International Higher Education

The rise of Malaysia: Growth in international students

Aaron Porter takes a close look at inbound overseas student growth in Malaysia in 2015 to 2016 using Hotcourses International data.

The first destination country report from Hotcourses details the exponential rise of Malaysia as a popular destination for international students. As a country, Malaysia has already seen rapid growth in international student numbers. It went from 28,000 overseas students in 2002, to 135,000 in 2014, and now has plans to reach 250,000 by 2025 as set out by their Higher Education Blueprint 2015 – 2025 launched by Prime Minister Najib Razak.

This report is informed by the Hotcourses Insights Tool, which captures 23 million annual searches by prospective international students every year, and allows users to gain a robust and detailed understanding into emerging trends among international students in real time while they are searching and applying. It is therefore valuable to the sector, offering an indication of numbers before the point of enrolment.

For those international students looking to study in Malaysia, the key subject areas that are being searched for are; Business & Management (20.1%), Health & Medicine (18.4%) and Engineering (14.1%).

There is a prominent Eastern hemisphere skew, as well as countries with high Muslim populations taking a particularly strong interest in being international student in Malaysia, with the most popular countries where searches are being conducted from being; Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and India.

The data in the report is taken from January 2015 through to January 2016, which means it provides incredibly timely information considering the impact of rising interest in Malaysia.

Hotcourses Director of Insights, and author of the report, Aaron Porter, said: “This report provides the most in-depth and timely detail on emerging demand for international study in Malaysia. As a destination country, Malaysia is perhaps the most intriguing of any on the planet. They have seen quite extraordinary growth since 2002, and by 2025 could well be a contender to break into the established cohort of countries which dominate international student destinations; namely the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Their attraction to countries in the Eastern hemisphere, as well as to countries with significant young Muslim populations, means that Malaysia can continue to be confident that demand will continue to grow over the coming years. I am delighted that we are able to add unique insights to those keen to learn more about the country. Universities across the globe, we will want to better understand demand for Malaysia and how this may have an impact for your local circumstances.”

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