KUALA LUMPUR: Botswana will continue to send its students to Malaysia for higher education despite having two of its students allegedly committing suicide several months after settling down here.
Botswana’s Education Minister Jacob Nkate said the two specific cases could not be the reason for the country to stop sending government-sponsored students here.
“We send the students here because the medium of instruction is English, and Malaysia is a free, liberal country,” Nkate said, adding that the country sends about 7,000 students overseas each year.
Up till June 30, there were 1,635 Botswana students in institutions of higher learning in Malaysia.
Nkate is in town to meet with Botswana students here to find out more about the students who died.
His delegation also met Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Idris Haron yesterday to discuss the issue.
Idris suggested that Botswana set up an office here to look into the welfare of its students.
According to a report in an African news portal, four Botswana students died in Malaysia this year in car accidents and two fell from the balconies of their apartment after drinking alcohol.
Yesterday, The Star reported that some Botswana students felt they were being unfairly treated in Malaysia, and some of them had claimed they had to put up with insults daily.
Meanwhile, heads of higher education institutions gave an assurance that the safety and well-being of African students in Malaysia were a priority.
“Personnel from the counselling unit and the student affairs department are always available to students from Botswana and other African countries,” said UCSI University president Peter Ng.
Limkokwing University of Creative Technology president Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing said there were around 700 Botswana students in the institution, and given the chance, many would like to return here as they enjoyed Malaysian food and customs.
“I assure you that for every student with trouble adapting, 10 will tell you they enjoy themselves,” he said.
In a related development, a Botswana student said suicide was not prevalent among them.
“We cannot generalise just because a few people took their lives,” said the engineering student who declined to be named.
Another student said she did not find Malaysians hostile and had no problems adapting to the local culture.
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