GEORGE TOWN (june 19, 2008): By Himanshu Bhatt
Several foreign educational institutions have expressed interest in opening schools and colleges here.
Deputy Chief Minister (II) Prof Dr P Ramasamy told reporters today institutions from India, South Korea and Europe have made site visits to assess the possibility of setting up campuses here.
Representatives from an international school from India had come with officials from the Indian High Commission yesterday.The school, which has a centre in Kuala Lumpur, is willing to look at Penang as a possible site due to the large number of expatriates and Indians here.
Ramasamy told reporters this when announcing the Penang Education, Training and Career Expo 2008 to be held in Penang on Dec 20 and 21.
Also present was Social Economic and Research Institute (SERI) chairman Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon, who is the event’s organising chairman.
Ramasamy added that an agricultural university in the Netherlands involved in food production had also expressed interest to open a campus in Penang, while a school in South Korea is considering setting up a centre here.
"I have linked them up with state agencies that can help them in this matter," he said.
Currently, there are five international schools in Penang.
Ramasamy said while the course approval would be given by the Education Ministry, the state government would look into availability of land and buildings for the institutions.
"We need to give them necessary confidence and information so they can make a choice," he said.
Ramasamy also said many private colleges in Penang offered scholarships, which the public were not aware of.
He said students should be exposed to financial aid schemes to make private education more available, especially for those who excel.
"Why should private colleges be the domain of the rich and well-to-do? We have to bridge the gap," he added.