WOU sets forth service excellence to complement quality learning

Service delivery that meets student expectations and offers an enriching learning experience is important if WOU does not want to lose existing and prospective students to competitors.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye said that the University’s quality courseware must be complemented by excellent service delivery to tackle the challenges of declining student recruitment and retention.

Prof Ho stresses the importance of enriching students' learning experience at WOU.

Prof Ho stresses the importance of enriching students' learning experience at WOU.

“How we engage and interact with students is important. WOU wants to be recognised as a quality provider in the Education Services Industry,” he declared during the townhall session today, adding, “We want quality services to be our differentiator, making WOU to be the preferred destination for prospective students. We also want to provide dedicated service to enrich the learning experience of our existing students.”

He continued, "If an open distance learning institution wants to be recognised as a quality provider in the education services industry, it needs to focus on three selling points: (i) courseware quality, (ii) learner experience, and (iii) service delivery. Of the three, the most discerning hence demanding is to constantly provide engaging learning support services that meet learner expectations. This calls for dedicated team efforts within the institution and at its regional centres.”

Teamwork is critical in excellent service delivery.

Teamwork is critical in excellent service delivery.

He stressed that WOU’s Client Charter is to be understood as a pledge by all categories of staff (academic, administrative, technical) to provide excellent services to our learners especially. “We want to achieve customer satisfaction, be there when needed, create value for customer, enrich customer experience and exceed customer expectations.”

He remarked that to make this work, WOU has to put in place the necessary infrastructure, staff training, standard processes and technology support. “We want to build a culture of providing effective service and working efficiently. This should reinforce our expressed ‘Values’ of upholding high institutional standards; celebrating the diversity of our students; recognising our employees; valuing citizens and the community; and instilling academic freedom and fairness.”

Yeong expounds on the components of the Client Charter.

Yeong expounds on the components of the Client Charter.

Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong, in explaining the Client Charter, said, “Education is a service-oriented industry. We have to make sure our products are industry-relevant and supported by excellent service standards which differentiates us, since we are one of over 600 higher learning institutions in the country, and we all offer almost similar programmes. What is not similar is how we deliver these products.”

The Client Charter represents ‘The WOU Promise’ which states: “We pledge to deliver excellent service to you in every aspect of your undertakings with WOU. We commit to serve you with promptness, accuracy and respect.”

Elaborating on what Respect, Prompt and Accurate entails.

Elaborating on what Respect, Prompt and Accurate entails.

Yeong stressed that WOU commits to give prompt responses, updates and suggestions along with accurate information and solutions, and these are girded by respect towards students in all interactions and delivery of services.

He shared that the University will kickstart this culture of service excellence with staff training, enhancing of academic/technical/admin support desks, and adopting the reward, recognition and reproach system. “We want to assimilate this culture throughout the value chain. We want to ensure it is supported by infrastructure. We will let the service provider decide what the key performance index is in all their services. We will evaluate, monitor and review this Client Charter.”

Staff pose questions to better grasp the dos and don'ts when it comes to meeting learner expectations.

Staff pose questions to better grasp the dos and don'ts when it comes to meeting learner expectations.

During Q&A on how this Client Charter will differentiate WOU uniquely as a premier academic provider, Yeong replied that the Charter is a promise that students will receive a pleasant learning experience. In highlighting the power of the word of mouth in attracting students, he said that the Charter will make WOU stand out not only as a provider of quality courseware but also of service excellence.

WOU Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap joined staff for the townhall session at the main campus. It was streamed via video conferencing to all regional centres.

Dr Koh wraps up the session by offering his perspective on the Client Charter.

Dr Koh wraps up the session by offering his perspective on the Client Charter.

VC tells OCL student body to take leadership role seriously

With the increasing number of full-time students at WOU, the on-campus learning (OCL) student body has the onerous task to actively bring together the undergraduates from different intakes and who are pursuing various programmes.

Full-time students register their attendance for the annual general meeting held at the main campus.

Full-time students register their attendance for the annual general meeting held at the main campus.

This responsibility now falls on the shoulder of the new President of the OCL Student Council, Pan Bo Zhong (4th semester), who takes over from Chow Bai Quan (final semester). Pan and his 13-member team were duly elected into the 2017/18 Student Council during the Annual General Meeting held today. They will undertake to represent the interests of the over 220 full-time students currently studying at the main campus in Penang.

Outgoing president Chow Bai Quan (left) oversees the election process.

