12 Jul 2013 11:19

KUCHING, July 11 (Bernama) -- New Zealand's University of Canterbury (UC) is keen to establish linkages with local universities in Sarawak, especially post-graduates from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) to undertake doctoral (PhD) programmes in the engineering field, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu said today.

He said UC was expected to sign a memorandum of understanding that would cover student and faculty exchanges as well research collaboration, with Unimas soon, especially those involving civil and structural as well as power engineering joint programmes.

"Way back in the 1950s, the New Zealand government was a contributing country to the Colombo Plan scholarship, giving opportunities for students in developing countries to study there and I was one of them, who studied at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch in the early sixties," he told reporters after receiving a courtesy call from UC vice-chancellor Dr Rod Carr at his office at Wisma Bapa Malaysia, Petra Jaya here.

After over 50 years of association with New Zealand, he said, about 40 percent of Malaysian graduates from that country were Sarawakians while there were about 2,000 UC alumini in the state, including 400 in Kuching at present.

Meanwhile, Dr Carr said the university was also looking at study abroad opportunities for Malaysian students from Sarawak besides funding students from Unimas for PhD programmes, which are being subsidised by about 70 percent, in terms of tuition costs, by the New Zealand government for both international and domestic students.



He said many of UC's graduates today were holding senior positions in business and government in Malaysia, including in Sarawak, where its alumini also provided some fundings for those seeking studies at the university with some limited number of scholarships available.

In providing young Malaysians a world class education, he said, the university was recently ranked 21st in civil and structural engineering in the world and among the top 100 world ranking for various disciplines.