KUALA LUMPUR: The doors of the new Wawasan Open University (WOU) will be open come Jan 22 with an initial offering of 11 undergraduate degree programmes.
Gerakan president, Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik, said some 680 students had already enrolled with the university, which has four study centres located in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh and Johor Baru.
Speaking to reporters after chairing the university's council meeting, Dr Lim said he was pleased with the response of the public to a form of education that would provide opportunities for working adults to get a degree through distance learning.
"Affordable and accessible. That's what this university is all about," he said, adding that the cost of an undergraduate programme would be about RM16,000.
"You can take as long as you want to complete your degree, so in the end it works out to be quite affordable. You can take five years or even 10 years to complete it," Dr Lim said, adding that the prerequisite for entry was three credits in the PMR exam.
Dr Lim said WOU had also offered scholarships for those who were not well off, as well as arranged for those who would have difficulty paying to get study loans from banks.
"We want to make sure no one is denied the opportunity for an education," he said.
As for what is initially offered there, WOU vice-chancellor Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan said there would be three faculties - the science and technology, business administration and foundation studies.
"Some of the courses offered include degrees in information systems, computing science & artificial intelligence, business information systems, accounting and sales & marketing."
Prof Gajaraj said the foundation studies faculty would provide a six-month intensive bridging course so that students (who were deemed to need it) would be well-prepared to tackle a degree course.
Dr Lim added that tutors would be available anytime for students' queries and that at least 12 hours of face-to-face tutorials would take place after normal working hours and on weekends.
With WOU's headquarters in Penang to be ready by July, Dr Lim has urged the country's five million workers with SPM qualifications to come forward and take advantage of this opportunity.