Penang Medical College receives university status

IT was a proud day today for Penang Medical College (PMC) attaining "Foreign University Branch Campus" status by the Malaysian Higher Education Ministry (MOHE).

The 10th in Malaysia to receive this honour and award, PMC is now called the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and University College Dublin (UCD) Malaysia Campus or RCSI & UCD Malaysia Campus, RUMC for short.

A milestone achieved for PMC, established 20 years ago as provider of the nation's first registrable medical degree from a Malaysian private higher education institution, and wholly owned by two Irish institutions; degrees are awarded by the National University of Ireland and are globally recognised.

President of Ireland and patron of PMC Michael D Higgins had this to say: "As president of Ireland, may I send my congratulations to all those who have worked so hard to achieve this accolade for the College, and it is my sincere wish that Penang Medical College will continue to thrive and promote the highest standards in education for the benefit of the health, empowerment and wellbeing of all".

Instrumental in establishing Irish-Malaysian education links in the region is Irish ambassador to Malaysia Eamon Hickey who commented that this accolade is evidence of the growing relationship between Ireland and Malaysia and he hopes to see an increase in students shuttling between the two countries as RUMC grows and develops.

Nearly 1,600 medical doctors have graduated from PMC with globally recognised medical degrees of the National University of Ireland (NUI). Now with RUMC, no doubt this will help push Malaysia up the ranks as a provider of quality medical education.

RUMC president and CEO Prof Stephen Doughty said, "The upgraded university is in the midst of developing a suite of programmes to accommodate the human capital needs of the medical sector in Malaysia. Having developed high-quality Irish education over more than 20 years and contributed to the demand for Irish-trained doctors in Malaysia, now is an ideal time to offer other programmes at degree, masters and doctoral levels."

The announcement was surely cause for a great celebration for all those at RUMC, not forgetting Irish education. Locally, the institution has achieved its mission to contribute to patients and society through excellence in education, learning and research and to benefit healthcare.

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An official ceremony will be held to mark this achievement, the first of many RUMC milestones moving forward.