Outgoing president Chow Bai Quan (left) oversees the election process.

The full list of the Student Council is provided below:

President:                          Pan Bo Zhong

Vice Presidents:                 Teoh Ewe Mun
                                          Yeap Mun Keat

Secretary:                          Chong Jia Lie
Assistant Secretary:           Muhammad Nihmathullah Abdul Jaffar

Treasurer:                          Mohamad Sanim Mohamad Saad
Assistant Treasurer:           Shirley Santhru

Public Relation:                  Kent Lai Yao Cong and Mitra Vani Sinnadurai

Committee Members:         Muhammad Farid Arsyad Foad
                                          Siveraj Katereasian
                                         
Pranaven Pratapan
                                          Samantha Lianna Geronimo
                                          Sheela Saravanan

Pan (4th from right) with the new Student Council committee members.

Pan (4th from right) with the new Student Council committee members.

The new Council members were given a brief overview of their roles, responsibilities and the challenges they might face throughout their term of office by Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye. 

Prof Ho said that the Student Council (SC) is a platform for representing and voicing students' views, as well as academic and co-curricular interests. Their views and proposals can then be escalated to the University management for follow-up dialogue. He told them to consider the SC as a mini Parliament, adding that it gives “good training ground to speak one’s mind, debate issues, and along the way pick up social and public relation skills, to build character and other leadership attributes. All these will place you in good stead to face your working life in the foreseeable future.”

Prof Ho expounds on the responsibilities of the Student Council.

Prof Ho expounds on the responsibilities of the Student Council.

His advice to the new members helming the student body: “As elected members, you have to play an active role and provide good service. Help the University enrich the life and experience of the undergraduates in the campus by coming out with interesting activities, both academic and non-academic.”

Part of the students at the annual general meeting.

Part of the students at the annual general meeting.

In his speech at the AGM, he also thanked the outgoing SC members for their valuable contributions during their term of office.

Become successful employable graduates, new full-time students told

Students should use the opportunity of full-time study in Wawasan Open University to pick up valuable soft skills and make it their goal to become successful employable graduates. 

Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, in his welcoming remarks during the orientation at the main campus today, advised the full-time students to ask themselves from now until graduation on how they can each groom themselves to become a successful employable graduate of WOU and stand out among the sea of graduates produced in the country each year.

WOU senior management staff and freshmen at the orientation ceremony.

WOU senior management staff and freshmen at the orientation ceremony.

“We want to equip you with future-proof skills, so that you become readily employable in the job market. Most employers are looking out for such skills during job interviews. How well can you think, how well can you analyse? You learn these not from your courses alone but from other academic activities along the way,” he elaborated.

Prof Ho challenged the freshmen to open up their minds and groom themselves to become proficient in those traits that are sought-after by employers, namely critical thinking, analytical thinking, and the ability to work with others.

Prof Ho challenges the students to succeed as employable graduates from WOU.

Prof Ho challenges the students to succeed as employable graduates from WOU.

He told the freshmen to brush up on their English because English is the language of business and global communication. He informed that WOU is a good training ground to master their command of the language, adding, “The way you talk to a lecturer, the way you ask questions in class, in exam, and the chats you have with your classmates in the cafeteria are all opportunities to train and improve your language skills. Prospective employers look out for all these things in interviews.”

He called on the students to be focused on their set goals from the very start of their academic journey in WOU. He said this commitment will motivate them to improve and to get ready for the job market, declaring, “Your mission is to graduate as an employable graduate of WOU.”

Prof Ho also urged them to familiarise themselves with the learning management system in WOU, to get to know their Academic Advisors well, and to know exactly what they want to achieve, adding that these three steps will help them become a successful graduate.

Sharvintheraan Ravi leads the freshmen in reciting the students' pledge.

Sharvintheraan Ravi leads the freshmen in reciting the students' pledge.

The freshmen were subsequently led in their oath-taking by Sharvintheraan Ravi, who newly enrolled in Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management for the May 2017 intake. About 25 new students participated in the orientation.

Prof Ho also presented awards to six Dean’s List recipients who attended, out of the total 16 students named to the List for their excellent results in the September 2016 semester.

Clockwise, back row, from left: Dean's List recipients Teoh Ewe Mun, Yuven Yeoh Yew Mu, Tan Ken Lin, Ng Xin Pei, Lee Pei Fong and Melissa Wan.

