Welcoming February 2019 full-time students

More than 60 students enrolled for full-time study at WOU during the February 2019 intake, taking advantage of the 50% study grant offered for their 3-year degree programme.

The new students pose with their Academic Advisors and staff of Penang Regional Centre.

The new students pose with their Academic Advisors and staff of Penang Regional Centre.

The highest number of students enrolled in the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management (BMMG) programme followed by the Bachelor of Software Engineering (Hons) programme. Other popular choices were the fields of Accounting, Computer Systems & Networks, Psychology, Management with Psychology, and Logistics & Supply Chain Management.

Part of the new students at the Orientation.

Part of the new students at the Orientation.

The orientation held at the main campus today witnessed freshman Raveenesh Chandran, 23, from BBMG, leading in the oath-taking ceremony.

Raveenesh stands tall as he leads the new students in the oath-taking ceremony.

Raveenesh stands tall as he leads the new students in the oath-taking ceremony.

Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, in her welcome speech, spoke about the importance of the 3Cs, “communicate, collaborate and creative”. 

She added that in today’s world, being able to communicate well is one of the traits of successful people. “You should also be able to present your ideas and collaborate on projects and activities. Be creative as people with creative ideas will succeed.” She encouraged them to be grateful for the opportunity to study and to respect another person’s opinion, time and culture.

Prof Zoraini stresses on the importance of having good communication skills.

Prof Zoraini stresses on the importance of having good communication skills.

Next, Penang Regional Centre director Ching Huey Ling introduced the academic advisors to the students, followed by the presentation of the Dean’s List award by Prof Zoraini. There was a total of 18 recipients of the award for achieving excellent academic results for the May 2018 semester.

Prof Zoraini (centre) and Ching (4th from left) giving the thumbs up to the Dean’s List recipients.

Prof Zoraini (centre) and Ching (4th from left) giving the thumbs up to the Dean’s List recipients.

The orientation also briefed the students on academic matters, IT services, WOU’s learning management system, Wawasan-i, and on the library facilities

 

New students share their dreams and aspirations

Four new students from the February 2019 intake share their story:

* Nicholas Rajoo, 21, from George Town, enrolled in Bachelor of Software Engineering (Hons). He holds a Certificate in Mechatronics from the Northern Skills Development Centre (NSDC), Gelugor.

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He often sees information about WOU on flyers, the media, and online.  He also personally heard about WOU from two University staff, a former school mate and a close relative, as well as from a family friend.

“I have always liked engineering since my school days and want to study further, especially software engineering. Many people and industries are using a lot of Internet these days and so I felt it was good to learn computer skills for my career advancement.

“My ambition is to become a software engineer because I love to create things online, and do illustrations and computer programming. I studied engineering in Form Four and took up mechatronics at NSDC.  As computers are becoming more and more advanced, I am challenged to enhance my knowledge even further. “

Nicholas grew up with a single mum - his dad passed away – and she works as a kindergarten teacher.  He has a younger sister still in secondary school.

* Ng Jun Hong, 22, from Bukit Mertajam, enrolled in Bachelor of Software Engineering (Hons). He holds a Diploma in Science (Business Information Systems) from Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC), Tanjung Bungah.

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“A college friend told me about WOU, declaring that a few students from TAR UC plan to come here to study engineering, and that he himself was also thinking about it.  So I also came to PGRC to inquire.

“I decided on WOU because it has a February intake, and I can start my studies fast without having to wait a few months until May or June. Another thing is the fees. I chose BSEG because my elder brother, who is working as a computer programmer, suggested I consider this option. Moreover, I had studied IT in my diploma programme.”

Ng’s mum worked as a cashier and has since retired and he has an elder brother. His father passed away when he was 4 years old.

*Nurathirah Mohamed Harun, 20, from Taman Bukit Gambir, Gelugor, enrolled in Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Psychology.

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“I googled the universities in Malaysia and discovered that Wawasan is offering a full-time psychology programme. I chose WOU since it was the nearest to my house because I stay in Penang, making it easier for my parents.

“I also looked through Facebook and saw a lot of positive feedback from students, such as on the environment here, and so that attracted me. When I came to inquire, I liked what I saw, the greenery, the seafront view, and so on.  

“I have been interested in psychology since Form Four because I like to learn about human behaviour, how the brain works, and what makes people act in a certain way.”  

