By Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 07, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 Malaysia will face another brain-drain threat when some of the worlds best-ranked universities descend here this Wednesday to lure more local talent abroad, London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) cautioned today.
The data-gathering firm predicted Malaysian students will be taking the opportunity to study abroad during the QS World University Tour, which will see universities offer them attractive education packages aimed at addressing their financial concerns.
With approximately 80,000 Malaysian students studying overseas, the country may be seeing signs of brain drain as an increasing number of students are looking overseas to pursue their higher education in Germany, France, the UK and other EU countries, QS public relations head Simona Bizzozero said in a media release today.
The release noted that the universities recognise the students financial concerns in receiving overseas education and are ready to offer them scholarships and practical advice on how to apply for different aid schemes.
Parents and students will also have the chance to have in-depth conversations with the various schools, QS said.
It described the QS World University Tour as a unique platform which allows potential undergraduate students to meet representatives from some of the worlds best-ranked universities.
Malaysia is already facing a major brain-drain crisis with the World Bank warning recently that the haemorrhage of local talent here would likely intensify over the years and further erode the countrys already narrow skills base.
Its senior economist Philip Schellekens had said the number of skilled Malaysians living abroad tripled in the last two decades with two ou! t of eve ry 10 Malaysians with tertiary education opting to leave for either OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries or Singapore.
According to the World Bank Economic Monitor, the brain-drain crisis is depriving Malaysia of talent, and accounts for a third of the countrys one-million strong diaspora. Singapore alone has absorbed 57 per cent of these departing educated workers.
Quoting TopUniversities.com editor Danny Byrne today, QS said that the internationalisation of higher education has seen a growing trend of Malaysian students seeking foreign education, despite Malaysia having over 35 universities.
With such great interest in obtaining an overseas degree, the worlds top universities are intensifying their recruitment of talented Malaysian students for their institutions this year, Byrne added.
The Najib administration has been scrambling to plug the countrys talent leak and recently established Talent Corp under the Prime Ministers Department to initiate and facilitate initiatives aimed at wooing local talent back to the country.
Talent Corp has rolled out two programmes. One is a long-term residents pass for skilled foreigners and former Malaysians. The other is the Returning Experts Programme, which aims to woo Malaysian professionals abroad with incentives such as a low tax rate. The latter scheme has stirred some interest.
The measures, covering the period from 2011 to 2015, are aimed at fulfilling the countrys long-standing goal of becoming a developed nation by 2020. At present, only 23 per cent of Malaysias current work force is highly skilled. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said this number must rise to 37 per cent by 2015 if it is to become a developed nation by 2020.