Clockwise, back row, from left: Dean's List recipients Teoh Ewe Mun, Yuven Yeoh Yew Mu, Tan Ken Lin, Ng Xin Pei, Lee Pei Fong and Melissa Wan.

The other attendees at the orientation were Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong, Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi, Deans, Academic Advisors and Penang Regional Centre director Teh Kim Kow and his team.

The freshmen were later briefed on MPU courses, WOU regulations and procedures, ITS facilities, Wawasan2u and the library services.

WOU-Tan Chong Group partnership to upgrade skills of employees

WOU has entered into an educational partnership with Tan Chong Group (TCG) to strengthen the development of human resources and to improve employee retention in all subsidiary companies of the Group.

Dato' Dr Lim Weng Khuan (2nd from left) and Prof Dato' Dr Ho Sinn Chye sign the MoU.

Dato' Dr Lim Weng Khuan (2nd from left) and Prof Dato' Dr Ho Sinn Chye sign the MoU.

This collaboration was formalised with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the main campus today by Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, WOU Vice Chancellor, and Dato’ Dr Lim Weng Khuan, Director and Head of Tan Chong Education Services Sdn Bhd (TCEdu), a subsidiary of TCG. The witnesses were Dr Andy Liew Teik Looi, Registrar of the University, and Irene Seow Ai Ling, Regional Head of Tan Chong Technical Institute (TCTECH), Penang.

WOU formally welcomed TCG into its corporate education partnership programme (CPP) with the signing. As a CPP partner, the Group employees and family members along with graduates of the learning institutions under the Group will enjoy special tuition fee rebates when they take up part-time study at WOU. “This is part of the University’s continuing efforts to offer industry-relevant programmes to build up the talent pool of the participating companies and the nation,” remarked Prof Ho.

Prof Ho elaborates on the benefits extended to Tan Chong Group.

Prof Ho elaborates on the benefits extended to Tan Chong Group.

WOU is offering tuition fee rebates of up to RM1,000 in the first semester to all employees of Tan Chong Group and family members who enrol for part-time study, as well as 10% off on fees for the subsequent 2nd to 10th semesters for undergraduate programmes, and for the subsequent 2nd to 4th semesters for postgraduate programmes, subject to a minimum enrolment of two courses per semester. The graduates/alumni from the Group meanwhile will receive rebates of up to RM1,000 in the first semester upon enrolment.

Prof Ho informed that the University has to date forged smart partnerships with more than 180 public and private sector companies for the pursuit of tertiary qualifications in WOU.

Attendees at the signing ceremony.

Attendees at the signing ceremony.

He called on Tan Chong Group to explore the development of customised education programmes for their employees, similar to what WOU offered to Perodua, adding,   “We are ever prepared to develop HR capacity building programmes and shorter-term professional training courses with more private sector companies.”

In his speech, Dr Lim assured that the Group will promote WOU’s programmes through various internal communication channels and will host programme previews and roadshows.  

Dr Lim shares a light moment during his speech.

Dr Lim shares a light moment during his speech.

He stressed, “This MoU marks the beginning of an exciting collaborative journey with WOU to provide quality education and training courses/programmes for employees of Tan Chong Group via WOU’s Corporate Education Partnership Programme. This resonates very well with our Group’s objective of continuous learning to enhance the leadership and management competencies of our employees across all levels for their personal development, fulfilment of career aspirations and long term retention. “

Exchange of documents between Dr Lim (2nd from left) and Prof Ho witnessed by Dr Andy Liew and Irene Seow (left).

Exchange of documents between Dr Lim (2nd from left) and Prof Ho witnessed by Dr Andy Liew and Irene Seow (left).

He continued, “With an annual turnover of RM7 billion and about 12,500 employees in our Group with multiple industries, businesses and companies located all over Malaysia, we are excited on this CPP collaboration with WOU. The CPP offers abundant opportunities for our employees and their family members, as well as student graduates to upgrade their knowledge and leadership/management skills on a flexible time schedule.”

Dato' Stephen Yeap (right) chats with Dr Lim after the ceremony.

Dato' Stephen Yeap (right) chats with Dr Lim after the ceremony.

Among the attendees at the signing ceremony were WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap and senior management staff of WOU.

Tribute to Tan Sri Raj: A passionate educationist

Wawasan Open University paid tribute to the immeasurable service of Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Dr Gajaraj Dhanarajan – who retired as Chairman of the Board of Governors – with an appreciation dinner held at the E&O Hotel in Penang today.

