FACED with changing student demands, colleges are always rising to the challenge, looking for new dynamic courses.
Towards this end, Taylor's College conducts a survey every year to gauge what and where students want to study.
This year's survey indicates that science students are moving away from further studies in traditional areas, such as engineering, pharmacy and medicine, to venture into other scientific fields.
“As most of our pre-university students are in the science stream, it is no surprise to see an increased interest in a new range of science subjects, including biomedicine and biotechnology,” says college principal Anucia Jeganathan.
“This led us to offer a range of new science courses in collaboration with the University of Newcastle, Australia: the Bachelor of Biomedical Science, Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition and Dietetics), Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology) and Bachelor of Science (Food Technology),” she adds.
Under the terms of a recent memorandum of agreement signed between Taylor's and the Aussie university, Taylor's students will get to finish their first year of study at the college before transferring to Newcastle for the remainder of the programme.
“But we are looking to extend this to a 2+1 agreement in the future,” Jeganathan says.
University of Newcastle Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health) Prof Dr John Marley, who was in Kuala Lumpur recently to sign the memorandum of agreement with the college, says the curriculum for the programmes will be the same as that taught to students in Australia, while the examinations will be set, marked and moderated by the university staff.
“Changing lifestyles have resulted in a global population that does not place as much emphasis on diet and exercise as they once did. That is why courses such as the ones offered via Taylor's will be relevant to the needs of the country. Students will be prepared for rewarding careers in a wide variety of health professions,” he says.
Biomedical science graduates will get to work in medical laboratories, designing new vaccines, carrying out biomedical research and performing a host of other medical tasks.
Graduates in nutrition and dietetics, meanwhile, can work as leaders in dealing with health problems such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
The application of technology in biomedical work will be the forte of graduates in that discipline, while food technologists will pave the way for the latest food production and delivery methods.
The Australian High Commission's education, science and training counsellor, Patrick Crèmen, who was present to witness the signing, is optimistic about the relationship between Taylor's and the University of Newcastle.
“The Australian Government is just glad to see such partnership, especially in new areas of scientific work such as these. This relationship will surely pave the way for more cross-country work and research in the sciences,” he says.
Taylor's president Khoo Soo Peng says the college expects a good number of its pre-university science students to take up the courses as the survey shows that this is what they want.
“Right now, we are in the process of applying for approval (for these new courses) with the Education Ministry. We hope to have our first intake in February next year,” he says.
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