SEPANG: The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) will meet with the universities to discuss efforts to empower the higher education sector, says Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

He said this would allow him to see more clearly the role and responsibilities of MOHE and the institutions under the ministry.

"Efforts to transform the country depend on the higher education sector, so for that reason, higher education must be on the right track and needs to get support and cooperation from all the ministries and agencies," he told reporters after MOHE's handing over of duties and appreciation ceremony here, today.

Mohamed Khaled said next month he will present the ministry's direction and efforts to make the higher education sector, which includes private universities, polytechnics and community colleges, successful.

"The issues faced by students such as graduate employability, student financing and so on (will be given attention). We want to prepare them as highly-sought after people in the 21st century.

"We will also ensure the higher education sector can succeed in a country where the economy is based on knowledge and innovations," he said.

When asked about the possibility of establishing more public universities (UA), Mohamed Khaled said instead of adding more UA, MOHE will focus on strengthening university leadership in addition to fulfilling the ministry's mission and vision.

"Now there are 20 UA which are categorised as research universities, comprehensive universities and so on and we hope that all these (universities) can operate well," he said.

At the same time, Mohamed Khaled said private higher education institutions also play an important role in making Malaysia a talent and knowledge hub, adding that to do so, Malaysia needs more international higher education students.

"UA cannot accommodate the needs of all international students...this role can be played by private universities," he added.