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Commonwealth Tertiary Education Facility (CTEF)

Background & Establishment

The Commonwealth Tertiary Education Facility (CTEF) is a collaboration between the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia and the Commonwealth Secretariat in London to strengthen the link among Commonwealth countries in the development of tertiary education. It comprises a network of partners to generate knowledge and share good practices on tertiary education among Commonwealth countries.

At the 16th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (16CCEM) held in Cape Town in December 2006, the Secretary-General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities then proposed that a Tertiary Education Facility for the Commonwealth should be established as a means of helping ministers responsible for higher education through policy advice and guidance. The facility should also help Higher Education Institutions with relevant aspects related to their strategy, governance, and management.

In response, Ministers directed the Commonwealth Secretariat to develop a draft Terms of Reference to consider the proposal for the creation of an appropriate Commonwealth facility. In 2007 and 2008, two meetings of senior officials (referred to as the “Senior Officials Working Group”) convened under the chairmanship of the Director-General, Department of Education, South Africa, in which all Commonwealth members were invited to attend. The meetings were attended by representatives from Barbados, Jamaica, Malta, Malaysia, India, South Africa, and UK. The Association of Commonwealth Universities, Commonwealth of Learning and Commonwealth Secretariat were also present in support of the Working Group.

As a result of these meetings, three proposals in relation to the facility (now called CTEF) were presented at the 17CCEM. After several discussions, the proposal from the Government of Malaysia was accepted and developed into a more detailed proposal for the 18CCEM. The proposal development was then pursued in two meetings of the Commonwealth Secretariat in 2011. The first meeting was held in February 2011 with officials and representatives from the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia and the second was held in March 2011 with the Malaysian delegation and other interested parties from South Africa and the University of the West Indies. Senior staff from the Commonwealth of Learning and the Association of Commonwealth Universities also contributed to the discussion at the meeting.

The year 2012 marked the acceptance of Malaysia’s proposal to establish CTEF in Malaysia. The proposal was presented during the 18CCEM held in Mauritius and was then pursued for approval by the Ministerial Cabinet, Malaysia. Finally, in July 2013, Malaysia’s Ministerial Cabinet approved the establishment of CTEF. Subsequently, CTEF was established on 1 August 2013 and was based at the National Higher Education Research Institute (IPPTN) at Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia. Professor Dato’ Dr. Morshidi Sirat (former Director-General of Higher Education, Malaysia) was appointed as the Founding Director of CTEF on 16 October 2014. Consequently, Dato’ Professor Asma Ismail, Director General of Higher Education then officiated the soft launch of CTEF in November 2014 in conjunction with CTEF’s Inaugural Workshop on Higher Education Funding and Access Issues in Selected Commonwealth Countries. This workshop spelt the first event of the year. With the establishment of CTEF, this landmark initiative has earmarked Malaysia on the global map for tertiary education.