The second of four kids, Nurathirah’s mother is a full-time homemaker and her father works in a contracting firm. She hopes to work as a counsellor or psychiatric assistant and move up higher in the field of psychology.

*Priyasheena Munusamy, 24, from Bayan Lepas, enrolled in Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Psychology.

She had worked in ground operations with Air Asia for a few years and after that, as a cabin crew with Malindo Airlines until last December.  She enrolled at WOU through APEL using her Form Five qualifications and work experience.

Feb2019interview.pix4.jpg

“My dad told me about this University as one of our relatives is actually taking her psychology degree here, part-time. She informed my dad who in turn advised me to come here and have a chat with the Regional Centre staff. We thought why not join here as WOU has all these financial benefits for the students, and is also very welcoming for us who have worked for several years.

“My jobs in the past have been related to dealing with lots of people and all sorts of customers, probably this is what drew me to enrol in psychology. I also browsed through the courses before registering. I want to try a lot of things and hope to pursue any career that involves dealing with people.”

Priyasheena’s father works as a project manager in the manufacturing industry in Bayan Lepas and her mum is a full-time homemaker. She has a younger brother.

WOU hosts delegation from Bodhisastra University

Wawasan Open University hosted the visit of a 33-member delegation from various faculties of Bodhisastra University, Thailand, to the main campus today to foster closer understanding and relationship between the two institutions.

Dr Sak Prasandee (2nd row centre, with glasses) standing beside Dr Changyong Rhee, the speaker of the public talk from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Dr Sak Prasandee (2nd row centre, with glasses) standing beside Dr Changyong Rhee, the speaker of the public talk from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The delegation was led by Prof Dr Sak Prasandee, the Chief Executive Officer and Rector of the University, who was accompanied by Vice Rector, Dr Kanoksak Likitpriwan. They were met on arrival by Corporate Communications (Publishing & Public Relations) manager Rasidah Mion.

Visiting the library facilities at the main campus.

Visiting the library facilities at the main campus.

The visitors attended a public talk at the main campus and interacted with the management and staff of WOU. They were also taken a short campus tour to view the library facilities and enjoy the seafront view from the campus grounds.

Enjoying the seafront breeze and taking snapshots for remembrance.

Enjoying the seafront breeze and taking snapshots for remembrance.

Bodhisastra University, located in the Laksi District of Bangkok, holds graduation ceremonies in small groups every 3 to 6 months, with the last four times in Singapore. However it held its graduation ceremony for the first time in Penang on January 25th at the WOU main campus.

Global economy slowdown in 2019, Asian emerging markets resilient

The global economy is expected to slow down this year after showing signs of robust growth in the last few years, but Asian emerging economies will remain resilient.

Registering for the public talk at the main campus.

Registering for the public talk at the main campus.

This was expressed by Dr Changyong Rhee, Director of Asia and Pacific Department, International Monetary Fund (IMF), during the public talk on “Regional Economic Outlook for Asia” organised by WOU’s George Town Institute of Open and Advanced Studies (GIOAS) held at the main campus today.

Dr Rhee shares about the global and regional economic outlook.

Dr Rhee shares about the global and regional economic outlook.

He said the IMF forecasts a slightly weaker global economic growth momentum, and so has revised down the expected global economic growth from last October by 0.2 percentage point to 3.5% for 2019. He noted that investor sentiments in financial markets are deteriorating because of concerns about downside risks.

He elaborated on the key downside risks to the global economic outlook, namely an escalation of US-China trade tension and a further deterioration in risk sentiment amid less policy space for countries to react compared with the 2007 economic crisis.

Highlighting the potential impact of the US-China trade tension escalation.

Highlighting the potential impact of the US-China trade tension escalation.

Dr Rhee added that there are political elements in the US-China trade tension so it is hard to predict how it would evolve. He hoped that the trade tension will not escalate with additional US tariffs on China exports as global economic activity would slow further as it would not only raise direct trade costs but also affect confidence, thus reducing firm’s investment and raise firms’ cost of capital with negative impact on financial markets.

He said although there could be trade diversion with the US buying products from Malaysia and other ASEAN countries, there are no winners as the trade tension escalation will impact the general confidence in the financial market and cause a slowdown in overall economic activity.