WOU Registrar Dr Andy Liew, up front as emcee, welcomes everyone to the appreciation dinner.

WOU Registrar Dr Andy Liew, up front as emcee, welcomes everyone to the appreciation dinner.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye in his opening remarks highlighted the extraordinary qualities and accomplishments of Tan Sri Raj, his mentor. “He often reminds us of the need to uphold and put into practice the core values of the University at all times,” Prof Ho stressed. WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap shared on Tan Sri Raj’s involvement in the development and growth of WOU.

Dato' Seri Stephen hugs Tan Sri Raj after delivering his speech.

Dato' Seri Stephen hugs Tan Sri Raj after delivering his speech.

WOU Pro-Chancellor Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon echoed the sentiments of Prof Ho and Dato’ Seri Stephen, and lauded Tan Sri Raj as “one of the greatest educators of the world”. He said after heading the Commonwealth of Learning in Vancouver, Tan Sri Raj could have gone on to bigger things, like UNESCO or the World Bank, and yet chose little Penang to realise his vision and passion in ‘education for all’ in Malaysia through WOU’s open distance learning (ODL) mode.

Dr Koh looks to the past and to the future of the University.

Dr Koh looks to the past and to the future of the University.

Dr Koh also recounted the origin of WOU when Gerakan’s third president, the late Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik, committed himself and the party in 1999 to the establishment of an open virtual university for the working adults of Malaysia. He said, the appointment of Raj as the founding Vice Chancellor was most appropriate as he was able to assemble a global team of “who’s who in ODL” as advisors to contribute to the formulation of WOU’s strategy and action plan. As the new chairman of the Board of Governors, Dr Koh appealed to all in WOU “to continue with the vision and values of our founding fathers”.

Tan Sri Raj took to the podium to express his passion for equitable access to “the denied and the deprived” through his involvement in WOU, and that by being affordable and equitable, WOU can keep faith with its mission and vision.

Tan Sri Raj shares that he likes to speak his mind on issues that he feels strongly about rather than compromise on his principles.

Tan Sri Raj shares that he likes to speak his mind on issues that he feels strongly about rather than compromise on his principles.

He said his passion for equity stemmed from growing up in a rubber plantation of the 40s and the 50s where “denial to learning kept an entire population in servitude and blindness”. “If you lived through that experience, then you will know where my passion is coming from.”

Explaining “The rest of this talk may turn out to be like the winner of an Oscar”, he thanked individuals in the Board and management, and also his wife Sue of 47 years. He singled out Tun Lim and Dato’ Seri Chia Kwang Chye, the then secretary general of Gerakan, who worked tirelessly to make WOU happen.

Tan Sri Raj earlier welcoming Dato' Seri Chia, whom he singled out for special recognition along with the late Tun LIm, for their role in establishing WOU.

Tan Sri Raj earlier welcoming Dato' Seri Chia, whom he singled out for special recognition along with the late Tun LIm, for their role in establishing WOU.

Acknowledging he could be blunt when driving a principle or value, he concluded, “My passion was the University and I would do everything I need to do to make sure that this University serves its purpose to the people of this country.”

A 24 carat gold-plated elephant gift imported from Kerala for Tan Sri Raj from WOU to add to his massive collection of elephants. At left is Prof Ho while looking on at right is Dato' Seri Stephen.

A 24 carat gold-plated elephant gift imported from Kerala for Tan Sri Raj from WOU to add to his massive collection of elephants. At left is Prof Ho while looking on at right is Dato' Seri Stephen.

Among those present were national Gerakan vice president Datuk Dr Asharuddin Ahmad, and the directors and/or members of Wawasan Education Foundation, WOU Board of Governors and WOUSB as well as senior academics and management staff of WOU.

Exemplifying knowledge and love in Rooster year

University staff were called to exemplify love and knowledge to derive the best out of life, during the lunar Year of the Fire Rooster celebration organised by WOU at the main campus today.

The lion dance performance and God of Prosperity inside the Homestead.

The lion dance performance and God of Prosperity inside the Homestead.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, referring to the recently launched WOU News Ticker, spoke of that day’s quote by Bertrand Russell, a well-known thinker and philosopher in the 20th century, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. The quote was, ‘The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.’

Prof Ho born in the Year of the Rooster.

Prof Ho born in the Year of the Rooster.

