Investors that once rushed into Malaysian higher education must now brace for consolidation

Students huddled around a project. Photo: Van Tay Media

Malaysia’s higher education sector, where private equity-backed institutes have mushroomed in recent years, is now ripe for consolidation, thanks to COVID-induced disruptions that have pushed the sector to the brink.

Enrolment of foreign students plunged 84.1% in 2020, as international travel froze and campuses shut down, according to estimates by the Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities (MAPCU). The association pegged the losses faced by the sector at 6.9 billion ringgit ($1.7 billion) in 2020.

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