Dr Rhee with Tan Sri Andrew Sheng (left) during the Q&A session.

Dr Rhee with Tan Sri Andrew Sheng (left) during the Q&A session.

He noted that China’s growth forecast for 2019 had already been revised downward by 0.2 percentage points to 6.2% last October, partly because of the negative effects of tariff increases enacted in the U.S. and China in early 2018.  He said, while fiscal stimulus packages would help to partially offset some of the impact of the trade tension, this may cause more instability in the medium term given already very high leverage in the system.

Dr Rhee emphasised that there are no winners in the trade war and countries should resolve cooperatively and quickly their trade disagreements and the resulting policy uncertainty, rather than raising harmful barriers further and destabilising an already slowing global economy.

Clarifying that there are no winners in the trade war.

Clarifying that there are no winners in the trade war.

The second downside risk to the global economic outlook, he stated, is tighter global financial conditions despite the slow pace of US monetary policy normalisation.

“Malaysia is actually quite resilient, and so is Thailand, because of the large surplus. If you look at their market fundamentals compared to other advanced economies and emerging markets, the Asian emerging market is in much better shape. I am not worrying about a big crisis in Asia. However we should look at how to improve the market to avoid any potential risks. Asian economies have to fix the roof while the sun is shining.”

Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon presents a token of appreciation to Dr Rhee.

Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon presents a token of appreciation to Dr Rhee.

He said the third risk is that there is less policy space and resources for many emerging market economies to cope with another slowdown of the global economy compared to 2007, as they had already used their fiscal and monetary resources and dropped the interest rate significantly in coping with the last global financial crisis.

“That is why we ask policy leaders to be reasonable and to resolve this issue in a more harmonious way,” Dr Rhee concluded.


Thai Consul-General General Mr Raschada Jiwalai (2nd from right) chats with Dr Rhee and the other VIPs before the talk.

Thai Consul-General General Mr Raschada Jiwalai (2nd from right) chats with Dr Rhee and the other VIPs before the talk.

Among the over 200 attendees were Thai Consul-General in Penang, Mr Raschada Jiwalai, a 33-member delegation from Bodhisastra University, Thailand, and GIOAS International Advisory Board Chairman Tan Sri Andrew Sheng

WOU collaboration with Chulalongkorn University

WOU hosted a delegation from the Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, today to establish and strengthen academic collaboration between the two institutions.

Meeting between the visitors and WOU top management in progress.

Meeting between the visitors and WOU top management in progress.

The visit to the main campus was led by the Director of the Institute, Assoc Prof Dr Nualnoi Treerat, while the other two members of the delegation were the Director of Mekong Studies Centre, Mr Ukrist Pathmanand, and a Researcher of the centre, Dr Mukda Pratheepwatanawong.

From left: Dr Nualnoi, Mr Ukrist and Dr Mukda.

From left: Dr Nualnoi, Mr Ukrist and Dr Mukda.

The delegation held a meeting with WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Outreach) Prof David Ngo Chek Ling, School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam, Director of QA & Government Relations Dr Andy Liew, and Director of Public & Student Relations Grace Lau.


They discussed potential collaboration initiatives, namely the planned one-day joint Regional Symposium on “Connectivity, Mobility and Regional Integration in ASEAN” at the main campus on February 15th and possible joint research topics in the future.

(From left) Prakash, Dr Mukda, Prof David Ngo, Dr Nualnoi, Prof Zoraini, Ukrist and Grace Lau.

(From left) Prakash, Dr Mukda, Prof David Ngo, Dr Nualnoi, Prof Zoraini, Ukrist and Grace Lau.

The objective of the regional symposium is to discuss current issues including economic development, foreign direct investment, business management, industrial relations, labour mobility, tourism, international relations, logistics and infrastructure, digital economy, language, cultural diversity, and education in the ASEAN countries. It will also have a roundtable session on “Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the Age of Digital Transformation”.

Welcome aboard January 2019 freshmen!

Some 500 students took advantage of the higher learning opportunity offered by WOU and enrolled for part-time, open distance learning (ODL) mode of study during the January 2019 intake.

Part of the new students attending orientation at the main campus in Penang.

Part of the new students attending orientation at the main campus in Penang.

