Virtual open universities future of higher education: Keng Yaik

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 24 – The higher education system will see a changing landscape towards virtual open universities due to the fast-moving Internet world, said Wawasan Open University (WOU) Chancellor, Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik.

He said the trend of virtual universities was growing as the learning process was borderless due to Internet connectivity.

Dr Lim, who is also the former Gerakan president and Minister of Energy, Water and Communications, said virtual open universities enabled students and working adults to study anywhere at anytime.

In 1999, Lim had called for the setting up of a virtual open university and improving Internet connectivity, which successfully raised the Internet penetration rate to over 75 per cent now, from less than three per cent during 1999.

“My dream in 1999 is becoming a reality and I bet that WOU will be the first virtual open university,” Lim told reporters at the WOU’s third convocation ceremony here today.

He said WOU was in the midst of offering full time on-campus teaching in a bid to create more opportunities for learning and extending its role as a provider of quality higher education to a younger generation of students.

Lim said WOU was awaiting necessary approval for on-campus teaching from the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) and Ministry of Higher Education, adding that the new teaching mode was mainly for school leavers.

Upon approval, WOU is likely to build a city-type campus in Penang, a new concept of university with different faculties developed all over the city rather than branch campuses.

Lim also urged WOU to stay relevant by offering programmes catering to the educational needs of contemporary job seekers amid the changing perception and career plans of the present generation of learners.

He said the new generation of learners was moving from traditional fields like basic science, medicine, engineering or accounting into more diversified career driven fields like management analysis, tourism, hospitality services and entrepreneurship development. – Bernama


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