KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Putrajaya should give public universities the freedom to determine the rate of their own tuition fees, IDEAS Chief Executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan said today.
“It is most ideal to grant universities the freedom to determine their own fees. Universities will then be able to set their fees at a reasonable amount and they can survive on their own as well.
“So, this is really important for universities. The government don’t know what the universities plan to do,” Wan Saiful said during the “National Higher Education Conference 2017” by IDEAS at the Sime Darby Convention Centre (SDCC).
Wan Saiful added that the concept of financial autonomy, as explained by the European Universities Association, is about universities having the freedom to set their own fees.
“It doesn’t need to be 100 per cent revenue generated by the university.
“The government still can continue with its subsidies. But, let universities decide how much its fees should cost.”
Wan Saiful said that private wings and companies set up under public universities to raise revenue must be administered appropriately.
“They need to be set up as a proper company with a full annual audit report and they must compete in the real world.”
He emphasised that it was imperative for public universities to tender contracts publicly instead of awarding it exclusively to its own subsidiary companies.
“That is indirect leakage in a sense because universities don’t know whether they are paying the right value for a service.
“If it’s tendered publicly, maybe they can get a cheaper company to deliver.”
He added that financial autonomy in universities was not only about raising revenue, but about the freedom for universities to spend its funds independently.
“But as you can see, government control is quite wide-ranging when it comes to how universities spent their money.
“It goes without saying that public universities in Malaysia are quite reliant on government funding. We know that 70 to 80 per cent of the funds comes from the government.”