The highest number of new students came from the Regional Centre of Kuala Lumpur (KLRC) – which also includes those enrolled by its Bandar Utama and Klang Regional Support Centres - followed closely by Penang (PGRC), and subsequently Johor (JBRC), Kuching (KCRC) and Ipoh (IPRC).

An orientation was organised by the five regional centres simultaneously on January 13th to welcome the new students from across the country.

Presentation of Dean’s List award to a student from the Penang Regional Centre.

Presentation of Dean’s List award to a student from the Penang Regional Centre.

The event also witnessed the presentation of the Dean’s List award, with a total of 119 students named to the list for achieving excellent academic results in the January 2018 semester. The Dean’s List honours went to 55 students from PGRC, 30 from KLRC, 15 from JBRC, 12 from KCRC and 7 from IPRC.

In Ipoh, School of Science & Technology Deputy Dean (Academic) Assoc Prof Dr Lee Chee Leong was on hand to speak on the University’s ODL model and present the Dean’s List award.

Dr Lee shares about the open distance learning mode of study.

Dr Lee shares about the open distance learning mode of study.

Accounts clerk Tiang Jia Hui of Sitiawan, who enrolled in Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Accounting, led the freshmen in the oath-taking ceremony. The Dean’s List recipient Eunice Chin Shiao Li, who is in the third year of her Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Psychology programme, inspired everyone with her “Secrets to Balancing Work and Study at WOU” speech.

Tiang leads in oath-taking at the Ipoh Regional Centre.

Tiang leads in oath-taking at the Ipoh Regional Centre.

At the main campus in Penang, 109 students turned up for the orientation, and they were welcomed by PGRC Director Ching Huey Ling and Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas. Prof Zoriani presented the Dean’s List award while School of Business & Administration (SBA) Acting Dean Prakash V Arumugam took to the stage to highlight WOU’s study model.

Prakash elaborates on face-to-face tutorials.

Prakash elaborates on face-to-face tutorials.

Soobavarman Baskaran, who enrolled in the Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Computer Systems and Networks programme, led in the oath-taking.

Soobavarman leads in reciting the students’ pledge in Penang.

Soobavarman leads in reciting the students’ pledge in Penang.

The academics from the main campus who represented the University at the orientation in other three regional centres were School of Education, Languages & Communications Lecturer Sean Ooi Li Hsien (KLRC), School of Humanities & Social Sciences Lecturer Irmadura Ramli (JBRC), and Student Engagement Asst Manager Fauziyah Md Aris (KCRC).

Reflecting on role of universities in the digital era

As the world becomes more digitalised and there is free flow of knowledge, a panel of international experts and thought leaders examined the role of universities in the face of technological disruptions.

The large crowd at the public forum.

The large crowd at the public forum.

The public forum on the “Role of The University in a Digitally Disrupted Age” at the WOU main campus today was moderated by Tan Sri Andrew Sheng, Chairman of the International Advisory Board (IAB) of WOU’s George Town Institute of Open and Advanced Studies (GIOAS), with the IAB members as panel speakers.

The panel of speakers with the moderator Tan Sri Andrew Sheng (3rd from right).

The panel of speakers with the moderator Tan Sri Andrew Sheng (3rd from right).

Dr Stephen Oppenheimer, a British geneticist and author from Oxford University, said that universities should not just teach a standard curriculum and then assess the students’ knowledge at the end of the course. “Students must know how to interpret evidence and knowledge so that they can better apply their skills, preparing themselves for potential work in the future.”

He doubted if conventional universities with a rigid syllabus can move with the changes in technology and the diversity in digital media, unlike open universities which are already using digital media and online courses, and can offer more flexibility.

Dr Douglass Carmichael (centre) offers his view as Mr Jan Wouter Vasbinder (left) and Tan Sri Andrew Sheng look on.

Dr Douglass Carmichael (centre) offers his view as Mr Jan Wouter Vasbinder (left) and Tan Sri Andrew Sheng look on.

Dr Douglass Carmichael, Economic Advisor of Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), US, said that 80% of the jobs now would likely change, and therefore “universities must offer new programmes and new experiences”.

Mr Jan Wouter Vasbinder, founding President of Institute Para Limes, Europe, remarked, “There is large body of knowledge in the world to deal with the complexities of life. The key is to bring that knowledge to address the problem. We therefore need knowledge, skills and expertise over various disciplines, that is, interdisciplinary measures, to meet the challenges of the future. We also need universities to educate leaders of the future and prepare them to shape a better future.”

