Wawasan Open University (WOU) was
presented with the opportunity to spearhead the initiative of improving the
quality of tourism and hospitality-based education, especially among the
This development came about following a visit to WOU by Associate Prof Dr
Wong Kong Yew, a tourism economist who is also President of the Malaysian
Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Education (MyCenTHE).
The MyCenTHE project was created under Entry Point Project 10, which is one
of the 131 projects initiated and funded under the Malaysian government's
greater Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).
According to Dr Wong, ''WOU and MyCenTHE share a common vision of providing
affordable and accessible education to all Malaysians.''
The meeting with Dr Wong was attended by
WOU's Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) Prof Dato' Dr Ho Sinn Chye, Dean of
School of Business and Administration (SBA) Prof N V Narasimham, Acting Dean
of School of Foundation & Liberal Studies Dr Nagarajan Subramaniam and SBA
course coordinator Lilian Yap, as well as the academic staff from DISTED
College comprising its President Dr Koo Wee Kor and School of Hospitality
lecturer Ravichandran Sellakannu.
''The central focus of MyCenTHE is to increase workforce productivity and
job attractiveness by equipping at least 50% of Malaysia's tourism and
hospitality staff with diploma level qualifications through collaborative
cluster-based partnerships formed between domestic public and private
sectors,'' added Dr Wong.
The Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA)
approved programmes under each cluster will offer two-year work-based
learning (WBL) diploma courses that combine theory with extensive workplace
exposure. Students would find this learning approach attractive not only in
terms of learning experience but also more affordable. This is because the
two-year diploma courses involve industrial training of up to 11 months at
hotels and resorts managed by participating industrial partners thus
allowing students to earn and learn at the same time.
As to the role of WOU, Prof Ho commented:
''WOU will look into ways to work together with MyCenTHE for example in
terms of course material or ODL expertise on modules delivery from diplomas
to academic degrees.''
The visit by MyCenTHE to WOU and DISTED
paves the way for greater partnerships to enhance accessibility of the
people to the tourism and hospitality programmes in universities towards
meeting the needs of the tourism sector which is expected to grow threefold