All 20 Malaysian public universities will become autonomous, getting more power to make their own academic and financial decisions, Higher Education Minister Idris Jusoh has announced.

“With this status, the universities can take a number of functions into their own hands, from designing their own programmes and partnering with private companies to create new products,” he said.

The autonomous status will help improve competitiveness and performance of public universities, he said, by giving them more flexibility in decision making.

Over the next 10 years, Malaysia plans to “transition from the current, highly-centralised governance system for HLIs [higher learning institutions] to a model based on earned autonomy”, according to its Higher Education Blueprint 2015-2025.

Funding for public universities will be linked to their performance, it says. Universities will sign five-year contracts with the Ministry of Higher Education, with funding at risk if targets are not met, and incentives for exceeding them.

So far, 13 public universities have become autonomous, with the latest being Universiti Malaysia Pahang on 29 November. Seven universities still remain centrally-managed.

Image from Minister Idris Jusoh’s Twitter.