Dr Shiu expounds on the role of university in the digital era.

Dr Shiu expounds on the role of university in the digital era.

On the nature of disruptions to the University in the digital era, Dr Shiu Man Fai, former consultant cardiologist at Royal Free Hospital, London, said universities that cannot modernise or change their model to adapt to the digital age, will disappear in 5-10 years.

“The role of the university is to look at the new generation, who have access to enormous amount of information. Fact is they do need guidance; they need to learn in order to explore. We need to show them the way to get answers as they will have to think for themselves in their working life. So the role of the university is to use the technology and teach them to think for themselves and adapt to further challenges,” stressed Dr Shiu.

Dr Reddy (right), former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

Dr Reddy (right), former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

On whether universities are irrelevant in this digital age, due to channels like Khan Academy, Dr Yaga Venugopal Reddy, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, said one cannot replace traditional universities. Dr Oppenheimer quipped that “open universities are the promise of the future because of the flexibility and the potential to be interdisciplinary.”

Dato’ Yew Tung Seang commends the University and GIOAS for gathering an impressive panel of speakers to share their experiences and thoughts.

Dato’ Yew Tung Seang commends the University and GIOAS for gathering an impressive panel of speakers to share their experiences and thoughts.

More than 200 people, including Penang Island City Council mayor Dato’ Ar Yew Tung Seang and representatives from various higher learning institutions and the industrial sector, attended the event.

WOU-MACS partnership to benefit graduates and profession

WOU is forging a closer partnership with the Malaysian Association of Company Secretaries (MACS) for the benefit of its graduates and the organisation.

MACS Council members with WOU top management and academics from the school of business & administration.

MACS Council members with WOU top management and academics from the school of business & administration.

The partnership was cemented with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the University and MACS by WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas and MACS President Tang Chan Ming at the main campus today. The witnesses were WOU Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong and MACS Honorary Secretary Tey Ping Cheng.

signing by tang (2nd from left) and prof zoraini (2nd from right).

signing by tang (2nd from left) and prof zoraini (2nd from right).

On hand to witness the exchange of documents between the signatories were WOU Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and MACS Past President Tan Sri Tan Khoon Hai.

Earlier in her speech, Prof Zoraini highlighted that MACS provides credit exemptions for WOU’s business degree programmes in Corporate Administration and Accounting. This enables the graduates “to earn professional recognition from MACS and eventually become members of the company secretarial profession”. 

exchange of documents witnessed by dr koh (3rd from left) and Tan sri Tan (3rd from right). with them is wou chief operating officer yeong sik kheong (right) and Macs’ tey ping cheng.

exchange of documents witnessed by dr koh (3rd from left) and Tan sri Tan (3rd from right). with them is wou chief operating officer yeong sik kheong (right) and Macs’ tey ping cheng.

She stated that the signing facilitates WOU and MACS to undertake various collaboration initiatives to increase the nation’s skilled human capital, particularly in company secretarial practices.

Among the initiatives are joint projects and workshops/conferences, sharing of expertise, exchange of ideas and facilities, industrial study visits of WOU students, internship placement at MACS members’ offices, and applications of MACS candidates into WOU programmes.

Tang believed the collaboration “will further enhance the company secretarial profession in this country and offer a route to a professional qualification in addition to an academic degree for the WOU students”.

tang, in his speech, lauds the collaboration with wou.

tang, in his speech, lauds the collaboration with wou.

“Under the MOU, we are looking forward for WOU to promote and assist its undergraduates to join MACS for a challenging career in the Company Secretary Profession. In return, MACS will work closely with the University to have more activities for the benefit of the students in the future,” he added.

He said WOU students can qualify as professional company secretaries through the accelerated arrangement with MACS in which credit exemptions are granted.

h’ng elaborates on macs and the company secretary profession.

h’ng elaborates on macs and the company secretary profession.

There was also a brief presentation on the role and benefits of a Company Secretary by MACS council member H’ng Swee Yeng. Also present at the event were other MACS council members and WOU senior management staff.

WOU sets up GIOAS to promote openness and change

WOU has launched the George Town Institute of Open and Advanced Studies (GIOAS) in January 2019 for the advancement of openness to forge a more knowledgeable and harmonious society.

