are self-funded or have received scholarships from their respective countries and the private sector. The Malaysian government is sponsoring 101 students through the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme Scholarship, the Commonwealth Scholarship and the Malaysian International Scholarship for Undergraduate Studies,” he said.

He was replying to Dr Che Rosli Che Mat (PAS-Hulu Langat) who wanted to know the number of international students studying in the IPTAs, whether the entry requirements were the same for tem as for local students and how their studies were being funded.

Hou said all IPTAs were given the right to decide on their own terms and criteria in accepting international students for their graduate and post-graduate programmes.

“However, the general requirement is at least a pass in six subjects in the International Baccalaureate (IB), while for masters programmes, they also need to have a degree that is recognised by the IPTA they are applying to,” he said.

Answering another question from Che Rosli regarding the government focusing on research that could be commercialised, Hou said the ministry had set up four research universities so that more research could be carried out.

“We feel strongly about this and hope that research findings could be developed for the benefit of us all,” he said.