It has been more than a year since the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. The global outbreak of covid 19 has taken lives, destroyed livelihoods, and lead us to an economic downturn. Small and big businesses faced the fear of complete closing and people stayed homebound with a lack of employment and productivity. As more people stayed in the safety of their homes in Gombak, the more the economy suffered.
Malaysia is one of the countries that proudly mitigated the wave of covid 19 and overcame it during the first round. But as they opened up the borders and eased up on the travel cases rose again and today they are facing a record high of more than 15000 cases per day. They have reached the one million mark of covid 19 infections since the beginning of the pandemic and have seen more than 8000 deaths in total.
This quick downturn in Malaysia has caused so many losses to individuals, businesses, and especially the countries tourism sector. The economy is largely dependent on its tourism. As the borders stayed close for both tourists and international students, Malaysia suffered from its lack of traction in edutourism. Edutourism in Malaysia promotes the country as the number one choice for those looking for higher education opportunities.
The country prides in their number of foreign students and the foreign student influx has been a major driver of their economy. The revenue generated from international students surpasses more than RM 10 billion a year. Both private and public universities work together to attract international students to Malaysia as it benefits both the status of the educational institution as well as the reputation of Malaysia.
Unfortunately, since the pandemic things have not been looking so good for the edutourism of Malaysia. The halt in travel has forced many international students to defer their semester and go back to their home countries. Students who got their scholarships to prestigious universities of Malaysia stayed back in their home countries as universities in Malaysia struggled to get international students enrolled. Many universities in Malaysia are majorly comprised of international students. The sudden disruption to the influx of international students has caused the fear of closing down of universities.
Many universities offer on-campus amenities to international students which came to an immediate halt as a result of the pandemic. As they mitigated the course of online classes and zoom lectures, management struggled to get the processes streamlined. The year was hard both on the international students as well as academic staff. The leadership of the university suffered and so did the economy when international students enrollment dropped down.
Several campaigns of online promotions and better online class management strategies have taken place as universities tried to bolster international student enrollment. Universities and governments understand that the entry of international students and their presence is key to economic growth in Malaysia. Especially during a time period where your typical tourists are not allowed in the country.