GIOAS aims to attract leaders and thinkers from diverse fields and backgrounds to come together to deliberate over ideas for such advancement, starting off with its inaugural public forum on the “Role of the University in a Digitally Disrupted Age”.

Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Tan Sri Andrew Sheng flanked by WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap (right) and WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas.

Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Tan Sri Andrew Sheng flanked by WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap (right) and WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas.

Speaking at the press conference in the main campus today to explain the setting up of GIOAS, Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon stated, “"Like all universities around the world, there are many challenges on how to upgrade the university as an institution that evolves with the times. Education is shifting from teaching students to follow instructions to preparing them to think and solve problems not just for themselves, but for society as a whole. With new tools that technology offers, WOU is revamping its own preparedness to deliver good education for all at affordable prices."

He said that in the face of new challenges, particularly from Industry 4.0, WOU is in the midst of transforming to ensure it continues to deliver flexible, affordable and accessible education and becomes a top university.

Dr Koh (left) addresses the press conference as Tan Sri Andrew Sheng looks on.

Dr Koh (left) addresses the press conference as Tan Sri Andrew Sheng looks on.

GIOAS’ International Advisory Board (IAB) Chairman Tan Sri Andrew Sheng, who is a Distinguished Fellow of Asia Global Institute, University of Hong Kong, and former Chairman of Khazanah Research Institute, shared about the Board members who are highly respected academicians and thought leaders from across the globe.

The IAB members are:

·         Dr Douglass Carmichael, physicist, humanist, psychoanalyst, entrepreneur and economic advisor to the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET); former Professor at University of California, Santa Cruz.

·         Dr Stephen Oppenheimer, British geneticist and author; honorary fellow, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; trained in medicine at University of Oxford and University of London.

·         Dr Yaga Venugopal Reddy, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI); Visiting Fellow, London School of Economics; and Honorary Professor, Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad.

·         Dr Shiu Man Fai, former Consultant Cardiologist, Royal Free Hospital, London.

·         Ms Wang Yuan, former Chief Economist, China Development Bank, Beijing, the largest development bank in the world.

·         Mr Jan Wouter Vasbinder, Founding President, Institute Para Limes, Europe; former Director, Para Limes, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. 

IAB members with Dr Koh, Prof Zoraini (front, centre) and Chief operating officer of WOU, Mr Yeong Sik Kheong (right, 3rd row).

IAB members with Dr Koh, Prof Zoraini (front, centre) and Chief operating officer of WOU, Mr Yeong Sik Kheong (right, 3rd row).

Tan Sri Andrew Sheng remarked that GIOAS plans “to bring in international perspectives to the dialogue going on in Penang and elsewhere in Malaysia on the future role of education, learning, work and life

He added, “We are facing so many challenges brought by technology, geopolitics and climate change that we need to think about 21st century challenges using new lenses. This is why the Institute is OPEN, and draws in people who are advanced or who are working at the cutting edge of thinking or working on these issues."

Tan Sri Andrew Sheng converses with Dr Shiu (left) and Ms Wang.

Tan Sri Andrew Sheng converses with Dr Shiu (left) and Ms Wang.

He stressed that GIOAS offers an exciting platform for dialogue and discussion to open up opportunities for change.

Adopting changes for success

WOU is focused on moving forward in 2019 with mindset and attitude shifts, innovation, re-branding and revised action plans to distinguish the University as a leading open distance learning (ODL) and full-time study institution in the country and region.

Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas highlighted this approach to grow the student population during the townhall session at the main campus today, attended by over 120 staff and streamed live to all regional centres.


Prof Zoraini highlights the happenings of 2018 and plans for the year ahead.

Prof Zoraini highlights the happenings of 2018 and plans for the year ahead.

She challenged staff to work as a team to improve student enrolment, re-enrolment, graduation rate, revenue, student engagement and to deliver prompt, accurate and respectful service in line with its Client Service Charter.

“We must innovate to improve and re-brand ourselves. We have to more than a typical ODL university, offering very good quality programmes and learning experience,” Prof Zoraini remarked. She also mentioned the need to revised policies to align with transformation plans, adding that all these changes are geared toward success.

Briefing staff about the re-organisation of the University.

Briefing staff about the re-organisation of the University.

