By William Isau
SIBU, Aug 4: University of Technology Sarawak’s (UTS) target of 4,000 students by 2024 is not farfetched and might even be achieved much earlier if its current intake is anything to go by.
“We have already broken its university students admission record since its establishment 10 years ago. Some 750 students have already begun their studies while another 265 are scheduled to enter next September,” said UTS chairman, Dr Annuar Rapaee.
Speaking to reporters after the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony between UTS and Hock Peng Group today, Dr Annuar said if the institution could accept between 1,200 to 1,400 students per year, achieving the target is not far away.
Dr Annuar who is also the Deputy Minister for Education, Innovation, and Talent Development highlighted factors behind the increase in student intake.
“The scholarship scheme provided by the State government is one of the factors which triggered the drastic increase in the number of students in UTS. The UTS Scholarship Scheme helps to reduce 80 per cent of tuition fees for Sarawakians in the B40 and M40 categories. It is for a total of 100 Bumiputera students and 100 non-Bumiputera students per year,” he said.
With the larger student population now, he said the university would need to increase its facilities.
“When the number of students increases, of course, UTS will face various issues including in terms of facilities, academic staff, and also hostels. I am very concerned about this matter because UTS provides opportunities for students who are unable to continue their studies at a Public Higher Education Institution (IPTA),” he added.
Dr Annuar said he had emphasised to the Premier of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, and the Vice Chancellor of UTS, Professor Datuk Dr Khairuddin Abdul Hamid that UTS needs to provide sufficient facilities especially for less able students.
Also present at the function were Hock Peng Organisation managing director, Datuk Toh Chew Hock, Deputy Managing Director, and Pemanca Datuk Dr Francis Toh Chiew Peng. — DayakDaily