OUM spearheads Malaysia’s venture into online and distance education


IT HAS been the norm for Malaysians to gain a tertiary academic qualification for a favourable career route in years past.

However, the youth of Malaysia today do not appear to place the same value on higher education based on recent observations by the Department of Statistics. Up to 72% of SPM school-leavers prefer to enter the workforce immediately as online influencers, e-hailing car drivers, or food delivery riders than pursue a tertiary academic qualification.

Today’s school-leavers prioritise basic essentials like food and rent over tertiary education because of rising living costs.

However, choosing to pass up university studies can result in financial susceptibility in the long term; without the specialised skills and knowledge attained through academic qualifications, they would be left with few sustainable and secure opportunities when it comes to career progression.

Weighed down by financial concerns, SPM graduates prefer to start earning income sooner instead of enrolling into higher education institutions.Weighed down by financial concerns, SPM graduates prefer to start earning income sooner instead of enrolling into higher education institutions.

Should this trend persist for the foreseeable future, Malaysia is likely to face a notable decline in the proportion of highly-skilled workers within our workforce.

A possible consequence would be Malaysia losing out on industry competitiveness worldwide to the detriment of Malaysia’s long-term economic prospects, especially compared to our Southeast Asian brethren.

Leading Malaysia’s transition into online learning

While Open University Malaysia (OUM) recognises the unique circumstances Malaysian youths currently find themselves in, president and vice-chancellor Assoc Prof Dr Ahmad Izanee Awang warns that choosing quick fixes to overcome financial woes would only be good for the short term.

“The future is uncertain; jobs involving food delivery, e-hailing, or social media may be trendy now but this would not last forever,” he says.

“What’s important is for Malaysian youths to prepare themselves for unpredictable times ahead. There will be new opportunities in the future, surely, so they will need to have the right qualifications now so they can have gainful careers when the time comes.”

OUM plans to make full use of its 22 years of online education expertise as the premier open and distance learning (ODL) institution in Malaysia and it is committed to its mission to make tertiary education more convenient and flexible for everyone.

Study at your convenience with OUM’s e-learning resources at your fingertips.Study at your convenience with OUM’s e-learning resources at your fingertips.

One of the ways that OUM enables working individuals to gain tertiary qualifications without sacrificing work income is with its fully-online programmes.

Facilitated via myINSPIRE, the university’s e-learning platform, OUM programmes are built to emphasise online learner-teacher interaction and peer discussions in a way that is both convenient and intuitive.

An example of this is their synchronous e-lessons, e-tutorials and interactive online forums that allow learners to ask questions and share their thoughts on the course material.

Enrolment in a diploma programme is available to learners between the ages of 17 and 20. This is a strong consideration for gig workers since it only requires 90 credit hours in comparison to 120 credit hours necessary for a bachelor’s degree.

“This leaves them with more time to earn a living in the gig economy while also earning a recognised diploma in as little time as just over three years,” Dr Izanee adds.

Dr Izanee, who began helming OUM early this year, also believes that alternative enrolment pathways and credit exemption options can also make a difference for many Malaysian youths.

Those over 21 years of age who have a substantial amount of workforce experience under their belt are able to take advantage of the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (Apel). Apel-A and Apel-C in particular provide options to enrol into an academic programme through work-acquired skills and apply for up to 30% credit exemption, respectively.

OUM is one of only six institutions currently licensed to offer Apel-Q in Malaysia, which allows certain individuals to circumvent the traditional degree curriculum and gain fully-accredited academic qualifications upon proper evaluation of their work experiences.

Studying with OUM empowers learners to build a bright and successful future for both themselves and Malaysia while continuing to earn an income.

Many viable pathways to further one’s education are now opened because of OUM’s intuitive and flexible learning platforms.

For information on OUM programmes, call the speed line at 03-7801 2000, e-mail enquiries@oum.edu.my or visit www.oum.edu.my.

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