She highlighted that WOU is moving towards becoming a data-driven organisation by focusing on data analytics. She also presented the revised WOU organisational chart, notably the renamed QA & Government Relations Directorate under Dr Andy Liew, which will act as secretariat for Institute for Research and Innovation (IRI), Centre for Dialogue (C4D), Centre for Fine Arts (C4A) and the George Town Institute for Open and Advanced Studies (GIOAS).  

Corporate Communications will now come under the renamed Publishing & Public Relations (PPR) Department under Grace Lau, with the Educational Technology & Publishing Unit (ETP) being divided into PPR and IDeX (Instructional Design for Engaging Experiences).


Festive greetings and apprising staff of the new programmes for Year 2019.

Festive greetings and apprising staff of the new programmes for Year 2019.

Prof Zoraini mentioned the 6 new academic programmes that are expected to be offered in 2019. They are the ODL programmes of Doctor of Business Administration, Commonwealth Executive MBA (HR), CeMBA (Finance) and Bachelor of Communications (Hons) along with the full-time programmes of Bachelor of Business (Hons) in HR Management and Diploma in Business Management.

University appreciation for long-serving staff

Twenty-eight staff of Wawasan Open University were honoured with long service awards during a simple ceremony held at the main campus today.

On hand to present the 10-year service award was WOU Board of Governors member Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng while doing the honours for the 5-year service award was Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas.

Prof Zoraini welcoming staff to the event.

Prof Zoraini welcoming staff to the event.

Leading the charge for 10 years of faithful, dedicated service from the Operations units were Human Resource Manager Sharizal Inche Mohamed and ITS Infrastructure Support Manager Khor Kok Yeow.

On the academic front were School of Business & Administration (SBA) Senior Lecturers Yap Li Lian and Chong Fook Suan. The others from the academic side were outgoing School of Humanities & Social Sciences Lecturer Kevin Tan Pooi Soo and SBA Administrative Executive Goh Pei Ling.

From academic support, there were Senior Assistant Registrar Gomathi Chandrasekaran, Educational Technology & Publishing (ETP) Senior Graphic Designer Valerie Ooi Lay Keat together with Senior Executives Koh Kah Ling and Yeap Hock Aun, Registry Officer Suraya Hashim and Assistant Library Supervisor Puvaneswary Raju.

Dr Chin (back row, centre, with glasses) with the 10-year service award recipients.

Dr Chin (back row, centre, with glasses) with the 10-year service award recipients.

The other 10-year recipients were Corporate Communications Assistant Manager Selvarani Suppiah, ITS Senior Application Support Analysts Ong Zie Ling and David Lim Tze Yoong, Senior Secretary (Chancellery) Cindy Tan Yin Tee, along with General Services & Administration (GSA)’s Technical Supervisor Balachandran Ponniah and Driver Kumara Maruthu.

Topping the 5-year service awards list were SBA Associate Professor Dr Balakrishnan Muniappan and Lecturer Lim Peng Keat, Finance Assistant Manager Kheng Bee Nar and Johor Bahru Regional Centre (JBRC) Assistant Manager Esther Grace.

Dr Chin and Prof Zoraini (5th and 4th from right) pose with the 5-year award recipients.

Dr Chin and Prof Zoraini (5th and 4th from right) pose with the 5-year award recipients.

Adding to this list from the main campus were ITS Senior Infrastructure Support Analyst Tang Jinq Hung, School of Education, Languages & Communications Senior Administrative Executive Milly Lim Siew Gaik, Marcom Customer Service Officer Marion Beatrice Pereira and GSA Technical Supervisor Hirwan Rimi.

At the Regional Centres, those honoured for five years of service were Senior Marketing & Admissions Executive Lim Lei Hung (Kuala Lumpur) and Marketing & Admissions Executive Valentina Tan Kim Eng (Johor Bahru).

Enjoying a delightful luncheon.

Enjoying a delightful luncheon.

All staff were feted to a sumptuous lunch of rice with chicken, mutton, egg, cucumber-pineapple dishes complemented with laksa, apam balik, ais kacang and juices following the award presentation.

Among those present were BoG members Dr Chin and Prof Emeritus Dato’ Dr Wong Tat Meng, Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong, Chief Financial Officer Hew Thin Chay, Deans and Heads of Department.