Malaysia is exploring research and academic collaboration with Qatar to foster various educational exchange programmes.
Speaking to the media in Doha on Sunday, Malaysia’s Education Minister Dr Maszlee bin Malik said they want to apply the “2+2 programme”, giving Qatari students the option to study two years in Malaysia and two years in Qatar to finish their degrees.
“I spoke with Qatar University and Qatar’s Minister of Education and Higher Education about the possibility of having a joint programme, for example, (students will spend) two years in Malaysia, and two years in Qatar,” he said.
Qatari researchers can also do their research and spend time for holidays while staying in Malaysia and then spend their remaining years, for example, in Georgetown University, Texas A&M, or Weill Cornell Medicine in Qatar.
The Malaysian Minister met with Qatar Foundation (QF) vice chairperson and CEO HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani, and HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Mohamed bin Abdul Wahed al-Hammadi Sunday to discuss issues of common interest, including scientific research, aimed at further strengthening ties in the field of education.
Sheikha Hind, according to Malik, also hinted plans of bringing Paris Saint-Germain Academy football programmes to Malaysia, in co-operation with Qatar.
Citing some agreements with a number of universities in the UK and the UK government as well for the “2+2 programme”, he said they also mull opening satellite campuses or departments of Malaysian universities in Doha, instead of establishing fully operational educational institutions.
Such model, he noted, worked well with countries like Japan and a few others, and hopes to be successful in Qatar.
“Students come to Malaysia to spend some time because they would learn something from Malaysian experience, its diversity, it is not a homogenous society, it is multi-religious, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual,” he said. “It makes Malaysia a favourite destination for everybody, and it is a lifetime experience for most students coming to our country.”
However, Malik stressed that the aim is not only to entice Qatari and other students from other countries to study in Malaysia but also make it as a leading destination for exchange programmes.
Noting that Qatar has a huge interest in scientific research, he encouraged Qatari researchers to spend their time in Malaysia for their work.
Malaysia is also working with QF on ways to help dilapidated schools in rural areas in Malaysia which need electric and clean water supply, he added.
“QF has voiced their interest in assisting us for that. We would like to thank Sheikha Hind and QF, we are closely working with them to make this a reality,” Malik said.
About the relations between Qatar and Malaysia in the field of education, he described it as “very promising and we are creating a new history for both countries.”
“We are also looking at the possibility of having a centre for leadership and development here for Dr Mahathir bin Mohamed, the Malaysian Prime Minister. We are looking at any university here who like that centre, to train leaders and diplomats, and also researchers not only from Qatar but also from all over the world that are carrying some kind of thoughts and also aspirations from our PM,” Malik added.