Students who want to further their studies in Sarawak can opt for one of various universities (public and private), university colleges, colleges and other tertiary institutions such as polytechnics and vocational schools.
While most of them are concentrated in cities like Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri, there are others available in rural areas, especially for those who are unable to afford a move far away from their homes.
You ought to know that when selecting which tertiary institution to attend, ensure that you check the institution’s SETARA and MyQuest ratings, as well as its course accreditation. These ratings are developed by the Malaysian Government to ensure that the education provided in these institutions are of high quality.
Public institutions can be divided into three major categories: public universities, polytechnics and community colleges, and public colleges. Public universities offer undergraduate and postgraduate programmes; some also offer pre-university foundation courses and diplomas.
Polytechnics, community colleges and public colleges usually offer programmes at diploma and certificate level.
Examples of public institutions in Sarawak include Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Sarawak and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Bintulu Campus.
Public universities often offer low tuition fees and accept a larger pool of applicants, which means larger faculties and choices of courses and degrees.
In contrast, although private institutes offer all levels of programmes, they tend cost much higher than their public counterparts.
Private universities that can found in Sarawak include Open University Malaysia, UCSI University Sarawak Campus and UNITAR International University Regional Centre Kuching.
University colleges, such as University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS) and International College of Advanced Technology Sarawak (i-CATS), differ from traditional universities in that they usually have smaller campuses and lower student numbers.
They also have fewer faculties and courses available, but have a higher focus on undergraduate programmes instead of postgraduate ones.
For those who wish to enrol in foreign universities without wanting to go overseas, Sarawak offers two reputable branch universities from Australia: Curtin University in Miri and Swinburne University of Technology in Kuching. These universities offer programmes that are identical in structure and content to their home campuses.
Enrolling at branch campuses of foreign universities offer good value for money, as you save on tuition fees and living costs while obtaining the same qualifications as those studying at home campuses abroad.
Private colleges, like SEGI College Sarawak, Sunway College Kuching and Kolej Laila Taib, do not have the power to award a degree, but are allowed to award qualifications from other institutions.
Some colleges also offer qualifications from professional bodies such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB).
Technical and vocational education training (TVET) institutions, such as Centre of Technical Excellence Sarawak (CENTEXS) and Sarawak Skills Development Centre (PPKS), includes formal and informal training with a focus on acquiring practical skills that can be applied in many industries.
TVET programmes are offered at certificate, diploma and degree levels by seven ministries that include the Ministry Of Higher Education.
Photo from UNIMAS Holdings.