Parents, youths seek more info on flexible, hybrid learning

Options galore: Visitors cheching out booths at the Jom Masuk U event at Universiti Malaya. - Bernama

PETALING JAYA: Parents and youth groups want more details on the university courses available for flexible and hybrid learning so that students can make informed choices.

While they believe that a hybrid learning system will help mould graduates who are broad-minded and exposed to a work environment as well as enhance their civic consciousness, there are worries that they may miss out on the character building and positive attitudes that come with campus life.

The government, said Rizan Hasan of the Belia Mahir Project, must provide details of the hybrid learning framework so that the time spent away from campus can be used effectively.

“If they spend two years away from campus, is this not the same as not studying at all? They might as well work and earn an income,” said Rizan, whose initiative helps youths access industrial training programmes and technical jobs.

“If there is practical training in years two and three, which industries are going to take them in? All of this has to be clarified in order for this system to be effective,” he pointed out.

Another parent, known only as Azrai, said the flexibility would be beneficial for students from rural regions such as East Malaysia, as they would be able to gain access to universities in the Klang Valley without having to spend too much money.

“However, we need to know what kind of courses will be offered under this new system. This new system will not be viable for all courses,” said the 54-year old administrative assistant.

Production planner Choo Ghee Dun is not for the proposed system as her son would be missing out on opportunities for learning on campus. “I want my son to fully experience campus life and with that, he would be able to learn a lot,” said the 49-year-old.

National Muslim Students Association president Ahmad Farhan Rosli said allowing them to study away from campus for their second or third year will enable them to get more involved in the outside world instead of “just being cocooned in their lessons.”

“The country needs workers who are not just skilled but who are well-rounded and exposed to the world and different ideas as well,” said Farhan.

The flexibility in the hybrid system would allow institutions to craft programmes that could marry class lectures on theory with training or internship stints that provide practical experience, he said.

For retiree and single mother Mani, the system will help her and her university-bound daughter save money.

“For a single mother like me, every sen counts and this arrangement would help my family save money. My daughter would not need to spend money on transportation to campus or lodging,” said the 60-year-old.

“Through online learning, I would also be less worried about her as she would be in the house and near me. She wouldn’t need to stay far away from our place,” said Mani when met at the “Jom Masuk U” fair in Universiti Malaya yesterday.

Echoing the sentiment, Aliff Naif Mohd Fizam, who recently graduated from the International Islamic University, said attending a university in the Klang Valley was expensive.

“The minimum you must spend per day is RM15 to RM20 for your meals. Many universities also do not have enough hostels, so you have to rent outside campus, which is also expensive,” said the political science graduate and former student leader.

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