He added that what was not displayed on the running ticker was an equally inspiring line from the particular quote that reads, ‘Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life.’ In the context of WOU, he stressed, “If we can harmoniously blend and balance love and knowledge well enough in work and outside of work, we can enjoy a good life. We can enjoy the camaraderie of the people we work and share experience with as colleagues in an institution that provides and consumes knowledge,

To the laughter of the crowd, Prof Ho showed that he can be hip and does keep up with the times when he named Rooster celebrities like tennis players Serena Williams and Roger Federer and music artistes Britney Spears and Rod Stewart. He further spiced up the event when, upon asking those born in the Year of the Rooster to raise their hands, he gamely chimed in, “I should also put up my hand because I am also one.”

Prof Ho exalts staff to work hard.

Prof Ho exalts staff to work hard.

He highlighted the birth characteristics, pointing out that “Roosters are supposed to be hard working, very committed, dedicated in the sense of being very serious in their job. So let us hope we will also share and display these kind of attributes, even more so this year.”

Yeong (left) lights the firecrackers.

Yeong (left) lights the firecrackers.

Next was the lighting of firecrackers at the Homestead porch by Prof Ho and Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong. This was followed by the lion dance while the God of Prosperity also put in an appearance, handing out beverage packets. The lion dancers and the God of Prosperity visited a few offices in the Chancellery to bestow blessings and good luck.

Blessing the office of K H Chong, Director of Marcom and Regional Operations.

Blessing the office of K H Chong, Director of Marcom and Regional Operations.

Staff and guests were entertained by juggling acts by WOU’s full-time students, Robin Cheah Kai Yang, Chow Bai Quan and Ng Xin Pei, before the commencement of lunch.

Among the guests present were Members of WOU Board of Governors, Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng, Loo Choo Teng, Ooi Teng Chew, Chia Loong Thye and Emeritus Prof Dato’ Dr Wong Tat Meng; Luxoft Managing Director Ewan Manomohan; and Tricor Corporate Services Director Chew Siew Cheng.

Ng Xin Pei shows her skills at juggling the Chinese yo-yo.

Ng Xin Pei shows her skills at juggling the Chinese yo-yo.

Staff and guests helped themselves to huat kuih and the dessert, tang yuan (glutinous rice balls), and tried their hand at Chinese calligraphy at the Homestead lobby.

Welcoming new students in OCL February intake

The new students of WOU were called to equip themselves with 21st century job skills through their full-time, on-campus learning (OCL) experience at the University.

Penang Regional Centre Director Teh Kim Kow welcomes the new students.

Penang Regional Centre Director Teh Kim Kow welcomes the new students.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye issued this challenge during the Orientation at the main campus today for about 25 full-time students from the February 2017 intake.  

In his address, Prof Ho shared that graduates of WOU must acquire valuable 21st century job skills that make them readily employable. “The future-proof skills that are very much sought after by employers in this modern age are problem-solving, creative thinking, analytical thinking, communicate effectively, collaborate with partners, and ethics, action and accountability.”

Prof Ho shares on the knowledge and skills taught to students of WOU..

Prof Ho shares on the knowledge and skills taught to students of WOU..

He also gave pointers on what the students must do to succeed at WOU. “You need to be highly committed and responsible in your studies, first know what you want to achieve, and be dedicated goal-oriented individuals. Also be savvy in multi-tasking so that you can manage your time for study and other commitments.”

He continued, “Be motivated self-starters who complete assignments and projects, be forward thinkers who can innovate and be creative, as well as be a team player in your scholarly pursuit.”

Academics and freshmen listening to Prof Ho.

Academics and freshmen listening to Prof Ho.

Earlier in her welcoming remarks, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) Prof Madhulika Kaushik advised the freshmen to take charge of their studies and mark out their career path. She highlighted the learning support at WOU, including lecturers, academic advisors, the learning management system Wawasan2u, and the library.

She informed that WOU organises annual Career Fairs to help with employment and also arranges industrial training for the full-time students, where they are placed as interns with reputable organisations and companies in Penang and the northern region. “If you conduct yourself well, there is a very good chance of you being selected as an employee by the organisation where you trained, as our experience in the past years has shown.”

Prof Madhulika highlights the student support available at WOU.

Prof Madhulika highlights the student support available at WOU.

She urged the new students to use their time in WOU to improve their language proficiency and boost their employability, adding that they should take full advantage of the arrangements the University has put in place for this.

Among those who attended the Orientation were Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi, Deans of Schools, OCL coordinator Dr Chuah Poh Lean, Academic Advisors, and the staff of Penang Regional Centre (PGRC).

