Visa Crunch

Malaysian Students Are Looking To Study Locally Post-Covid-19: Study

The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the Study Abroad industry. High school graduates applying to foreign colleges and universities are dealing with an unprecedented case of having their educational milestone hamstrung by a global pandemic that isn’t disappearing anytime soon.

Source: The World Bank

For Malaysian students, the pandemic has directly altered their decision-making in applying to universities. A study conducted by Cambridge International’s annual Destinations Survey found Malaysian students now prefer local colleges and universities, instead of going abroad.

The UK and Australia come in second and third respectively, while interest in US universities wanes due to high Covid-19 infection rates, the study reports.

Going local: Malaysian students prefer home institutions when applying to universities
The survey examined 300 Cambridge schools from 55 countries to map how a tumultuous year has affected students’ choice of higher education. Unsurprisingly, a common thread in decisive factors echoes among learners worldwide: health concerns, financial costs, and travel restrictions.

For Malaysian students, a significant 60% of respondents nominated local institutions as a good value-for-money educational investment.

“Before the pandemic, Cambridge International AS and A Level students in Malaysia would progress to traditional destinations such as the UK, the US, Australia and Singapore,” Ben Schmidt, the Regional Director of Southeast Asia and Pacific at Cambridge International, was quoted saying in a press release accompanying the report.

Now, the tides have turned towards local shores. Financial hardship spurred by the recent economic downturn leaves students scrambling for cost-effective alternatives to their study plans.

With five universities listed in the top 500 schools worldwide according to the QS World University Rankings, opting for Malaysian institutions is a prudent move for local students to cut costs without sacrificing the quality of their education.

Financial woes aside, safety concerns over health risks and travel restrictions contribute to students’ shifting choices. “Many students are avoiding universities in the US due to high Covid-19 rates,” says Schmidt. When the pandemic raged with cases numbering in hundreds of thousands daily, some Malaysian students in the US returned home as soon as they could to prioritise their wellbeing.

There are additional problems of travel restrictions and visa nightmares to contend with. Countries like Australia, China and Japan have enacted some of the harshest border policies to foreigners throughout the pandemic, leaving many new and existing students stranded abroad.

Combined with rising tuition fees for international students, many are questioning whether they’re getting their money’s worth, especially with the prospect of more virtual learning as soaring Omicron-related infections hit several countries.

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