Wawasan Open University hosted a visit by a delegation of scholars from the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China to the main campus today.
The seven-member delegation, led by its Vice President Prof Chen Chunseng, comprised of Prof Tan Chee Beng and Associate Prof Dr Duan Ying from the Department of Anthropology; Prof Liang Qingyin, Director of the Institute for the South China Sea; Prof Liu Zhiwei from the Department of History and also Deputy Dean, Institute for the South China Sea; and Prof Huang Daren, the immediate former Vice Chancellor, who was accompanied by his wife, Wang Qing.
On hand to welcome them were Wawasan Education Foundation (WEF) Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap, Chairman of WOU’s Board of Governors Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan, Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Operations) Dr Seah Soo Aun, Registrar Yeong Sik Kheong and Dean of the School of Education, Languages and Communications, Prof Santhiram Raman.
Prof Ho presented a briefing on WOU, sharing about its open distance learning (ODL) mode of delivery to adult learners. He informed that WOU will enter a new chapter in September with the introduction of WOU On Campus full-time programmes to fresh school-leavers and diploma holders. WOU aims to attain self-sustainability, with the full-time programme offerings expected to support this goal.
The Q&A session drew many queries from the scholars who were interested about the intimate workings of WOU. They asked about tuition fee costs and collection, headcount of full-time academics, active student enrolment per semester, student distribution for the different programmes, graduation criteria, and so on.
Dato’ Seri Stephen remarked that WOU is going into face-to-face after six years of focus on ODL. He said WOU is looking at collaborating with foreign universities to have mutual student exchanges for a short stint to provide an opportunity to learn about the culture and language.
To a delegate’s suggestion for an exchange programme with WOU like the one they currently have with Taiwan University and Hong Kong University, Prof Dhanarajan said, “This is something we should encourage as we begin to develop face-to-face programmes. We can look into exchange of students for one semester or a few weeks, to enrich the students’ experience.” He said another area of collaboration is the offer of a Bachelor of Education programme in the Chinese language at WOU to meet local demand.
The delegates also took time during their visit to explore the main campus, including the majestic heritage Homestead mansion and the library.
Sun Yat-sen University, originally known as Guangdong University, was founded in 1924 by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Being one of the leading universities in the People’s Republic of China, it has about 83,633 students studying on four campuses in Guangzhou and Zhuhai.