The new students were led in their oath-taking by Surendren Chandra Sagaran, 23, from Ayer Itam, Penang, who had enrolled in Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management. He holds a Diploma in Hotel Management from a private college.

Freshmen taking the students' pledge as they embark on their studies.

Freshmen taking the students' pledge as they embark on their studies.

The Orientation also witnessed the recognition of six OCL students who had been named to the Dean’s List for their excellent academic results in the May 2016 semester. The recipients, all from the Management programme, were Melody Lim Chii Wen, Lau Sheue Wen, H’ng Ying Shan, Ivy Mak Choong Wei, Mitra Vani Sinnadurai and Danicia Hor Shuet Yi.

The day-long event also saw briefings given to the new students regarding MPU courses, WOU regulations and procedures, Wawasan2u, student portal, library services, social recreational activities and managing campus life.

Keeping pace with emerging new technologies in SCM

Industry players in Penang must keep pace with emerging new technologies that have impact on supply chain management (SCM) if they are to stay ahead in the highly competitive global market.

WOU Pro-Chancellor Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon made this point, when recounting, how during his tenure as the Chief Minister of Penang, logistics and supply chain were the most important elements in his administration’s promotion of industrial growth in the state.

Two-day roundtable on Supply Chain Management held at the WOU main campus.

Two-day roundtable on Supply Chain Management held at the WOU main campus.

He shared his experience of pushing the federal government for infrastructure facilities like the new container port and new air cargo and freight forwarders’ complex, to facilitate logistics and movement of goods.

He also recounted efforts in building a strong supplier base in Penang through the Global Supplier Programme of Penang Skills Development Centre (PSDC) for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to upgrade their technologies and expand networking to support the expanding industrial sector.

As an example, he highlighted how his administration managed to get the US-based tech corporation Dell Inc to be based in Penang in the early 1990s in competition to Singapore, and on overcoming certain logistics and costs issues to maintain Dell in Penang, thus ensuring business for local SMEs.

Dr Koh with Prof Ho (centre) and WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato' Seri Stephen Yeap.

Dr Koh with Prof Ho (centre) and WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato' Seri Stephen Yeap.

He said the Dell experience showed that situations can change very fast, adding, “If we don’t keep running, we are going to be left behind.”  

He said a lot of work is needed to help SMEs stay competitive. “Everyone has got a barrier in terms of how to adopt the latest technology. However, though good for higher productivity and quality, emerging technologies are extremely disruptive to SMEs and to the whole economy in terms of labour supply, the skill sets needed, etc.”

“That is why it is very important to continuously have this dialogue to figure out what to do collectively,” he said when opening the Roundtable on ‘Emerging trends of technologies in SCM’ at the WOU main campus today.

Dr Koh highlights the importance of keeping pace with emerging technologies.

Dr Koh highlights the importance of keeping pace with emerging technologies.

He also emphasised that it is crucial for educational institutions to produce people that are knowledgeable and yet flexible enough and willing to continue to learn, “or else we risk losing jobs to Vietnam and even Myanmar”.  He called for strategising and close collaboration amongst our local captains of industry and those in logistics and higher education to better position Penang.

“We must collaborate to make effective use of emerging new technologies. We must be one step ahead of the changing market conditions and more importantly we must produce the right type of manpower that can handle the challenges and changes of the future,” stressed Dr Koh.

Prof Ho elaborates on the fourth industrial revolution.

Prof Ho elaborates on the fourth industrial revolution.

Earlier, Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye noted that things happen fast under the present fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0 environment. He said industry 4.0 has disruptive impacts, but also offers opportunities for industries to create jobs and for universities to produce graduates that are employable.

“Industry 4 is touted as job killers as well as job creators,” he stated, adding that some current jobs will disappear to be replaced with new ones. He said those in white collar and administration will feel the stress of this disruption, while computing, engineering, programming, and mathematics will gain more importance.

Educational institutions must produce the right kind of graduates, says Prof Ho.

Educational institutions must produce the right kind of graduates, says Prof Ho.

 “Between these two extremes, the educational institutions must transform themselves to become industrial age universities and try to produce the kind of graduates that will meet the demand of industry 4.0 companies.”  He declared that WOU will continue to play this crucial role.

The two-day roundtable organised by WOU in collaboration with the PSDC was attended by some 50 industry experts and SCM practitioners - including LF Logistics, Celestica, NSW Automation and Intel - to review emerging SCM trends and technologies.  

