Wawasan Open University is teaming up with the Penang Skills Development Centre (PSDC) to explore the possibility of providing training to workers from various industries in Penang to meet their need for up-to-date knowledge and skill sets.
Towards this end, a meeting took place at the WOU main campus today between the University’s top management and the Chief Executive Officer of PSDC, Mr. Muhamed Ali Hajah Mydin. The discussion centred on “how the two institutions can synergise efforts and available resources to jointly come out with appropriate training programmes”, said WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye.
In the Q&A session, Muhamed Ali enquired about WOU’s students, tuition fees and its learning support services. “One of our aims is to become an online skills development centre and so we want to understand how to undertake online skills development,” he said, adding that they may consider partnership for this.
PSDC however plans to first maximise usage of its current facility and recruit more students by venturing into online teaching. In this regard, PSDC is exploring the working adults market to see how well the idea of online training would be received by the intended target groups.
“In this collaboration with WOU, we can offer, first, the content market, i.e. customers. We have 185 members, with around 120,000 employees, and this content market will continuously grow. Second is flexibility when it comes to short-term courses, which contribute to 80% of our revenue. Lastly, PSDC’s School2Work programme for school leavers in which they go to work and return to PDSC for training. We have this arrangement with our 185 members whereby they allow their employees who possess a certificate or diploma to return to PSDC for a degree or Master’s while being employed. This is something that WOU and PSDC can explore.”
Being apprised of certain requirements before PSDC can deliver distance education, the CEO of PSDC said they could perhaps partner with WOU rather than having to reinvent the whole wheel. Prof Ho concurred, adding that “WOU already has the authority and capacity to deliver quality ODL mode training. Now, it is for us to know what PSDC needs, then work to package the courses and deliver them through a workable mechanism.”
Muhamed Ali also mentioned PSDC’s plan to implement curriculum embedment in the distant future, after they have gone online, in collaboration with institutions offering similar courses. He said, “In curriculum embedment, after a student has gone through the normal courses in a particular field in the universities, he or she can come to PSDC to seek further training and obtain certification in areas that the industry needs”.
He highlighted that industries prefer PSDC to offer short-term face-to-face training as what it offers meets the special needs of the industry. WOU Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic-OCL) Prof Mohandas Menon remarked that since WOU’s strength is in ODL while PSDC excels in face-to-face training, this forms a good basis for collaboration.
Muhamed Ali also took time to visit Chairman of WOU’s Board of Governors, Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan. He was later briefed on the features of WOU’s student portal, learning management system and then taken on a brief tour of the campus to look at facilities.