New tertiary route launched

PETALING JAYA: Those from disadvantaged backgrounds who did not have opportunities to pursue tertiary education are set to benefit from the newly launched tertiary pathways announced by the Higher Education Ministry.

Known as the APEL.Q pathway, this route will take into account the knowledge gained from one’s previous learning experience to determine whether he is awarded a diploma, degree, master’s or even a doctoral degree without having to follow the entire study programme at higher learning institutions (HEIs).

National Association of Private Educational Institutions (Napei) secretary-general Dr Teh Choon Jin said the APEL.Q route shows that the country’s higher education system is progressive and in line with the global higher education trends in promoting lifelong learning.

The APEL.Q pathway, he said, would provide an opportunity to allow people from disadvantaged backgrounds a chance at obtaining tertiary academic qualifications.

“These groups of people, perhaps due to financial circumstances and other reasons, were forced to join the workforce after secondary school.

“Through the APEL.Q route, however, they can obtain tertiary academic qualifications after years of working experience,” said Teh, who is also Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation senior director and registrar.

The experiential learning that takes place at work, as well as other forms of formal and informal learning, such as informal continuing professional development education and training, are all recognised under the APEL.Q pathway, he added.

Six public HEIs will be pioneering this pathway: Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Open University Malaysia, Asia e University, HELP University and SEGi University.HELP University president and co-founder Prof Datuk Dr Paul Chan said the pathway offers opportunities for everyone who has the necessary years of relevant working, business and professional experiences to pursue a higher education qualification.

“To support APEL.Q, HELP University is pioneering innovative experiential and experimental learning for our programmes,” he said.

Yesterday, Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad launched APEL.Q, an alternative pathway towards obtaining a higher education qualification.

She said APEL, which stands for Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning, began on Sept 1, 2011, and has so far benefited over 26,000 students.

“In essence, APEL provides an alternative route for individuals without academic qualifications to continue their studies at higher education institutions.

“This allows an individual to improve their level of education and career,” said Noraini, adding that there were already two APEL pathways.

There is APEL.A which focuses on access to HEIs and APEL.C that allows students to transfer credits and complete their studies in a shorter time, she said.

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