Welcoming new ODL students for January 2017 semester

A new chapter began for about 500 students who had registered for part-time, open distance learning (ODL) mode of study at Wawasan Open University in the January 2017 intake.

Welcoming the new students during the orientation at the main campus.

Welcoming the new students during the orientation at the main campus.

Many got their first taste of University life when they attended the Orientation organised simultaneously by the Regional Centres in Penang (PGRC), Ipoh (IPRC), Kuala Lumpur (KLRC), Johor Bahru (JBRC) and Kuching (KCRC), today.

Senior academics represented the University at the Orientation to brief the students on WOU’s ODL model and present the Dean’s List awards. Seventy-one students were named to the Dean’s List for academic excellence in the January 2016 semester. There were 25 recipients from PGRC, 23 from KLRC, 14 from JBRC, 6 from KCRC, and 3 from IPRC.

Prof Santhiram presents the Dean's List award to Lim Pui Shan. At right is Ipoh Regional Centre Director Ching Huey Ling.

Prof Santhiram presents the Dean's List award to Lim Pui Shan. At right is Ipoh Regional Centre Director Ching Huey Ling.

The Dean, Assoc Prof Dr Intan Osman, and Deputy Dean, Prakash Arumugam, of the School of Business & Administration joined the orientation at the Penang main campus. Prakash highlighted the important online links, namely the student portal, learning management system (LMS), online assignment submission system, MyEnrolment, Turnitin, and MyLibrary.

Prakash highlights the important online links to Remember.

Prakash highlights the important online links to Remember.

The orientation at the other locations were participated by School of Education, Languages & Communications Dean Prof Santhiram Raman (IPRC), School of Science & Technology Dean Associate Prof Dr Wendy Bong Chin Wei (KLRC), along with the School of Humanities & Social Sciences Dean Dr Nagarajan Subramaniam (KCRC) and Deputy Dean Jasmine Emmanuel (JBRC).

Dr Bong shares on the University's ODL model at Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre.

Dr Bong shares on the University's ODL model at Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre.

The orientation also served as the platform to recognise four Star Ambassadors - Phang Li Shing and Ho Zi Xuan from PGRC and Amirta Raj Manickam and Sivanesvaran Krishnaswami from KLRC – for referring three or more people to study at WOU during the July 2016 intake. They were each rewarded with a certificate and shopping vouchers worth RM200 under the WOU Friends & Family Programme.

Jennifer Alberto leads in the oath-taking at Ipoh Regional Centre.

Jennifer Alberto leads in the oath-taking at Ipoh Regional Centre.

Meanwhile at IPRC, pre-school teacher Jennifer Alberto, who enrolled for the newly-introduced Diploma in Early Childhood Education, led the freshmen in reciting the students’ pledge. This was followed by WOU’s Marketing & Admissions Executive Robert Ooi Teik Leng, who graduated at the recent Convocation ceremony, sharing his experiences on student life. He is presently continuing with his Master of Education at WOU.

Deva Guru offers pointers on managing student life to the freshmen at KLRC.

Deva Guru offers pointers on managing student life to the freshmen at KLRC.

At KLRC, close to 100 registered students turned up for orientation. Acting Head, Roshini Jesselyn Ramesh Chandru, welcomed the students, while Deva Guru Kurupatham, who is pursuing the Commonwealth Executive MBA programme, offered pointers on how to manage their study. Freshman Tengku Ahmad Faizul, who is embarking on his Bachelor of Management (Hons) with Psychology programme, led in the oath-taking.

Ahmad Faizul leads in taking the oath at KLRC.

Ahmad Faizul leads in taking the oath at KLRC.

The new students were excited and glad to receive a first-hand demonstration of the University’s LMS, WawasanLearn, and on accessing the student portal and other online support.

The half-day event ended on a fun note with a treasure hunt complete with prizes to acquaint the new students with the facilities and services available.

A freshman learning how to log onto the student portal at PGRC.

A freshman learning how to log onto the student portal at PGRC.

Staff Appreciation and Celebrating Together

Wawasan Open University ‘turned 10’ this year and recognised a total 44 employees with long service awards for their continuing loyalty, dedication and commitment to the future of the University.

Thirty-one received the 10-year service award and another thirteen the 5-year service award during a simple ceremony organised by the Human Resources Department at the lecture theatre of the main campus today.

