There are approximately 20 public universities, 24 polytechnics, 37 public community colleges, 33 private universities, five foreign university branch campuses and about 500 private colleges in Malaysia. Each starts with a different position, with different circumstances and budgetary pressures,
different student bases and subject strengths. Some see their core priorities in the local areas and focus on teaching and learning. Others strive to excel at research with places high up on regional and international league. There is also a considerable focus on both regional and international opportunities with many institutions of higher learning attempting to enter new markets-aimed at attracting greater numbers of students from overseas.

In 2016, the ASLI Malaysian Education Summit identified several key issues
facing the higher education sector. One year later, new challenges have emerged with a new geo-political climate with the rising of protectionism, Trump’s administration, the weakening of the ringgit, and the rise of China. It seems timely to revisit these issues and set out what the sector must tackle in the coming months and years.

The Malaysian higher education sector remains a fundamental socio-economic sector, and the education business provides a major stream of income to the 
national GDP. To retain this and to be able to win the global race, it must attempt to transform and mould those challenges to its advantage.


It in this context that this annual summit will gather policy makers and practitioners from the government agencies, both public and private schools, colleges, universities, NGOs, think-tank, private sectors, and media to discuss how best to address key challenges resulting from the changing global and national environment, as well as to realise Malaysia’s ambition to become a knowledge-based economy.