I have not been to Curtin University in Miri for quite a long while. I used to send my younger son there when he was doing his Bachelor of Commerce. Yesterday afternoon, I sent my son there again to sit for his oral IELTS exams.
On the way to Curtin, there are lakes on both sides of the road as you drive towards the junction to turn in to Curtin. It is quite a scenic place.
The security guards at the security pondok of Curtin did not ask me to stop so I just drove straight past them. After dropping my son off, I went around the huge campus to take photos.
Curtin Sarawak is the first offshore campus of Curtin University of Technology, a university based in Perth, Western Australia. The university was invited by the Sarawak State Government to establish a campus in Miri. Curtin Sarawak commenced operations in February 1999 and was the first foreign university campus to be set up on the island of Borneo. In 2002, the new campus was built. It now has a student population of almost 4000, with the students hailing from more than 45 countries, and a highly-qualified teaching staff from some 15 countries.
Curtin University is ranked in the top two per cent of universities worldwide in the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2014. It is ranked 40th in the world for universities under the age of 50 in the QS World University Rankings 2014 and has received an overall five-star overall excellence rating in the QS stars rating 2015. In addition, Curtin Sarawak holds Tier 5 or Excellent ratings from the Ministry of Education for overall quality and its engineering programmes. It is one of only eight universities in Malaysia granted self-accreditation status by the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA).
The establishment of the university has been a welcome move for many Malaysians as it offers an affordable alternative for a quality Australian education right at their doorsteps but at a fraction of what it would cost to attain the identical education at the Perth campus. Both of my sons received their Bachelor of Commerce degree at the university. I personally think bringing Curtin to Miri was one of the best accomplishments of Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr. George Chan Hong Nam.
I spent about an hour roaming around the campus yesterday. It is a beautiful campus and I think its setting is very conducive for study. The lakes on the campus add a sense of tranquility. I love the landscaped scenery, the trees and the well-maintained gardens .
Near the big lake, there are signs that say “This is Borneo! Be wary of crocodiles!” I can’t help chuckling when I saw these signs. I have heard the story of how a naughty guy bought a baby crocodile and released it into that lake a long time ago. In recent years, there has been reported sightings of a medium size crocodile on the bank of the lake.
I was thus a bit cautious when I went near the lake. A large part of the lake is covered with a blanket of aquatic weeds with some clear patches where water can be seen. I wonder whether these patches were created by the crocodile(s) in the lake. You never know whether any crocodile is just lurking beneath the aquatic plants. I love the beauty of the aquatic plants.
I did not see any crocodile but I saw one of its cousin sunbathing on the grass. I took a photo of the monitor lizard from a distance before approaching it. As soon as I got a bit nearer, the reptile moved away so fast that I could not take a shot of it. It made its way into a nearby stream where it submerged itself beneath the water. I was surprised by its speed!
The hour spent on the Curtin campus was worth it. I came away with a lot of photos and an hour of walking exercise. That’s like killing two birds with one stone!