On hand to present both the awards was WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap. Topping the list for the 10-year service award was Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong.

"Thank You" to Yeong for his long years of service.

"Thank You" to Yeong for his long years of service.

Meanwhile, the Educational Technology & Publishing (ETP) Unit followed by the Registry had the highest number of recipients:

Ø  ETP (6) – Assistant Manager Khoo Chiew Keen, Senior Multimedia Technologist Marnisya Abdul Rahim, Senior Graphic Designer Chrisvie Ong Lin Lin, Senior Executive Jeanne Chow Min Hian, Graphic Designer Audrey Lisa Yeong Yoke Mei, Assistant Officer Sharon Alice Wiessy

Ø  Registry (5) - Advisor Sovindar Kaur, Senior Assistant Registrars Lim Swee Choo, June Cheah Ruenn Ling and Cheryl Ooi Hui Hui, Senior Executive Perkash Kaur

Marnisya Abdul Rahim (ETP) congratulated by Dato' Seri Stephen Yeap.

Marnisya Abdul Rahim (ETP) congratulated by Dato' Seri Stephen Yeap.

Perkash Kaur from Registry.

Perkash Kaur from Registry.

The other recipients of the 10-year service award are listed below:

Ø  General Services & Administration/GSA (2) - Director Andrew Joseph, Assistant Manager Sharifah Azura Syed Osman

Ø  ITS (1)- Manager (Application) Ch’ng Eng Hoo

Ø  Learning & Library Services (4) - Manager Chew Bee Leng, Assistant Manager Norhasni Abdul Aziz, Assistant Manager(Circulation Services) Ooi Siew Lee, Assistant Library Supervisor Zubaydah Zamri

Ø  Finance (4) – Assistant Manager Jadey Lee Cheng Gaik, Purchasing Executive Tan Mei Lin, Executive Janice Wong Siew Eng, Officer Hanishah Zainon

Ø  Centre for Professional Development & Continuing Education/PACE (2) – Senior Marketing Executive Lim Yeang See, Admin Assistant III Kang Shing Lee

Ø  Johor Bahru Regional Centre (2) - Director Dr Ng Peng Long, Senior Marketing & Admissions Executive Wong Chui Hong

Ø  Ipoh Regional Centre (2) – Senior Student Service & Admission Executive Syndy Ho Hsiao Yin, Senior Marketing & Admissions Executive Ngow Chee Wei

Ø  Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre/KLRC (2) – Senior Finance & Administration Executive Tan Chia Yun, Senior Marketing & Admissions Executive Raja Isaiah Rasiah

General Services & Administration Director Andrew Joseph.

General Services & Administration Director Andrew Joseph.

Norhasni Abdul Aziz from Learning & Library Services.

Norhasni Abdul Aziz from Learning & Library Services.

Among those presented with the 5-year award were ETP Director Grace Lau, School of Business & Administration Senior Lecturer Dr Chuah Poh Lean, School of Science & Technology Senior Lecturer Dr Teoh Ping Chow, Finance Executive Jennifer Ch’ng Chai Lin, and Regional Operations Senior Executive Clement Justus Gomez.

Clement JustusGomez from Regional Operations.

Clement JustusGomez from Regional Operations.

Everyone then proceeded to the Homestead Hall for the annual gathering arranged by the Staff Recreational Club. Guests included Members of WOU’s Board of Governors, Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng and Dato’ Emeritus Prof Dr Wong Tat Meng. To the thunderous applause of all present, Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye announced a one-month bonus this year for management and staff.

The much anticipated lucky draw saw 23 prizes given away, such as shopping gift vouchers, iron, hair dryer, blender and rice cooker. The first prize, an oven was won by Fara Falida Ramely from KLRC, the second prize a vacuum cleaner by Saw Jong Khai from Quality Assurance & External Relations Directorate, and the third a juice extractor by Selva Raja from GSA.

Second prize winner Saw Jong Khai receiving his vacuum cleaner from Prof Ho.

Second prize winner Saw Jong Khai receiving his vacuum cleaner from Prof Ho.

The crowd had an entertaining luncheon as they mingled and feasted on the delicious food, while being serenaded by live guitar music and songs. They enjoyed the nasi briyani served with dalca, chicken, fish, prawn, egg kurma, taukua sambal and French beans, and nicely complemented with sliced papaya and water melon.

Staff mingling and enjoying their meal.

Staff mingling and enjoying their meal.