The higher education ministry is reviewing Section 15 of the Universities and University Colleges Act (Auku) 1971 to empower student movements in the country, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Deputy Minister Mohammad Yusof Apdal said the review, among others, would give students the freedom to openly participate in politics, including becoming members and candidates for any political party.
"In addition, they will be given full responsibility in relation to student movements in IPTA (public higher education institutions) and IPTS (private higher education institutions) and their financial matters," he said.
He was responding to a supplementary question from Chow Yu Hui (PH-Raub) on students’ autonomy during the question-and-answer session.
Yusof also said that the government would set up a special task force to review and conduct in-depth studies on national higher education policies.
He said the task force would provide recommendations and views on the existing policies including their weaknesses, strengths and areas where they are lacking.
"Policies that are seen as irrelevant will not be continued and those that are considered weak will be improved and streamlined," he said.
Yusof said the task force would involve prominent figures in the higher education industry who could contribute holistically towards improving the quality and performance of higher education.
He said this in response to a question from Saifuddin Abdullah (PN-Indera Mahkota) on the measures to ensure that educational reforms at institutes of higher learning are carried out.