TO maintain the quality of education, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic which has forced education to go online globally, it is crucial to have the hardware and software in place.
These platforms, tools and facilities require substantial investments, the National Association of Private Educational Institutions (Napei) pointed out.
Its president Assoc Prof Elajsolan Mohan said Malaysian varsities have proven their ability to produce quality education in the new norm, hence there is no justification to reduce tuition fees.
He was commenting on the recent Global Student Survey which showed that nearly eight in 10 (78%) Malaysian tertiary students polled prefer more online learning if it means paying lower tuition fees.
The survey published on Feb 26 by Chegg.org, a nonprofit arm of education provider Chegg, polled 500 Malaysian undergraduate students from a total of almost 17,000 undergraduate students from 21 countries, aged between 18 and 21.
For almost a year, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced all forms of teaching and learning to online and home-based methods, turning campuses into grim shadows of its past vibrance.
This led to students and parents calling for fees to be reduced.
“Despite the lack of face-to-face teaching and learning due to the pandemic, the education provided is still of high quality.
“This is a result of hardware and software investments which are not cheap, ” Elajsolan told StarEdu.Malaysian varsities, he explained, have been putting in extra effort since the start of the pandemic to prioritise their students’ education, at the cost of depleting resources as they struggle to sustain themselves.
To accommodate its international students across all time zones, some universities conduct multiple online lectures so that no student is left behind.
Additional teaching and learning facilities have also been made available to facilitate virtual lessons while retaining academics for virtual and face-to-face learning, he said.
“Teaching and learning hours have to be maintained to meet the requirements of the programme standards.
“Varsities also have to invest in expensive online library resources.
“Many of our institutions are struggling to stay afloat due to reduced enrolment, which is now exacerbated further with the delay in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia exams.
“Having said that, a number of private higher education institutions have reduced their fees and offered discounts, ” he said, adding that the quality of education has greatly improved resulting from substantial infrastructure investments. – By SANDHYA MENON