Wawasan Open University held its inaugural Orientation Day at the main campus today for the pioneer batch of 54 students starting their full-time degree programmes.
The majority are pursuing their Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management and the remaining 10 their Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Accounting studies at WOU. The University has entered a new phase with its offering of programmes via the conventional, face-to-face mode, in addition to its established open distance learning (ODL) mode of delivery.
The students, mostly fresh school-leavers and diploma holders, began attending lectures the next day. All are recipients of the WOU Inaugural Intake Bursary Award that offers 30% off on total tuition fees or discounts of up to RM10,000 for their three years of study at WOU.
In his welcoming speech, Wawasan Education Foundation (WEF) Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap said, “Up till now, this University was mainly responsible for upgrading the knowledge and skills of older students and adults who were already in the workforce, but now it is grooming, equipping and retaining young talents like you.”
He added, “I believe the full-time programmes offered at this main campus will provide greater opportunities for the school-leavers to study right here in the state of Penang. We find that often students who go on to study at institutions of higher learning in other states in Malaysia, will choose to stay and work there following their studies, depriving Penang of many skilled manpower. In providing an avenue for a university education, WOU gives more opportunity to school-leavers, and will assist to retain our talents and re-establish Penang to be an education hub once again.”
He mentioned that the Inaugural Intake Bursary Award is financed by the Wawasan Education Foundation, which also gives out Study Grant and other scholarships for both ODL and full-time students.
WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye in his address spelled out the dos and don’ts as the students embark on their academic journey at WOU. He told them to get to know their course mates and Academic Advisors, to form a study group, and to acquaint themselves with the Internet-based learning environment of the University.
“Be receptive to new ideas and knowledge. Be open to new thoughts and insights. Take part in academic discussions. Participate actively in co-curricular activities which will provide you the opportunities to acquire personal and leadership skills. All of these, at the end of the day, will make you a better student, a better person, and above all, a better citizen,” he stated.
The opening session proceeded with Petrina Muriel Joachim, 20, a Management student, leading the freshmen in reciting the student pledge. Prof Ho then presented the Star Student Ambassador award to Yip Kah Wei for introducing three others to study at WOU; students are awarded tuition fee rebates for each student referral under the WOU Friends and Family Programme.
Speaking at the press conference later, Prof Ho informed that WOU is starting off its full-time studies in Management and Accounting as the programmes are proven popular among ODL adult learners. He said students can complete their degree programme in three years, or less for those who enter with a recognised college diploma and hence enjoy some credit exemptions.
There will be three intakes a year for full-time students, in September, February and May. The enrolment of the February 2014 intake of the on-campus programmes shall commence on 9 November 2013.
Prof Ho highlighted that the University plans to introduce six new degree programmes for the three intakes next year - or two programmes per intake – pending approval from the Ministry of Education.
The new programmes are: Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Banking and Finance, Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Marketing, and Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, from School of Business and Administration; Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Computer Systems and Networks, and Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Construction Management, from School of Science and Technology; and Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Psychology from School of Foundation and Liberal Studies.
The one-day orientation exposed the students to the University’s regulations and procedures, its digital library resources, the WOU learning management system or Wawasan2u, and the other learning support services.