More East Kalimantan students to study here
Sarawak Tribune - Wednesday, 9 July 2003

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KUCHING - Private colleges and foreign varsity branch-campuses can look forward to an influx of students from East Kalimantan by the next stake.

The news with the heading Malaysia Tawar Pengajian Tinggi Murah' (Malaysia offering cheaper education) goes to the front page of 'Tribun Kaltim', a leading newspaper in the province one day after the Sarawak trade delegation arrived on Thursday.

Comparing the quality of educa­tion offered in Sarawak and the costs at parents have to pay sending their children to America, Europe or Australia the paper quoted East Kalimantan vice governor predicting at more students would be Sarawak-bound soon.

The paper's editorial placed on second page (which is also a busi­ness page) with headline `Selamat tang Sarawak' commented on Sarawak's great business sense. It congratulated Minister of Tourism Dato Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg for diversifying when bringing in a team comprising of businessmen, health­care, education, aviation and tourism industry players.

Swinburne Institute of Technology chief operating officer Mohamad Abdul Rahman when met during one of their sales calls said the college's advantage was on the brand­ing.

"We are selling an internationally renowned varsity, not just a college," he said.

He added that Swinburne was one of the four foreign varsity branch campuses in the country, apart from Curtin University in Miri, and Monash and Nottingham University in Kuala Lumpur.

With the institute set to have its' varsity status approved by the end of the year, Mohamad is confident that they will be able to attract some East Kalimantan students.

"We will do some follow-up with the local agents to recruit students from here," he said, adding that reno­vation works cost some RM50 mil­lion were being carried out to further improve facilities at Swinburne.

Echoing Mohamad's view was Chairman of Curtin University Board of Management Lee Kim Shin who was confident that the universi­ty would be well accepted by students from the local ethnic Chinese com­munity in East Kalimantan.

"Lee said Curtin should not have problem attracting students from East Kalimantan as the incomes of the people in the province were rather high.

"They used to send their children to America, Europe, Australia or New Zealand. Now with the avail­ability of a foreign varsity branch campus in Sarawak, it will be to their advantage.

"It will be much nearer to their home and they can always visit the children with the availability of the direct flights between Kuching and Balikpapan," he added.

Sharing similar views was Managing Director of New Zealand Centre Sdn Bhd Rodger Chan, who pointed out that Sarawak had the advantage of not only attracting eth­nic Chinese students from East Kalimantan but also students from China.

"We have signed an agreement with NZ Christchurch Polytechnic Institute in March and is looking for­ward to make Sarawak a centre of excellence for Food and Hospitality Industry training.

"By the virtue of being in the mid­dle of the route between NZ and China, we have the advantage of having their students here trained either in Chinese or English," added Roger.

The advisor of Inti College Sarawak Dato Sri Safri Zaidel revealed that Inti was already catering to some 400 stu­dents from Kalimantan.

"Majority of those on board the first flight to Kuching are actually Inti College students," he said, adding that Inti had a branch in Jakarta and in time would be setting up branches in both East and West Kalimantan.