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February 07, 2005 - NSU considering new international programs.

NSU considering new international programs.
by Brian Bandell

Nova Southeastern University is in talks with Malaysia and Botswana officials about establishing programs in their countries.

Ambassadors from both nations visited the private university's Davie campus in January. Four NSU officials, including President Ray Ferrero Jr., will visit Malaysia Feb. 25 for a weeklong trade mission led by Digital Media Network of Fort Lauderdale.

NSU has international programs in 10 countries, mostly in the Americas and Europe, and has been in Jamaica and the Bahamas for more than 30 years. The course work is usually split between on-site instruction in the foreign nation and online learning from NSU's main campus.

"The rest of the world looks at U.S. degrees as the hallmark of education," Ferraro said. "They [Malaysia and Botswana] have interest in learning about American business techniques and entrepreneurship."

Talks with both governments are in the preliminary stages and no concrete proposals have been made, Ferrero said. However, Malaysian Ambassador Ghazzali bin Sheikh Abdul Khalid was eager to bring NSU to his nation, which would likely offer incentives. NSU would be the first American university to establish a program there.

"They have a good academic record and have a record of having successfully engaged with other countries," Khalid said. "We ... will do our best to put this into practical effect."

Education has taken an increasingly important role in Malaysia. It has 60,000 students studying abroad, including about 6,000 in the United States, although the number here has decreased due to more visa restrictions for national security purposes.

Khalid said Malaysia is interested in training workers in computer science, information technology, biotechnology, engineering and aerospace, among other fields.

"We're moving toward a knowledge economy where brainpower is the main resource."

During the trade mission, Malaysia's top education officials will show NSU potential sites for the program and introduce them to Malaysian universities and entrepreneurs NSU could partner with to get it going, the ambassador said.

NSU is already getting assistance from a Malaysian company related to Digital Media Network, the consulting company organizing the trade mission.

Digital Media Network CEO Bernhard Schutte said the Malaysian government has big plans for NSU that could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Several other participants on the trade mission are talking to groups in Malaysia about possible deals, he said. So far, 35 people have signed up for the trip.

NSU is also looking to further its discussions with Botswana about possibly starting a program there.

Ferrero said Botswana's ambassador expressed interest in the university and plans to set up meetings between NSU and the country's top education officials.

NSU doesn't have any programs in Africa.

Botswana's ambassador in Washington, D.C., didn't return calls for comment.

E-mail staff writer Brian Bandell at bbandell@bizjournals.com.

 

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