WOU, together with its sister institution, DISTED College, forged a formal agreement with Toyohashi University of Technology (TUT), Japan through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at its main campus today.
The MoU was signed by WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, DISTED President and CEO Dr Seah Soo Aun, and TUT President Dr Takashi Onishi. The witnesses were WOU Pro-Chancellor Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Chairman of DISTED Board of Directors Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap, and TUT Vice President Prof Mitsuteru Inoue.
The purpose of the MoU is to promote the exchange of faculty and students of both universities, with a detailed working plan to be formed after further consultation.
In his speech, Prof Ho recounted TUT’s visit to WOU led by Prof Inoue in August. “Even at that early stage, we could sense the potential and advantage of our three institutions working together in specific areas of mutual interest, in accordance with institutional capacity and human resource capability,” he said.
He stated that TUT has already established an overseas education base in Malaysia, namely the TUT-USM Penang Centre. “We at WOU and DISTED view the signing of this MoU with TUT as another concrete step taken by TUT in reaffirming its presence and outreach in Malaysia.”
Prof Ho believed that apart from faculty and student exchanges, other forms of collaborative activities could be the “development of joint industry-driven education programmes in relevant fields, joint R&D initiatives in areas of mutual interest and institutional capability, or even the co-hosting of research meetings or conferences”.
Meanwhile Dr Onishi in his address remarked that WOU and DISTED have “a fine track record” as local providers of tertiary education and of “practical human resources development”. He therefore looked forward to exchanges of opinion on collaborative efforts to benefit them all.
Noting that the TUT-USM centre has been operating for just a year, Dr Onishi declared, “We still lack the local experience of involvement in higher education in Penang and Malaysia to expand our university operations here. We are seeking to find what approaches and what means of collaboration are available for a university like our own, specialising in science and technology research, to expand its operations in other countries.”
Among those present at the signing ceremony were WOU Board of Governors member Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng, WOU Sdn Bhd Board of Directors member Chia Loong Thye, senior TUT representatives, and WOU top management including Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic-ODL) Prof Madhulika Kaushik and Chief Administrative Officer Yeong Sik Kheong.