The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused massive disruptions in many sectors of society including higher education. Although the mainstream news outlets and social media have discussed how Malaysia’s higher education system coped with the disruptions caused by COVID-19, a fuller narrative needs to be properly documented. This qualitative narrative review involved an analysis of various types of publications including scholarly articles, world organizations’ reports, university documents as well as commentaries and reports from mainstream news outlets and social media that directly focus on the topic. It is evident from the review that Malaysian HEIs’ priority was in safeguarding student and staff welfare in terms of their health and safety. While providing emergency aid to students and support for institutions, the Ministry of Higher Education together with HEIs developed administrative measures to safeguard the delivery of programmes through remote online learning. The analysis confirmed that while online learning is considered appropriate during an emergency period, the digital divide clearly still exists, posing the greatest challenge to Malaysia’s recovery post COVID-19. The critical review on the immediate impacts of the pandemic on teaching and learning point to key recommendations for leadership, student welfare, and the importance of flexible education and evidence-based policymaking.
Journal of Sustainability Science and Management ; 16(1)