Distance learning (DL) has played a key role in the development and provision of accountancy courses in Malaysia, contributing immensely to the accounting profession.
This sentiment was expressed by WOU’s School of Business & Administration Senior Lecturer Dr Loo Choo Hong in his talk on ‘The Evolution of Distance Learning and its contribution to the Accounting Profession in Malaysia: A Historical Perspective’ at the main campus today.
He said, without distance learning, Malaysia would have very few accounting practitioners. “To bring university to the masses at an affordable cost, in the 2000s, open distance learning (ODL) was introduced for home-grown local degrees. WOU admitted its first batch of accounting degree students through ODL in 2007.” He stated that WOU graduates receive course exemptions when they sit for the examinations of any qualifying body to become an accountant.
He highlighted that distance learning - whether by post, face-to-face tuition, or by ODL – was responsible for training a large portion of the over 30,000 members of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA).
Dr Loo recounted the evolution of accountancy training in Malaysia since Independence, which started off with accounting education overseas in the UK, only affordable by the privileged few. This was followed by distance learning by post and local tuition centres, both using DL accounting materials sourced from UK.
Subsequently, government and private colleges in Malaysia started offering face-to-face instruction using UK materials, and awarding diplomas, he added.
He remarked that the next wave of learners was coming from the twinning programmes offered in Malaysia using foreign DL materials. “Students take a foreign degree at a Malaysian college and later in the final year finish the degree in the UK or whereever the mother university is loacted, through twinning.” He said this had led to some colleges evolving from purely tuition providers to providers of twinning programmes.
The latest wave of learners come from branch campuses of foreign universities set up in Malaysia since 1998, with this model becoming popular and leading to many more foreign universities opening up branches to offer accounting degrees.
Among the attendees at the talk were Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, and Deputy Vice Chancellors (Academic) Prof Madhulika Kaushik and Prof Mohandas Menon. Dr Loo will deliver his paper on Accounting at the International Conference on Accounting Studies (ICAS) organised by Universiti Utara Malaysia in Johor Bahru from 17-20 August,.